The $9.84 Scam and Why You Should Be Watching for It
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Scammers are betting you don't sweat the small stuff. A new con is sweeping the globe: the $9.84 fraud. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says this small but specific charge is creeping into consumer credit card statements and scammers are counting on you to overlook or discount its importance.
Here's how the scam works, according to the BBB:
A $9.84 charge appears on your credit card statement. You don't recognize the amount or source of the charge, and the website listed is unfamiliar. A visit to the web address shows a generic landing page offering "Customer Support" with a promise to "refund 100% of your last payment" with a phone number and email address.
Reports say scammers are using stolen credit card numbers for small charges -- recent victims were all charged $9.84, but fraudsters may change that amount as news of the scam spreads.
"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," the BBB says in a scam alert. "Victims report calling the 'customer support' site and receiving verbal confirmation that the charge would be canceled. However, don't 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's likely scammers will be back for more."
Security expert Brian Krebs says the scam is not new, but recently resurfaced.
"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 writes on his blog, Krebs on Security. "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."
- 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're 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 don't leave your cards, statements and receipts where they can be seen or copied in 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're dealing with represents a reputable company.