| July 12, 2010

FTC: Be on the lookout for small fraudulent charges

The Federal Trade Commission recently alerted consumers to a fraud ring that bilked a large amount of people out of small amounts of money that ranged between 20 cents and $10, and now they’re issuing a new warning for Americans.

According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, the FTC is now telling consumers that credit card charges they don’t recognize, no matter how small, might be indicative of a larger criminal enterprise. Despite stealing from over a million consumers, these criminals got away with their crimes for four years because the charges were so small people either didn’t notice them or didn’t bother disputing the charges. Despite the number of people who got ripped off, only 1,000 have filed a complaint with the FTC over the charges.

A report from the San Francisco Chronicle said that the scammers stole the money by setting up over 100 fake businesses with names that were not easily identifiable, and charged them to credit card numbers they likely purchased on the black market. They were successful not only because consumers didn’t notice it, but also because credit card agencies’ fraud detection systems don’t notice charges under $10.

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