Watch Out For Tiny Fraudulent Charges On Your Accounts

The new hot fraud these days involves something that kinda sounds like it belongs in Superman III, but is new and different. Scamsters make tiny charges to tons and tons of accounts, hoping that the account holders won’t notice a charge for less than $10. And often they don’t.

From the FTC:

More than a million consumers were hit with one-time charges of $10 or less, and their payments were routed through dummy corporations in the United States to bank accounts in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The defendants, using phony company names resembling real companies, and information taken from identity theft victims in the United States, opened more than 100 merchant accounts with companies that process charges to consumers’ credit and debit card accounts, according to the FTC complaint. The FTC believes the defendants may have run credit checks on the identity theft victims first, to be sure they were creditworthy. The defendants also cloaked each fake merchant with a virtual office address near a real merchant’s location, a phone number, a home phone number for the “owner,” a Web site pretending to sell products, a toll-free number consumers could call, and a real company’s tax number found on the Internet.

FTC Obtains Court Order Halting International Scheme Responsible For More Than $10 Million In Unauthorized Charges On Consumers’ Credit and Debit Cards [FTC]