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Watch out for new credit card con

The Clarendon Enterprise of Clarendon, Texas

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Bob's whittlin'

Hi gang! Watch Out for $9.84 credit card charges. With this new con, scammers are banking on the fact that many consumers don't check their credit card statements all that carefully. Don't fall for it. Review your recent statements for unexplained charges of $9.84 and contest them with your bank or credit card issuer (call the number on the back of your card).

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% of your last payment" and provides a phone number and email address. What's going on here? Scammers are charging stolen credit card numbers for a small amount of money. (Recent victims were all 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, 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.

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'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 laying 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're dealing with represents a reputable company.

For More Information: 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. To find out more about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.

Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes: Scams will abound around popular news stories as a way for scammers to capitalize on current headlines. It's the season for Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes and the scams that go along with the real deal are already apparent. Recent calls to BBB indicate the recipient has won millions of dollars but first has to send money to receive their winnings. The BBB receives phone calls daily asking about sweepstakes notifications received by phone, email or regular mail. Some callers want to let the BBB know about the scam while others tell us they have already sent money and are looking for a resolution.

"Unfortunately, when victims are taken advantage of their money is gone from the economy and little if anything can be done at that point," said Janna Kiehl, BBB CEO. "That's why information and education is the first step the BBB takes with callers".

If you have received notification of winning a prize, remember: Most prize notifications are fraudulent. If you win a prize you will be contacted by certified mail and you will not be asked to send money up front. If you wire money as a promise to claim your prize - wire transfers are like cash and cannot be recovered. You should never have to send money to receive any winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes. When you win, the money comes to you. Be suspect of winning something you never bought a ticket for or entered, especially if you have to pay for it.

If you have questions about a sweepstakes offer, contact the BBB at or by calling 806-379-6222.

If you want to report a scam, click on ScamSource on the website. Federal law dictates that no money has to be paid in order to win a prize. Typically, other well-known companies are never involved in these scams nor do they contact consumers regarding potential winnings.

Publishers Clearing House awards its prizes by a personal visit to the winners' homes and does not charge winners to collect their prize. If you have won a prize from Publishers Clearing House, you will be listed on their website under Publisher's Clearing House Winners Circle. If your name is not on that list, you did not win. If you receive phone calls or emails from Publishers Clearing House indicating you have won a prize and need to send money or give up personal information ... don't do it! Contact Publishers Clearing House directly for information at 1-800-459-4724, Monday -Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST or visit their website at

Stay Safe Out There!

Copyright 2014 The Clarendon Enterprise, Clarendon, Texas. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 30, 2014

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