BBB Scam Alert: Unexplained $9.84 Charges? You May Be a Victim of Credit Card Fraud

February 04, 2014

January 29, 2014 - BBB is issuing a scam alert urging consumers to check their credit card and bank statements for unexplained charges of $9.84 in connection with a new con used by scammers. In this case, scammers are banking on the fact that many consumers don't check their credit card statements at all and those that do only give them a cursory glance.

Don't fall for it. Review your recent statements for unexplained charges of $9.84 or other odd amounts and contest them with your bank or credit card issuer by calling the number on the back of your card.

In a new twist on the old scam of credit and debit card fraud, the crooks are charging small amounts that they hope will go unnoticed. Consumers who do regularly review their statements often look for large charges and overlook smaller fraudulent ones. At least, that’s what the scammers are hoping you’ll do.

Here’s how it works:

You’re reviewing your recent credit card or bank statement and spot a charge of $9.84 that you don’t remember making. The source listed on your statement is an unfamiliar website. When you check out the web address, you find a generic landing page that claims to offer "Customer Support." There’s a phone number and email address to contact for a 100% refund of your last payment.

So what’s really going on?

Scammers are charging stolen credit and debit card numbers for $9.84, although that amount may change as word gets out about the scam. The expectation is that many cardholders won't notice the relatively small charge, and the financial institutions won't go after such a minor sum.

Some victims have called the "customer support" center for the promised refund. They may even ask you to verify your card information in order to process that refund. Don’t fall for it.

If you see a charge like this on your account, your card information has been compromised, and it’s possible scammers will be back for more. Contact your bank or credit card company to report the charges and request a new card.

BBB offers the following tips to reduce your risk of credit or debit card fraud:

· Report lost cards and incorrect charges promptly.

· Request a new card if you notice unauthorized charges. Fraudulent charges mean your card information has been compromised. Always be safe and request a replacement card.

· Never lend your card. According to a Javelin Research study, “friendly fraud”, perpetrated by someone the victim knows, accounted for 12% of identity theft related fraud in 2012.

· Don’t leave your cards, statements and receipts lying around your home, car or office where others can see them.

· 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're dealing with represents a reputable company and you initiated the contact.