Reported by Aaron Solomon
NASHVILLE, Tenn.Much of the public has come to rely on debit cards for everyday transactions like buying gas or groceries. But when looking at a bank statement, it can be hard to determine if a $40 charge was at a store or a restaurant because the transaction will often not display the name of the business.
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"We have to remind ourselves that with every convenience that we sign up for that has to do with electronic transactions, there is a back door opened that makes us very vulnerable to con artists," said Middle Tennessee Better Business Bureau CEO Kathleen Calligan.
Recently Channel 4 reporter Aaron Solomon's wife noticed a charge on the family's bank statement for about $20 last month from a company called DinnerSave-4.
Solomon's wife called the number a few times and got unclear responses. One person said Solomon's family had signed up for a dining service that automatically withdrew a fee every month. However, they had not signed up for the service.
Solomon later talked to his bank and was able to get the charge removed. He also noticed there were similar charges in two previous months under different businesses that have had many complaints from consumers.
How did these companies get their information?
The BBB said merchants, telemarketers, a list broker or a financial processing firm may have given this business the Solomon's bank account number. Online shopping and automatic withdrawals from an account can make a consumer more vulnerable.
"It's inconvenient, but a good rule of thumb is not to have any ACH (Automated Clearing House) or automatic drafts on your checking account," said Calligan. "Do online banking and make sure at least every couple days that you're looking at your checking account and you can immediately challenge these."
Shopping online with a credit card instead of your debit card is another tip that the BBB suggests.
The BBB said that paying for identity theft protection from a reputable company can be helpful and to check your credit report regularly.
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