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HARTFORD, Conn. – State Banking Commissioner John Burke is cautioning consumers not to be in such a hurry to cash unsolicited checks sent to them by their credit card company. The checks are real, he advised, and if cashed, the money belongs to the consumers, but the price consumers may wind up paying could be much higher than the amount of the check. Burke used the example of one major credit card company that recently mailed actual $4 checks to their customers . Cashing the checks enrolled a consumer in a program that claimed to offer money-saving benefits on purchases at major retailers. If the consumer fails to cancel this membership within a 30-day trial period, a first year’s membership fee of $139.95 is automatically charged to the consumer’s credit card account. “I am concerned that consumers will simply cash checks they receive in the mail without full knowledge of the consequences. The act of cashing one of these checks establishes an agreement between a consumer and their credit card company, and I want to be sure that the consumer knows exactly what that agreement means,” said the Commissioner. He added that these types of solicitations usually focus on the benefits of the program “and not on the exorbitant member fee charged to those who cash the checks. Even solicitations from your own credit card companies should be studies carefully.” He advised consumers to read the details of any solicitation they receive and be aware of the benefits and the costs involved before accepting the solicitation.

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