Have you seen a suspicious charge for $9.84, $10.37, or $12.96 on your credit or debit card recently? If so, you’re not alone.
In the past, I’ve told you about a criminal ring based in suburban Los Angeles that went to a bank and bought the credit card numbers of 2 million customers. The crooks put small charges of less than $10 on all the cards month after month. Eventually, they stole hundred of millions of dollars.
Only 7% of people ever noticed the bogus charges. We talk about balancing our checkbooks and carefully vetting our credit card statements, but apparently it’s just lip service.
And now in what’s shaping up to be a similar scenario, people around the country are reporting mysterious charges from an entity called BLS WebLearn, according to Consumerist.
No one quite knows what is behind the latest most common charges of $10.37, or $12.96, but Consumerist thinks they may be linked to a previous flurry of scam charges for $9.84.
The most-likely theory is that these nominal amounts are being run to see if a credit card is active. If the charge goes through, the criminals know they can later hit those cards for larger charges.
Years ago this happened to me with my Diner’s Club card, which I used in Budapest during a staff dinner. Some crooks obviously got the card number at the restaurant because within hours a duplicate card was made and being used in Italy! The fraud division at Diner’s Club noticed I couldn’t possibly have been in Budapest and then Rome just a few hours later and they promptly shut the card number down.
The takeaway for you is that you’ve got to go through your credit card statement line item by line item. You must dispute any unrecognized charges — even if it is for only $9 or $10 and change! Because the issue is not the 10 bucks; it’s that a criminal may have your credit card number.
For further reading: