Credit Card Fraud

August 8th, 2005

Just a quick note for everyone to take a minute and check out their credit card statements (especially Mastercard) for really suspicious but small charges from strange stores in foreign countries. You might be especially vulnerable if your Mastercard doubles up as a Debit Card and/or an ATM card (since you have opened more than one way of accessing funds through your card number).

I know that I have not used the card in question in over two years and have not used it online for years. I saw a lone charge on it this month for $12.38 from England (an import export company) which caught me off gaurd. I have since cancelled my card, removed online access to the account and frozen all transactions.

Better safe than sorry. We might see more of these fraudulent transactions once the stolen/lost lists make their rounds around the world.

PS: I would like to hear your story. If you check your account due to this post and find something unusual, please do me (and others) a favor and come back to leave a comment. It might remind others to do the same.




  1. JuanManuel says:

    Do a chargeback.

  2. Ensellitis (4 comments.) says:

    I had this problem about 2 years ago. I was in Italy and bought some stuff from this small little store in Venice, 2 weeks later I got my balance, and instead of the $125 I paid, there was about $600 charged… And it wasn’t from Italy, it was from Spain and Germany… Took me months to get the money back, apparently the place in Italy either didn’t have a very secure system, or they stole my numbers. That is why since then I never let that card out of sight, and I only buy from companies I know online, and only if it is a secure server.

    And be sure to check with your bank/credit card issuer to see if you can get any protection from this, especially if you buy online or are going abroad, it may seem like a pain, but better then losing your money…

  3. Teli (24 comments.) says:

    I had a similar problem around Christmas time last year, however, I learned that there are a number of ways scammers can grab hold of your credit card – to include ‘mail skimming’ (learned that through a merchant as I was doing my charge backs).

    Also, there is a notice on spyware info regarding a massive security breach – so your advice should apply to more than just the Mastercard users – it’s anyone with a PC who may have been infected with a particularly nasty variant of CoolWebSearch

  4. Evernight (2 comments.) says:

    Its happened to me before, twice – bank charges from overseas. It wasn’t small though, but luckily the bank phoned me while it was going on and sorted it all out…

  5. kelvin (1 comments.) says:

    I have a weird transaction from China about RMB450. I have been living in China for 2 years and been using my visa a lot. This maybe how they got hold of my card number. I refused the payment and demanded hsbc to check into (I never been to that city that the transaction occured). After 2 months of queries, hsbc told me they fix the problem. Thanks god for that.

  6. kristin (3 comments.) says:

    I posted something about this on my site a while ago.

    Since then there has been over 650 comments about other people being scammed. I’m sure there are many people who don’t even notice the charge because it is so small.

  7. Jonathan (83 comments.) says:

    Good call Mark, thanks for the heads up. I barely use my Mastercard, but I’ll keep an extra watchful eye on it ;)

  8. Nate (1 comments.) says:

    Yah… I use my Mastercard quite abit online… so… I will do my best to keep adaware running overtime, among other thing… thanks man.

  9. keku24 (1 comments.) says:

    That’s why I cancelled my scb master card, but it happened to me while I was confident to use visa. :(

  10. Nils (3 comments.) says:

    It does beg the question: If you haven’t used the card in 2 years, why didn’t you cancel it long ago? :-)

  11. Jonathan (12 comments.) says:

    I personally cancel all cards I’m not using and I pay very close attention to all transactions, no matter how small they are.

  12. Alex (1 comments.) says:

    I had the same thing happen to my master card a couple of years ago! Do you know why it happens to this card more than, say visa or amex?

  13. Betsy says:

    I had an over draft charge sent to my house today on an account that has barely been used the last couple months, because there has only been a small amount of money in the account. The charge was $156.55 from something like hong kong europe, along with a fee for a foreign currency transfer. It was a visa debit card. The bank is turning it over to the fraud center, and the card has been canceled. This is rather distrubing to me, I have been a victim of identity theft in the past. I was just researching to try and find out how this happened.

  14. kristin (3 comments.) says:

    it has nothing to do with Mastercard. Many of the people who posted about it on my blog were charged to their Visa card accounts.

    ** I will add that nobody on my site who got scammed by this used Amex or Discover, which IMO… has way better flagging when it comes to fraudulant charges. I never use anything except for my Amex anymore and have had no problems yet.

  15. AJ Vetere says:

    Did you know that even though you cancel, a Visa debit card it can still be charged! Neither did I! I cancelled my Visa debit card linked directly to my checking account at B.O.A. in April 2004, a fraudulent charge hit my account August 11, 2005! Having trouble getting them to delete the cards existence- frustrated and angry- any advise?

  16. Sharon says:

    I have a different kind of possibly fraud or just unethical credit card company. I probably should not have used one I didn’t recognize, but 0% for a year even on a variable sounded great. I had one credit card that refused to lower my interest and it is the highest one I have so I transferred funds to this new one over the telephone. I always tell them to keep it way under what they will give me. This one did have a 3% transfer fee, max of 75.00. The name of the credit card is RBS. You can probably guess that they put me over the credit limit with the 3% charge. I got the bill only two weeks after ordering this card. That is unusually fast too.
    I did call to complain without receiving any satisfaction. I talked with the supervisor too. She said “I will put it in the complaint dept.”. Yeah that is probably the trash can. I gave them two weeks to make this right. I will transfer the funds to another credit card or perhaps back to the same one I transferred from but this will cost me probably about 150 dollars. Hopefully they are not crooked, just bordering on unethical, otherwise I may have a bigger problem than 150 dollars. I want to warn others to be very careful of credit cards you do not recognize. This one is called RBS.

  17. SOmeone says:

    I had a similar experience with dishonest customer service with RBS, who tried to charge me 560% APR interest on a $4 balance; the balance should actually have been a credit because of a charge I disputed. They had post-dated the dispute past the statement due date (I had disputed it 10 days prior to the due date) just to skim a little money ($2!) off it, and the customer service rep was quite hostile. I canceled the card in disgust.

    The disputed charge was an $11 charge from Germany for some magazine I’ve never heard of and is obviously fraudulent. The fact that they’re giving me such grief over it is telling.

    Dave Ramsey is right. These people are snakes, pure and simple.

  18. Dave G says:

    I was in Florida\Georgia and somehow someone got my account number off my ATM card and tried to wire $1000.00 to Lebanon through Western Union. I luckily found this out and quickly closed my account and stopped all transactions, filed a police report and so on. Be careful where you stick your cards!!! And pay close attention to your accounts!!!

  19. Martin says:

    RBS got me too when i applied for a 0% credit card. They gave me a limit of less than what i asked for and the fee put me “over” this limit before i even got the card . What a rip off! Anyone else out there been victimized by these thieves?

  20. Think-CreditCards (1 comments.) says:

    You’d be amazed at the number of times i’ve heard this story! Consumers really cant be careful enough these days. At least the card providers seem to be getting their act together with prevention techniques and early notifications.

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