Is the $10 credit card scam on its way to the UK?

Credit card

A major US consumer protection group is warning about a new scam that could see UK consumers' debit and credit cards hit with an unexplained charge of $9.84.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says the scam relies on the fact that many people do not check their credit card statements in detail.

Criminals use stolen data to charge a card with the small sum of $9.84. When victims investigate where the cash has gone, they find they have unwittingly paid a website promising a lucrative "online program".
The websites promise they will "refund 100% of your last payment", but it is not known whether they do or how many people have tried to claim.

The BBB said: "Victims report calling the ‘customer support' site and receiving verbal confirmation that the charge would be cancelled. However, don't take the scammers at their word. Contact your bank to report the charges and request a new credit card. Your card card information has been compromised, and it's likely scammers will be back for more."

Wider network

The scam was first uncovered by ex-Washington Post columnist Brian Klebs on his website, Klebs on Security. Klebs traced the scam to a wider network of operators stretching from Cyprus to India and the United Kingdom.

Klebs also found that one of the websites can be traced to a business park in Acton, north west London, meaning the scam could potentially hit UK consumers' cards.

The 'genius' idea behind it is clearly that most people will either not notice, or not bother to look into small amounts charged to their cards, netting criminals large amounts collectively.

$9.84 translates to about £5.95 at today's exchange rates. So if you see this sum or even the dollar amount charged to your credit or debit card for a service you do not think you have purchased, contact your bank immediately.

Have you been affected? Let us know below.

More about

Your Comments

Golden rule, check you statements carefully. I have an accounts program which I keep up to date and check with my statements each month.

Another scam to watch out for:
You register your account with a reputable company such as BT. Suddenly a pop-up survey request appears that seems to be offered by the reputable company.  You fill it in and are offered a token present for filling in the survey about BT.  The present only requires you to pay for p&p; i.e. a nominal amount that seems reasonable compared with the value of the freebie. You pay with your credit card and bang, you've been scammed.  The next time that you look at your credit card statement the p&p is listed as a purchase; so far so good. But somehow the scammer has also acquired details of your debit card, even though you haven't used it!  A substantial and unauthorised amount is now listed as an outgoing payment from your current bank account.
Needless to say BT are not aware of the scam via their web site. What was interesting was that the Bank's security department did pick up on the suspect web site and blocked the credit-card payment as soon as it appeared on the credit card and before the victim became aware of this part of the scam.  But they failed to pick up on the substantial sum that the scammers attempted to take out of the current bank account  -  i.e. not until the unauthorised payment was queried with them by the victim. The Bank did however provide full reimbursement which meant that they in turn blocked the payment to the scammer who failed to challenge the Bank in the 45 day period during which the scammer needed to justify the payment which, needless to say, did not happen.
The moral to this is simply never accept a so-called freebie offered on-line.  I even avoid surveys offered by reputable companies.  Anything that requests personal information is a no-no!