Blogs & Comment

That $9 charge on your credit card

Have you ever noticed an odd-looking charge on your credit card? Its just for $9 or so, but you have no idea what you bought or who the billing company is.
Its possible you may have been scammed. There is currently a court case in the U.S. alleging that scammers collected approximately $10 million (U.S.) in bogus $9 or $0.20 charges placed on credit or debit cards over a period of four years. The civil lawsuit has been filed by the Federal Trade Commission— and it seems all the case will do is shut down the operation, not nab any criminals. The money was long ago whisked away to overseas bank accounts and no one has shown up to defend the shell companies named as defendants.
The scammers persuaded banks that they had a legitimate business so that they could obtain merchant accounts through which the credit card charges could be billed. To keep the banks and consumers off the trail, they set up storefronts online, rented street address, hired a mail forwarding company, and set up toll-free phone numbers with answering machines.
Its not certain where the scammers got the credit card numbers to bill. They could have perhaps been purchased from online carder forums, black market Web sites where criminal buy and sell stolen information. About 94% of all charges went uncontested by the victims.