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Issues Affecting Seniors

RECURRING CHARGES AND SCAMS

 

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, older consumers complain about being billed for subscriptions they did not want or need. Some older consumers reported dissatisfaction for being billed for recurring charges, such as monthly fees for credit monitoring. Some of these consumers stated that they were enrolled in the program without knowledge of the program and its costs. Some older consumers reported that they had paid on the unwanted service for months and only learned about the charges when a family member or other trusted third party reviewed their accounts.

 

Older consumers also report difficulties recovering from financial scams. Consumers, both young and old, reported concerns resulting from financial scams or having their identity stolen. Common consequences of scams and identity theft—as reported by older consumers—include having to correct credit reports, disputing charges with credit card companies, and attempting to have money recovered that was withdrawn from their bank accounts. In their complaints to the CFPB, older consumers often expressed confusion, and sometimes frustration, about what actions to take in remedying their individual situation. Family members of older consumers raised the additional concern about protecting older consumers in their family from scams and elder abuse—particularly when the older consumer suffers from a disease that affects their mental functioning, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.

WE CAN HELP YOU WITH:

  • Unauthorized charges

  • Legal rights when hit with unauthorized charges

  • Stopping recurring charges to prevent unauthorized charges and unwanted recurring charges

We can help you enforce your rights against companies, banks and credit card companies who take advantage of you or your loved ones:

Phishing Scams

 

Email or phone calls from recognizable companies stating there is a problem with your account. They'll ask for or provide a link to an outside website that will have you enter your account information.

Telemarketing and Phone Scams

 

Email or phone calls from recognizable companies stating there is a problem with your account. They'll ask for or provide a link to an outside website that will have you enter your account information.

Lost/Stolen Cards and Card Numbers

 

This is run of the mill - lost or stolen wallets or purses, restaurants, etc.

Data Breaches

 

Major companies are targets of hackers who obtain customer information including stored credit card information and sell it on the dark web. Think Target, Home Depot, Chase, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the United States Office of Personnel Management - they've all been hacked in the past 5 years.

ATM Skimmers

 

Thieves put devices in ATMs that are hard to detect. The device records debit card information and pin codes of all cards swiped. After they retrieve the information, they can digitize it and sell the credit cards on the black market.

Lead Generator Websites

 

Google Ads advertising "fast cash" or loans for people with bad credit. Provides a link to a company that steals your information.

Online Shopping - “Free Trials”

 

Online shoppers believe they are buying something one time, but are really signing up for a subscription, or they think they are signing up for a free 30 day trial. The first 30 days are free and after that your credit card is charged unless you affirmatively cancel. This is legal because you click "I accept the terms and conditions."

Chip Cards

 

These appear to be safe for now, but people often leave the chipped cards in the machine. Fraud with chips is expected to increase.

So What Are My Rights If I'm Hit With Unauthorized Charges?

IT DEPENDS ON THE TYPE OF ACCOUNT OR CARD

Was it a Bank Account or Debit Card that was charged?

If your debit card was lost or stolen:

  • You need to notify you bank within 2 business days of NOTICING that your card was lost or stolen

  • If you do, the maximum liability is $50

 

If you report your card lost or stolen after 2 business days:

  • You will be responsible for $50 for the first 2 days, and up to $500 for any charges after the 2nd day

  • Don’t let your bank charge you more

Unauthorized Charge on Your Bank Statement:

  • If you report the unauthorized charge within 60 days of receiving the statement, you are not liable for any charge. The bank must reverse it.

  • If you report the unauthorized charge after 60 days, you are not responsible for any charges for the first 60 days, but may be responsible for the charges afterwards

Was it a Prepaid Card/Payroll Card or Government Benefit Card?

If your card was lost or stolen:

  • You need to notify you bank within 2 business days of NOTICING that your card was lost or stolen

  • If you do, the maximum liability is $50

 

If your card was not lost or stolen, but there are unauthorized charges on your card:

  • You will be responsible for $50 for the first 2 days, and up to $500 for any charges after the 2nd day

  • If you have Direct Express Card (a Federal benefits card), you have 90 days to report the unauthorized charges

  • Don’t let your bank charge you more

Was it a Credit Card?

Credit Card Lost or Stolen:

  • If you report your card lost or stolen promptly your max liability is $50

 

Unauthorized Charge:

  • If you report your card lost or stolen promptly your max liability is $50

If you never opened the card and never authorized someone to open the card:

  • You have no liability whatsoever

What Does Authorization Mean?

Authorization means that the payment terms were “clear” and “readily understandable” and that you agreed to the terms and “authorized” the opening of the account or charge to your account or card. IF YOU DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE CONSENTING TO A CHARGE OR A RECURRING CHARGE, YOU DID NOT “AUTHORIZE” THE ACCOUNT OR CHARGE!

Can I Revoke My Authorization to a Recurring Charge?

YES! Any consumer may decide after authorizing a merchant or lender to make withdrawals from their account or charges to their card that they want to revoke authorization.

How Do I Revoke My Authorization?

How to Revoke Authorization to a Company:

 

  • Send them a letter specifying your account details to the best of your knowledge and state explicitly that you revoke your authorization for them to charge your account. 

  • After you have revoked your authorization, consider giving a stop payment order to your bank.

 

How to Revoke Authorization to a Bank:

 

  • Send your bank a letter specifying the charges you wish to revoke and state explicitly that you revoke your authorization for them to charge your account. 

Stop Payment Orders

  • If a company refuses to stop charging your account or if the next charge is imminent, send a stop payment order to your bank

  • A stop payment order is an order by you that the bank not charge your account and not pay the merchant, company or charge. 

  • The bank is required to comply with a stop payment order if

    • You provide oral or written directions within 3 business days prior to the charge

  • Your bank is allowed to charge a fee for stopping payment, but it must comply.


 

THERE MAY BE ADDITIONAL WAYS TO RECOUP MONIES PAID TO BANKS, MERCHANTS OR CREDIT CARD COMPANIES OUTSIDE OF THESE DATES. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE, PLEASE CONTACT US!

Download authorization letter templates

Enter your email below to access our templates page where you can download letter templates to fill out and send to companies or your bank.

Girl by the Lake

If you run into noncompliance or have questions, please reach out.

 

We encourage you to reach out today at (312) 971-6787 for a case analysis with an attorney.

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