Is the $10 credit card scam on its way to the UK?
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.
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."
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.
The difference between two currencies; specifically how much one currency is worth relative to each other. For example, if £1 is worth $1.50, converting sterling to US dollars, the exchange rate is 1.5. Converting dollars to sterling at those levels, the exchange rate is 0.66, so $1 is worth 66p. There are a wide variety of factors that influence the exchange rate, such as a country’s interest rates, inflation, and the state of politics and the economy in that country.
Issued by a bank as part of a current account and, in a nutshell, serves as electronic cash. Unlike a credit or charge card, where you get an interest-free period before you have to settle the bill, the funds spent on a debit card are withdrawn immediately from your current account. Unless you’ve arranged an overdraft, if you don’t have the cash in the account, you can’t spend it.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.