Anyone paying attention to the news must know that financial institutions have been losing money, and they have been losing big. The amounts of write-offs are mind-boggling: Washington Mutual: $1.4 billion, Bank of America: $6.5 billion; Citigroup $13 billion… And these just first-quarter losses (for 2008).
Anyway, while banks are losing money, it’s time to check your own statements, because you may have been losing money, too. It may be a coincidence, but for some reason, within the last 3-4 weeks I was charged four times, all by mistake. First, Citibank imposed a monthly finance charge on the account I had for years. I’m sure that I met all requirements of the free account, but the charge sneaked on me, and I would not have detected it if not for a warning from Mint.com (after this notification, I came to appreciate Mint’s services). Then I received an annual charge for my free AAdvantage card (a customer service representative said that it was a mistake). Then, I got a charge for an annual credit card transaction summary, which I had never requested, nor received (I don’t even know what it’s for). Finally, one of the credit cards suddenly enrolled me in a protection plan (it’s one of these deals when they send you check for $6 or so, cashing which you get automatically enrolled in the plan; I’m pretty sure I have not cashed any such checks lately).
I’m no conspiracy theorist, but this seems very suspicious. (BTW, these incidents do not seem to be related to my identity theft issue, since these are legitimate accounts belonging to me.) Fortunately, banks agreed to reverse the charges, but if I were less attentive, I would’ve lost $50-$60 in few weeks. In the big scheme of things, $50-$60 is not a big amount, but I would rather spend it on things other than erroneous finance charges. I suspect you would, too, so go ahead and check your bank statements.