Thursday, 2 December 2010
The Dangers of Ignoring Your Post/Mails
These days, fraud is a big worry for many of us. However, by keeping a close eye on your bank statements, it’s easy to spot any dodgy transactions. So if you’re still receiving statements in the post, make sure you don’t ignore them. Check them carefully for any suspicious-looking transactions, and if you spot anything you don’t remember paying for, inform your bank immediately.
.However, it’s not just bank statements that can contain errors. If you receive your mobile phone bill, credit card bill, gas and electricity bill, or broadband bill in the post, check them all thoroughly. It’s not just fraudulent activity you need to watch out for - companies have been known to make the odd mistake here and there and charge you for something you shouldn’t be paying for.
So make sure you check carefully and inform that particular company if you spot anything you’re not happy with.
In a similar vein, you should also check whether your gas and electricity bill is an estimated reading or actual reading. If it’s an estimated reading, take a reading of the meter yourself and phone your supplier to correct it. After all, you don’t want to be paying more than you have to, do you?
If you’re paying for anything by direct debit, watch out for automatic renewal policies. Some insurers operate such policies - although here at lovemoney.com, we really recommend that you don’t pay for insurance by monthly direct debit as you’ll end up paying more.
However, if you’ve paid for your insurance on an annual direct debit, or you have an annual magazine subscription, or you’ve become a member of an organisation such as the National Trust and paid by annual direct debit, you really need to be aware of this.
Most of these firms will automatically renew your subscription or insurance policy the following year unless you tell them otherwise. This means that if you’ve not checked your post for a while, you may not have realised that your subscription/insurance is even up for renewal. As a result, you could end up forking out for something you no longer want or need. Or, in the case of insurance, you might end up paying far more for your renewal quote than you would have done if you’d simply told the company you didn’t want to renew and shopped around for a better quote elsewhere.
Finally, the My Voucher Codes survey also revealed that of the quarter of people who said they left bank statements unopened, 42% feared what they would find and admitted they would rather not know the state their finances were in.
If you’re one of these people, please don’t ignore your post. It won’t make the problem go away. If you're really worried about how much debt you’ve racked up and you can’t see any way out, contact a free independent debt advisory service such as Citizens Advice, National Debtline, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, Payplan and Advice UK. These charities will be able to provide guidance on a range of options to help you sort out your debt problems, and you won't have to pay anything for this advice.