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What is This Charge?


We've all had a mysterious charge show up on a bank statement. Where did it come from? Did I do business with this company? Is this a scam? In this short article, I'll explain a simple reason where some of them could come from, using an example that happened to me.

I purchased a telescope recently from Orion Telescopes. It is absolutely fantastic by the way. Shortly after that, I purchased some more accessories, totalling $149.90. One item I purchased (a solar filter) was on back order. Rememeber, we just had the solar eclipse around this date, so that is understandable. The total charge minus the solar filter was $96.35. I also paid via PayPal, a detail which will become important.

Why am I giving all of this backstory? Well, a week or so later I got a seemingly mysterious charge on my bank statement for $23.36. It was also to an "OPTRONICTEC", a company which I knew I had not done business with.

OK, here is the explanation for everything and some tips on what you can look for.

First, companies' business names that customers are familiar with and the name that shows up on a statement are not always going to match exactly. Whenever we eat at a certain Chili's, for example, the name "Chili's" does not show up on any statement.

Second, I Googled "OPTRONICTEC" and found out they sell hobby stuff, so that was a big clue. Moreover, they were located in the general area where I knew Orion was located. Always Google the name and poke around for clues.

Third, the explanation of the amounts. Remember I said I paid via PayPal? Well, I simply had an existing balance on my PalPal account that I forgot about. I, in fact, had $72.99 sitting there. Note that $96.35 - $72.99 = $23.36. So remember, if a charge is mysterious and you paid with PayPal, to first check if you have an existing PalPal balance.

All this advice is common sense, I know. However, sometimes when we see a charge that we think we didn't do, a company name we think we haven't done business with, we believe we have been wronged and are quick to call the fraud department. Thanks for reading.

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