The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to all credit card holders that if they see a charge for $9.84 on their statement, their information may be in the hands of crooks.
The credit card fraud was brought to light by investigative reporter Brian Krebs who says that the person or people behind it rely on the carelessness of the cardholders to be able to follow through. By charging such a small amount, the crooks are able to have the credit card number to use it for fraud because so many people will mistakenly overlook such a small charge.
In his report, Krebs says that he received a lot of questions from people who noticed the strange $9.84 charge, so he decided to investigate the matter. Krebs eventually discovered that close to 230 websites connected to just a small number of individuals were linked to each case of the charge.
“If I had to hazard a charitable guess about what is going on here, I would say some ambitious “affiliates” associated with these moneymaking schemes were abusing the system and pushing through charges on stolen credit cards,” writes Krebs. “But it is difficult to escape the conclusion that this is little more than an elaborate (and probably successful) scam set up to steal little bits of money from lots and lots of people.”
This scam, he explains, is not something new, and it is very easy for the people behind it to perpetrate.
“By the way, this is not a new type of fraud, nor is this particular fraud a recent occurrence — although the bogus $9.84 charges do appear to have spiked around the holidays,” says Krebs. “Most of the domains involved in this scheme were registered a year ago or more, and a quick search on the amount $9.84 shows that the fraudsters responsible for this scheme have been at it since at least the first half of 2013.
Krebs goes on to offer advice to people who have discovered the fraudulent charge on their credit card statement.
“If you see a charge like this or any other activity on your credit or debit card that you did not authorize, contact your bank and report the fraud immediately. I think it’s also a good idea in cases like this to request a new card in the odd chance your bank doesn’t offer it: After all, it’s a good bet that your card is in the hands of crooks, and is likely to be abused like this again.”