We’ve all heard about scammers that target seniors. But a new trend that affects everyone may especially harm seniors because many of them are not as technologically savvy as younger generations. The trend is called “grey charges” and it seems to target many in the “grey” generation and can rise to the level of elder abuse.
When was the last time you examined a credit card statement line by line? If there is a large charge, you will likely notice it. But what about charges of $5 or $10 that creep into your statements every month?
These have been labeled “grey charges” because they are neither black nor white—you didn’t authorize the charge (or at least you thought you didn’t), but most of them don’t meet the criteria of fraud. Here are some examples:
–have you ever been on the phone with a company you are placing an order with and they offer you a free magazine subscription? The first couple of issues may be free, but then a monthly charge kicks in. Would you notice it?
–have you ever had a subscription or a product that you receive on a monthly basis “auto-renew” itself whether you authorized it or not?
–have you ever ordered something that boasted a “free trial”? Chances are if you didn’t cancel it or return it, the company started charging you for it, either in installments or all at one time.
These are all grey charges, and most of them are disclosed in the fine print that you never read, or added on at the end of a sales phone call (whether you or the caller initiated it) when you have tuned out from all the sales pitch gibberish.
The bottom line is that these charges can add up if you don’t find them for several months. While it can’t be labeled as fraudulent because it was “disclosed” to you, it is certainly exploitation and even elder abuse. If you can’t easily review your bank statements yourself, ask one of your children or someone you trust to help you. You’ve worked your whole life to earn your retirement income. Don’t let it dwindle away $5 at a time for no reason.
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