Brian Krebs has investigated yet the latest in a long line of scams (krebsonsecurity.com; “Deconstructing the $9.84 Credit Card Hustle”). The Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a “scam alert” based on Mr. Krebs investigation (bbb.org; “Watch Out for $9.84 Credit Card Charges).

As outlined by Mr. Krebs and the BBB, the latest scam involves the relatively small amount of $9.84 being charged on victims’ credit cards.  While the amount might be small the impact on consumers is huge as it means their credit card numbers have been stolen and are now compromised.  Why would the scammers pick $9.84?  Because they’re counting on consumers being too busy to check their credit card statements closely and to overlook this small of a charge.

The $9.84 charge will look as if it’s from a website — but one that the consumer won’t necessarily recognize.  Consumers who try to find out more by going to the web address will learn that it’s not the business website.  Instead, as BBB and Mr. Krebs report, it’s a generic page allegedly offering “Customer Support.”  That generic page instructs consumers that they can get a full refund by using either the listed phone number or email address.  The BBB article states that some consumers did call and were told they would get a full refund.  But BBB urges consumers not to assume the scammers are really going to do that.

What should consumers do if they find this charge on their credit card statement?  Immediately follow the BBB’s advice as follows:

  • Call your bank or credit card company and immediately contest the charge; and
  • Cancel the credit card that was used and get a new one.

And, of course, the key starting advice is to read credit card statements carefully.