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ID theft

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Beware of "free" money from credit card companies

Free money! Who can resist an unsolicited $10 check that just appears in the mailbox like manna? The answer is, anyone with young eyes or bifocals easily within reach; the fine print (and it is very fine and very faint) is the deal killer.

A recent example was found in a coworker’s mailbox. In this case, the fine print reveals that cashing the check automatically and immediately enrolls the endorsee in a yearlong membership in Great Fun, a discount program offered to “valued Travelers Advantage members.” Great Fun savings include deep discounts at restaurants, hotels and stores, PLUS 2% back on $5,000 worth of credit card purchases. What a deal!

Now, get out the bifocals. The annual membership begins with a free 30-day trial period, but members’ credit cards are automatically billed for an additional 11-month membership. And, at the end of that first year, an annual fee of $139.99 will be automatically charged to your credit card. And in all subsequent years, your credit card will be automatically charged at whatever the current rate is at the time.

To be fair, there is a limited opportunity for the “valued member” to cancel their Great Fun membership during the 30-day trial period by calling a toll free phone number. To be frank, the program is a product of Trilegiant, a corporation with a history of consumer complaints and class action lawsuits pertaining to unauthorized credit card charges and members’ enrollment in Trilegiant programs without informed consent.

Published Feb 10 2009, 01:10 PM by IdentityTheft
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