Local News

February 6, 2014

BBB: Watch out for $9.84 charges on credit cards statements

In the wake of all the various data breaches happening lately, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers to watch their statements extra carefully. Scammers are using stolen information to do small charges on credit cards, and are counting on the fact that many consumers don’t check their credit card statements all that carefully.

One popular number to charge right now is $9.84. Therefore, be sure to review your recent statements for unexplained charges of any amount, and contest them with your bank or credit card issuer by calling the number found on the back of your card or billing statement.

How the scam works   

You spot a recent strange charge of $9.84 on your credit card statement. The source listed on your bill is an unfamiliar website. You check out the web address and it’s not the business website. It’s a generic landing page that claims to offer “customer support.” The text promises to “refund 100 percent of your last payment” and provides a phone number and email address.

It turns out, though, that scammers are charging stolen credit card numbers for a small amount of money. This way scammers are “testing the water” and making sure the card works before they try to charge even bigger amounts or even max out your credit altogether. Recent victims were charged $9.84, but scammers may change that amount as word gets out. The expectation is that many cardholders won’t notice the relatively small charge, and the credit card companies won’t go after such a minor sum.

Victims report calling the “customer support” site and receiving verbal confirmation that the charge would be canceled. However, do not take the scammers at their word. Contact your bank to report the charges and request a new credit card. Your card information has been compromised and it is likely scammers will be back for more.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to reduce your risk of credit card fraud:

• Report lost cards and incorrect charges promptly. In the United States and Canada if your credit card is lost, stolen or used without your permission, you may be responsible for up to $50. If you report the loss before the card is used, you are not responsible for any unauthorized charges. In addition, many cardholders are protected by zero liability policies set in place by credit card companies.

• Request a new card if you notice unauthorized charges. Fraudulent charges mean your card information has been compromised. Be on the safe side and request a new card.

• Never lend your card. And do not leave your cards, statements and receipts lying around your home, car or office.

• Never sign a blank charge slip. Draw lines through blank spaces on charge slips above the total so the amount can’t be changed.

• Use caution when ordering online or over the phone. Always be cautious about disclosing your account number on the telephone or online unless you know the person you are dealing with represents a reputable company.

For more information

Check out BBB Scam Stopper, www.bbb.org/council/bbb-scam-stopper, for more information about scams.

Learn more about the credit card charges (and the investigation to track down their source) at Krebs on Security, a blog by former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs.  

For the latest happenings, tips and scam alerts from your local BBB, visit BBB’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BBBTNGA) and on Twitter, @BBBTNGA.


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