Visa Cuts Off Payments To Unrepentant Scammers

That “local mom” trying to sell you her secret formulas for weight loss and tooth whitening in Internet ads may need to find a new job. Visa cut off payments to 100 merchants. The culled companies were the fine folks behind the “free sample” negative-option scams that Consumerist has written about extensively in the past.

The Associated Press shares the good news:

Visa told The Associated Press that about 100 merchants had their payment processing terminated because of chronic complaints since early summer. The scam is so common, the San Francisco payment processor is teaming up with the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau to alert consumers.

Most of the time, the swindlers use Internet ads to lure their customers. The ads often feature unauthorized photos of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Rachel Ray, implying endorsements for supplements like acai berries or teeth whiteners.

Newer variations take advantage of the recession with work-at-home scams, or con people into seeking information about applying for government grants linked to economic stimulus programs.

Well, that’s a start toward driving these scams from the face of the earth.

Visa cuts off 100 merchants for scamming consumers [AP] (Thanks, Kristin!)


Easy Weight Loss And Free Cash: A Dubious Product Online Marketing Empire Revealed
Oprah’s Dr. Oz Sues Resveratrol Anti-Aging Scam Companies
Acai Berry Drink Company Agrees To Give $350k Back To Bilked Customers
Careful, Those Free Acai Products Might Come Attached To A Delicious Scam


Edit Your Comment

  1. Alvarez says:

    I like it. Hit them where it hurts, by cutting off their source of income. Good riddance.

  2. Cat_In_A_Hat says:

    Amazeballs. I never thought I’d see the day when a cc company does something to protect the consumer (since IMO they are usually the one doing the scamming). Good job Visa.

    • Mr_D says:

      Don’t worry, it’s just the processor, not the issuing bank. They’re still their old slimy selves.

    • madanthony says:

      Presumably, people are probably filing chargebacks once they get hit with the bills for the stuff, which is costing Visa money. It’s not unusual for credit-card companies to drop merchants that have an unusually high chargeback ratio.

    • dadelus says:

      Crooks don’t like it when other crooks horn in on their territoy.

  3. MercuryPDX says:

    I think it’s a great first step.

  4. H3ion says:

    Good work Visa. Now clean up your own act by policing the banks that issue your cards with phony interest rate offers and variable credit limits that depend on how the issuer feels that day.

  5. Julia789 says:

    I saw a news clip about a woman who fell for one of those “stimulus money” scams. She was not the brightest bulb.

    She filled out some bogus application form on a website that says all American citizens are entitled to stimulus money payouts. She received an email back saying that she qualified for $100,000 in free stimulus money, never needing to be repaid. All she had to do was give them the $2,000 processing fee. So she sends the scammers the money (which she borrowed from a family member who believed her) and then immediately hired contractors to do tens of thousands of dollars in renovations on her sad little house. She had a new kitchen put in with granite counter tops, had new siding put on her house, and a new roof. She bought all new furniture, appliances etc. on credit while the contractors were expecting to be paid at the end of the work.

    Now she’s on the news saying that the contractors are going to take her to court for not paying them, but it’s “not her fault” because she had an email saying the stimulus check was in the mail. She wants the scammers to pay for her purchases and home renovations.

    I think the scammers should be jailed for scamming, but the lady should have to pay for her own purchases and renovations because you never go into a project like that before actually having the money for it or a legitimate loan in place.

  6. duxup says:

    Kudos to Visa.

  7. frari489 says:

    while VISA is doing the right thing, I’m thinking it’s because they are losing money on all the complaints and charge backs, not because they have suddenly become ethical.

    /just being cynical

    • ecwis says:

      That cynical answer is probably correct. I know that American Express has different stages depending on the amount of chargebacks. Once a merchant receives too many chargebacks, AMEX takes away their right to dispute chargebacks. Once they receive even more chargebacks, they take away their merchant agreement completely so they can no longer accept AMEX. Visa may have a similar policy.

    • mac-phisto says:

      except visa doesn’t lose money on chargebacks. in fact, they charge both the merchant & the issuer to do them.

  8. jpdanzig says:

    Good for Visa! It’s about time someone took down these charlatans…

  9. cortana says:

    Maybe they’ll hit VideoProfessor and WebLoyalty next. I’d like that.

  10. james_henry1234 says:

    I wish I would have read this government grants scams article before I bought one of these online services. Never pay $1.99 for a grant / scholarship service because they will just rebill you $40 every month, forever!