Save money, stop fraud: 4 things to watch on your credit card statement

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 3:06 PM

Here are the most crucial things to watch for on your credit card statement Review your statement every month to catch these errors early and correct them Set up reminders or even automatic bill pay to avoid late payments Read your credit card statement carefully to get interest rate specifics and start addressing them To set a personal deadline for paying off a credit card, find a reliable credit card repayment calculator

With credit cards, what you don't know can cost you. 

Luckily, most of what you need to know is right at your fingertips − your credit card statement. Review it with a critical eye, and you'll save money, correct errors and even stop fraud. 

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Here are the five most crucial things to watch for on your credit card statement:

Your transactions: Credit card companies do make errors. Review your statement every month to catch these errors early and correct them, advises Credit.org, a nonprofit financial education group. Each monthly printed statement should include a detailed list of activity from that billing cycle. If you get online statements, you can usually see transactions before and after the bill's closing date, too.

Credit.org also recommended keeping credit card paper or email receipts to compare to your monthly credit card bills. If you see something that's not correct, act immediately to protest. You are only protected when you report a discrepancy within 60 days of getting your credit card statement.

And don't just go after the big, noticeable fraudulent charges, the Credit.com blog warned: "It's actually the small ones that are the most likely to creep into your statements unnoticed. Thankfully, federal law says that cardholders are never responsible for more than the first $50 of any fraudulent charge, and nearly all card issuers waive this requirement by offering zero liability policies."

A company that studies the industry reports that store charge card generally have higher interest rates than other cards. Charges for some go up to 30 percent.

Late payment warning disclosure: Don't skip this. Credit card issuers are required to post a late payment warning disclosure explaining precisely what will happen if your payment is late, according to the Balance. First you should understand that late means after 5 p.m. on the payment due date. The disclosure should also include the amount of any late fee and possible penalty APR if you don't make the minimum payment by the due date. According to the Balance, late payments are limited to the lesser of your minimum payment or $25, or a maximum of $35 if you've already been late on a payment within the past six months. 

However, the late payment disclosure doesn't tell you about the effect of late pays on your credit report. It's up to you to know that once a payment is 30 days past due, the past due account status may be reported to a credit bureau. Once you bring your account current again, your bills and online account will show that you're caught up, but your credit report will retain the late payment record for seven years.

Credit card issuers are required, by law, to send your monthly credit card statement at least 21 days before your minimum payment is due. Of course, if you opt to save paper and postage and receive only online bills, you are responsible to make sure you log onto your bill and pay. According to Credit.com, one way to improve your odds of paying either type of credit card bill on time is to set up reminders or even automatic bill pay.

Any notices of changes to your interest rate: Read your credit card statement carefully to get interest rate specifics and start addressing them, according to MyCreditUnion.gov. When you trigger the penalty rate with a late payment or going over your credit rate, the company may notify you that your rates will increase. You must be informed at least 45 days ahead of the rate change activating, which is another reason to make sure you check your online statements reguarly -- monthly at the very least.

If you catch this increase notice quickly and it's due to a single late payment, Credit.com suggested trying to contact your card issuer to request a one-time waiver of the late fees and penalty interest rates. And since the credit card company isn't permitted to impose the penalty rate unless you've been 60 days delinquent on your payment, according to the Balance, make sure to verify that you've been that late and protest if your records show you haven't.

To see a sample notice of interest rate change, check out the interactive credit card statement at the non-profit's website. to familiarize yourself with the terms commonly included on a real statement.

The minimum payment warning: Minimum payment copy is now required by law. The disclosure is listed within your statement, detailing the sometimes horrifying amount of time it will take you to pay your balance, including interest charges, if you stick to making only the minimum payment. Make sure to read this every month, the Balance advised. This may encourage you to up your payment to avoid paying maximum interest. If you are trying to pay off more than one credit card, comparing minimum payment warnings will also let you know which card to focus on first.

To set a personal deadline for paying off a credit card, find a reliable credit card repayment calculator like the one offered at Credit.com.

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New spam impacts some Gmail accounts

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 4:37 PM

A new form of spam is causing some computer experts to scratch their heads.  

Messages you didn’t send but appear to come from your Gmail account may wind up in your sent messages folder.

The trick lets the spammers bypass Gmail’s spam filters, according to Gizmodo.com.

This doesn’t mean your account has been compromised, in fact, the problem continues for some users who have changed their password, or use two-factor authentication, according to Cnet.com.  

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will be talking to a local tech expert to find out more about how this is happening and what you can do to protect your Gmail account.  

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Toddler toys, decorative pillows, and water bottles among the latest product recalls 

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 2:41 PM

Toddler toys, decorative pillows, and water bottles among the latest product recalls

Children’s xylophones, water bottles sold at Costco, and 21 styles of decorative pillows are among the latest recalls announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

The Petit Collage musical jumbo wooden xylophones made by Wild & Wolf are under recall because the ball on the end of the stick can detach and pose a choking hazard. 

There is one report of the ball separating and another report of a loose ball, but no injuries.

They were sold at Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters and other retailers.

Don’t let your child use the toy and contact Wild & Wolf at 855-215-5879 to receive a free replacement beater stick. 

Reduce Hydro Pro Water bottles are being recalled over lead paint. 

They were sold in two packs with a dog and lamb design printed on the outside.

No one has been hurt, but the pink paint on the outside of the bear bottles contain levels of toxic lead that exceed federal standards.

Don’t use the recalled bottles and contact Base Brands at 833-600-2887 or return them to place of purchase for a full refund or replacement bottle. 

Decorative pillows by Primark are being recalled because they may catch on fire. 

No one has been hurt, but don’t use the cushions which come in 21 shapes, sizes and colors, click here for full product codes and descriptions. 

Contact Primark at 855-215-5829 or return the pillows to the store for a full refund. 

One million Square D safety switches are under recall because the could shock or electrocute users, although no injuries have been reported.

The power may stay on when in the “OFF” position on several catalog numbers of the general duty switches made by Schneider Electric. 

Contact Schneider Electric at 877-672-1953 or click here to find out how to inspect the switch, receive free service support, and a replacement switch. 

Pressure washer surface cleaners by Briggs and Stratton are being recalled because  the spray bar can fly off and cause an injury. 

One person reported needing sutures on a cut to the knee after being struck by the bar.    There are four other reports of the bars detaching from the central hub. 

3000 PSI Briggs and Stratton and Crafsman branded surface cleaners are involved in the recall.

Stop using the cleaners and Contact Briggs and Stratton at 877-370-7505 to receive a free replacement. 

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Jo-Ann Stores are recalling string light sets which can break and cut you.

Two people have  been cut by the decorative glass jars in the Jo-Ann’s Makers Holiday 10-count LED string lights. 

Don’t use the lights and contact Jo-Ann stores at 888-739-4120 for a full refund. 

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Polaris is recalling Ranger XP recreational off-highway vehicles and Phoenix 200 all-terrain vehicles due to injury and crash concerns.

Multiple model numbers of the 2016 and 2017 Ranger XP ROVs have seat belt brackets that can separate from the frame. No injuries have been reported.

All model year 2014 through 2017 Phoenix ATVs are being recalled because of nine reports of a damaged throttle limiter, with one minor injury.

Stop using the ROVs and ATVs and contact Polaris at 800-765-2747 for a free repair.

For more on these and other recalls visit CPSC.gov.

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Local students learn how to combat scams, fraud

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

Students in the Miami Valley are learning to recognize fraud and scams, and finding out how they can protect themselves from these potential money pitfalls.

Several schools in our area teach a free consumer life skills and financial literacy curriculum called FoolProof. 

The goal of the web-based, interactive coursework is to teach a healthy dose of skepticism in a scam-filled world.

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Kettering, Xenia, Franklin, Stebbins, Greenville and Lebanon high schools offer FoolProof classes.

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will find out more about what the students learn and what they can teach us about avoiding scams and fraud. 

Watch tonight on WHIO-TV at 5pm.

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Audit-proofing your taxes 

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

Audit-proofing your taxes

First, the good news.  The IRS is auditing fewer taxpayers.  

In fact, audits are at an all-time low. You can’t completely audit-proof your tax returns, but there are ways to make your chance of an IRS investigation less likely. 
Failing to report taxable income and cryptocurrency income, are among Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s list of audit red flags.

Math errors, sizeable donations, home office deductions and deductions of unreimbursed business expenses, for example, commuting costs and clothing, are also going to raise eyebrows at the IRS.

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One of the biggest red flags is income.

The more money you make the more likely you’ll be scrutinized by the IRS, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.  

If you make $200,00 or more, there is a one in 80 chance of an audit, and if you make more than $1 million your odds are one in 25, according to Clark Howard’s website, Clark.com.

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will have insight from a local tax preparer about ways to audit-proof your tax return tonight on WHIO-TV at 5.

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