Identity thieves are getting smarter and sometimes honest mistakes just happen. This is why it is so important to review your credit card statement before you make your payments every time. Look for odd transactions that jump out at you as well as dollar amounts that seem to differ from what you remember. You will especially want to watch for anything tied into an automatic billing, such as subscription services.
It is often easiest to take advantage of consumer protection through your credit card before you pay off the charges you want to dispute. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, you can even dispute purchases that fell short of your expectations, once you’ve tried to work out a return with the merchant, of course. If you do notice a suspicious charge or you have a reason to dispute a particular purchase on your credit card statement, be sure to contact your card issuer right away. It can take time to resolve matters and getting the ball rolling early is always better than waiting until you get down to the wire.
In addition to protecting you from unnoticed identity theft and automated annual charges you aren’t expecting, reading over your credit card statement also helps you to stay on top of what you are spending in various categories – groceries, utilities and home repair, coffee, dining out, and impulse buys to name just a few. Staying on top of your statements and reading over each one before you pay helps you to keep your mind clear about what you are really spending and it gives you a better chance at reigning in your spending to match your desired budget, if necessary.