Online credit card fraud is increasing thanks to get rich quick schemes being advertised all over the web. With unemployment hovering near 10%, these ads are attracting a whole new audience of desperate Americans.
The current wave of schemes includes two campaigns that seem to appear everywhere; the Google link scheme and the government grants plan. In the case of the Google campaign, the advertiser promises to show how you can earn $5000 per month posting links to the search giant. What does it cost to get this valuable information? Amazingly the advertiser will give it to you free and wants only a $1.98 shipping and handling fee. The government grants campaign is the same story. Learn how you can get free money from the government for just $1.98.
What most people do not see, is in the terms and conditions you have opted in to a number of monthly subscriptions that, depending on the number of advertisers in the scheme, can total close to $100 per month. These memberships are automatically applied to the credit card that you used to pay the shipping and handling fees of the original requested information.
In addition to enrolling you into these worthless monthly programs, they sell your email, phone number and mailing address to direct marketers. Shortly after you make the payment for the shipping and handling charges, you will be flooded with spam emails, junk snail mail and your phone will start ringing off the hook from telemarketers who want to tell you how to make money at home.
The first time you will be aware that you are enrolled in the monthly sites will be when you notice the charges on your credit card statement. In some instances there will only be the name of the site and no telephone number making it more difficult to contact them and cancel the memberships. In some instances you will have to Google the website name to find a forum where somebody has tracked down a phone number for the site.
If you can find a single toll free number on your statement, you have just found the customer service number for all the sites. Even if there are different 800 numbers, they all go to the same place. There is a call center in Las Vegas that handles calls for the sites.
When you call, start with the name of the site that you found the phone number on. The customer service agent will first say that you opted in for these sites and try to resell you on the idea. When you say no to that, they will say ok, we wont make any further charges. What they are not saying is that they will refund the original unauthorized charge. Your response is to make it clear that you want a refund. Stick to your guns and they will do it and send an email confirming it.
Once you have their agreement to refund on the original site, make it clear that you want the same done for the other sites. It may be that they no longer represent one of th sites and will not be able to refund for that. If that’s the case call your credit card company and explain the unauthorized charge and the fact that the vendor has no contact information. The card company should be able to resolve it from there.
The old adage of If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isnt applies here. What is so sad is that these predatory advertisers know that these difficult times are going to drive more traffic to their absolutely worthless sites and they dont have any qualms about taking the consumers money.
If you are making a first time purchase from a vendor, always read the terms and conditions. If it’s available, use PayPal to process the transaction. By using PayPal, the vendor never sees your credit card information. If that’s not an option, be sure the site is displaying the VeriSign bage that tell you they are using a secure server. Lastly, always check your credit card statements carefully and take action on any unauthorized items.