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Monday, July 13, 2009

Are You Checking Your Bank And Credit Statements? Errors Happen. How To Correct Them

When life gets a little hectic, it can be a pain to review your credit and bank statements line by line. I hate it almost as much as matching socks fresh out of the laundry.

However, it is important to check these statements regularly. By doing so, you can correct mistakes that may have been made and even detect if you have become a victim of identity theft.

What If There Is A Billing Error?

If you notice a billing mistake on a bill or statement, the first thing that probably pops into your head is to call the company to correct the problem. This is a good first step. But, to be protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you must send a separate written billing error notice, to the creditor.

Your notice must reach the creditor within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed to you. Also, the written notice must be sent to the address provided on the bill for billing error notices.

Here’s what your letter needs to contain:
  • Your name and account number
  • A statement why you believe the bill contains a billing error
  • Statement of the dollar amount involved
  • The reason you believe there is a mistake
The Fair Credit Billing Act generally applies to “open end” credit accounts, such as credit cards or revolving charge accounts (think department store charge cards).

How To Correct Unauthorized Withdrawals

If you notice an unauthorized withdrawal or another error with a withdrawal you made, you should contact your financial institution immediately.
Under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, if there is a mistake or unauthorized withdrawal from your bank account through the use of a debit card, you must notify your financial institution of the problem or error within 60 days after the statement containing the problem or error was sent.

If an identity thief has stolen your checks or made counterfeit checks, and then used those checks to make purchases or pay bills, you will need to contact your financial institution right away.

If You Think You’re a Victim of Identity Theft
If you think you may be a victim of Identity Theft. Contact your financial institution(s) and work with them to protect your checking, credit, and savings accounts. The sooner you contact them, the better. File a report with your local police department and file a complaint with the FTC trade commission.