Starting about a month ago, rumblings began on the SlickDeals forums among people who had recently made purchases from Rakuten Shopping, the new brand name of the marketplace Buy.com. The purchases made were diverse, ranging from time clocks in Colombia to newspaper subscriptions in Cleveland to plane tickets in Germany. Something is very, very wrong here: hundreds of victims from recent months have come forward on Slickdeals alone.
Rakuten Shopping is a sort of online mall: the site allows other vendors to set up their own “marketplace” stores and sell items. Users have reported fraudulent credit card transactions after purchases from a variety of marketplace vendors.
Rakuten staff reach out to complainers on Facebook and even on the deal forums, asking victims to call in order to straighten things out. If they have a solution in progress, Rakuten has not let customers know, including victims. While talking too much about it publicly might compromise the investigations, victims are unhappy that the only thing they’ve heard from the company is “call us!” to people whose cards have been breached.
Apart from the threads on the subject on shopping sites, victims have started their own site, the appropriately-titled RakutenFraud.com.
If having fraudsters make purchases for up to $10,000 on your credit cards isn’t scary enough, the Newark Star-Ledger reports that some victims had new accounts opened up using personal information––their birthdates and Social Security numbers––that you don’t need to provide to Rakuten as part of a purchase.
If you’re a victim, what should you do? Contact your credit card company and your local police, of course. You should also contact the merchant where your card was used: after all, they’re a victim too.