Check over your aging parent(s) credit card statements to make sure everything is legit.

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If your parents will allow you to do that. Within the past 5 months I have been taking over the finances for my Dad as he was so hopeless lost when it came to bills, etc. as my late Mom always had taken care of that over the past 70+ years. I would find over-due bills in the recycling. Oops, not good.

Thus when I finally had time I was able to start checking over Dad's credit card statements. Little confusing at first with the auto payments my parents had set up for utilities and other items.

Today I had some free time so I had noticed a charge for $39.99 which had been going on monthly since December. I had ignored it in the past thinking it was another medical supplement thingee.... but today I called the phone number next to the charge and it was a discount buying service. Say what? The rep was very pleasant and she removed Dad from the service.

How in the world did Dad sign up for that? He probably thought it was a great deal saving on things to buy and probably didn't realize the monthly charge. I won't bother Dad with what I found, he probably won't remember signing up... [sigh]


My mom was continually falling for the "free" months supply of a supplement or vitamin- not understanding that she had committed to an auto ship program since she didn't know she had to call and say "no" after the "free" month - which always had an outrageous shipping/handling, btw. I'd either discover a charge on her credit card or find a bottle of some funky wonder supplement. When asked - she'd always say "I don't know, I didn't order that". The fact that she had to give her visa number for her "free" thing never added up to anything for her. Sigh!
Absolutely! Good topic FF. I've been paying the bills for my folks for a couple of years now. Mom sleeps a lot and these creeps get my poor demented dad on the phone and work him over. For a long time he would just tell them to send him the info but I've recently had to cancel 3 charges where he's given out his credit card number. Two were monthly billings for Internet security services. Dad hasn't been able to use his computer for 2 or 3 years. I'm thinking his credit card is going to get "lost" pretty soon.
And while you're checking your parents' accounts, make sure to check your own! I hadn't balanced my checkbook for a couple of months a year ago and when I did, I had a mysterious $7.99 charge I didn't recognize. I called the 800 number on my statement and was told I had ordered a flashlight. I hadn't. They reversed the charge without argument.

Then a month later, I was charged another $7.99 charge for earrings I hadn't ordered. I immediately called and got that reversed. Some scammer company had gotten my info and was putting these small charges through, using different company names and phone numbers. When the charges are that small, you have to be paying attention to notice it. When I called the second number, it sounded like the same people answering the phone.

At that point, I immediately called my credit union and canceled that debit card and got a new one. Now I watch my OWN accounts like a hawk!
blannie - a couple of years ago we got hit through PayPal for a fictitious eBay charge - not suspose to happen with PayPal - ha! They credited us pretty fast and it all worked out. But while we were talking with their Fraud Division they guy told us often scammers start with small amounts to see if it will get noticed before they go big. Also they'll start small so perhaps hubby will just assume wifey bought something, then next month another charge but hubby is now assuming this is a regular store wife now shops at - and the charge gets another pass. In our situation the scammers went big right off the bat - but it wouldn't have mattered if it was five bucks - my hubby watches our accounts like a hawk. Plus - since looking after my mom and son he knows I don't have the energy or desire to shop for anything but groceries these days!
Last year I frozen my credit after the Target problem with hackers. It was pretty easy to do, go on each credit bureau website and look for "freeze credit". The cost for me was around $10 each [some States it is free]. Knock on wood, no issues.

I was able to get a current credit report for my Dad, had to answer some security questions and got them all right :) I wanted to be sure nothing strange was going on.

Next step is to freeze Dad's credit as he's not going to buy a house or new car at this stage in his life. He has only one credit card and I would like to get him a new one at another bank, but that means changing over all the auto payments connected to the old credit card... like who has time to do all that :P
I was told the same thing as RainMom. Scammers typically start out with small charges, innocuous ones like gas station purchasers. It's a test to see if they could get away with it.

I was unable to pay Dad's bill once because the phone payment system kept blocking my attempts, so after talking with a CSR and being connected to the fraud department I learned that the card had been flagged because of a strange charge. It was something like "for miscellaneous personal services" and for about $8.00.

Neither the credit card fraud rep or I could figure out what it was, but it was considered fraudulent and stopped, and a new card was issued.

I encountered a situation which I suspect will be a problem, but already have plans to stop it. I bought a magazine at a new book store in mid March and was asked if I wanted to try a free subscription for 2 months of 3 magazines of my choice. I wouldn't normally even consider it, but one was a magazine I used to subscribe to and found worthwhile. So I figured I'd get the freebies then cancel the offer.

The clerk processed the order then asked me to sign a slip agreeing that unless I notified this supplier to the contrary within 2 months, it would automatically start billing my credit card. Obviously I refused to sign, rescindied the magazine order, and convinced the clerk to call the supplier and stop it.

The clerk seemed honest but said that the company hadn't completely processed the "order" so therefore couldn't stop it. Obviously I smelled a rat.

Neither the clerk or the company ever contacted me. I did get some issues of one subscription, one issue of another, and none of the third. I fully anticipate that the company will attempt to bill my credit card, so I probably will cancel it just before the 2 months is up and thwart them. I'd like to see their reaction when they find out the card is cancelled and they can't try to bill me for something I never signed for.
There's another credit card scam that's been in process for some times, and that's by so-called charities. I researched one which was hassling Dad and found that it was fraudulent "charity." I've also done some research on organizations which also have "foundation" in the so-called charity's name and found they're also frauds.

It's sad that companies exploit the charitable business by pretending to be one, trying to get authority for automatic charges for monthly donations.
Spy or lie if you must, but definitely review your elderly parents' credit card statements. Back when mom's mantra was "I know what I'm doing," and well-meaning mush-heads kept telling me mom was "just" full of grief or loneliness or anxiety (that I was supposed to fix -- ha!), mom's Visa statements set the record straight. Mutliples of multiples from Home Shopping Network. A subscription to a monthly makeup delivery. (She didn't wear makeup.) Excessive catalog ordering, usually in multiples. Random religious donations. That's when I knew -- even moreso -- that mom's deterioration couldn't be addressed by a self-help book. Because it was brain damage.
BlackHole - just a quick comment regarding your needing to "fix" your mom. I think that was one of the things that got to me the worst in the beginning, before I really understood what I was dealing with - all the "well-meaning" friends and relatives of my mothers telling me "you need to..." or "you have to have her..." etc. As if I could get my mother to do anything! Or I didn't know it would be better for her to do whatever it was they were suggesting would be better for mom or "fix" her. I swear it was enough to make me want to blow my head off! As if it were that easy or simple to get my mother to do anything that was reasonable or made sense! Yea, right!

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