Re: Mysterious credit card charge may have hit millions of users [Telecom]

|CONSUMER ALERT |Mysterious credit card charge may have hit millions of users | |By Mitch Lipka, Globe Correspondent | January 11, 2009 |The Boston Globe | |Several Internet complaint boards are filled with comments from |credit card customers from coast to coast who have noticed a |mysterious charge for about 25 cents on their statements. | |The charge shows up on statements as coming from "Adele Services" in |Melville, N.Y. There is no business by that name listed in Melville, |or registered to any business anywhere in New York, for that matter.

This is silly. The banks know where the money is going. Why make it seem like a mystery?

|Two theories of what is going on have advanced on message boards and |among consumer advocates: Someone is trying to find out whether an |illegally obtained credit card number will work before making a |bigger charge, or they're trying to rip off tiny amounts from tons of |people.

If the latter then the perpetrators would need to get the money out of whatever account is associated with their merchant service. Why aren't the banks scrutinizing that account and its owner?

|The latter theory has more credibility at the moment. The Better |Business Bureau in Louisville reports that, at least so far, those |who have been hit with the small charge have yet to get slammed with |a bigger charge. The bureau speculates that the number of possible |victims could be in the millions.

Speculates? Can't they get someone to actually investigate?


|***** Moderator's Note ***** | |The first wave has started: after this, the deluge. The banking system |we all depend on is, as I have said before, totally incapable of |verifying customer or merchant identities without face-to-face |meetings.

Banks have little financial incentive to verify business customers. In a successful scam the bank gets its cut. If a charge is disputed (and the consumer prevails) the bank gets a dispute fee. As many people like to summarize the Uniform Commercial Code: the bank wins.

Dan Lanciani ddl@danlan.*com

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Dan Lanciani
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You know, the transaction fees and whatnot generally add up to about 25 to 30 cents per transaction.

Seems to me like Adele Services would be losing money on every transaction, unless they got some sweetheart deal from their card processor, and even then it would be only a couple of cents per. Now, if someone has figured a way to inject small charges into the system and not get charged the processing fees I'll bet the credit card companies will be all over them in a big hurry. The return of the salami slice . . .

Bill Ranck Blacksburg, Va.

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