The $9.84 Credit Card Scam

Image: Hugo Felix/Shutterstock

If you've got a suspicious charge of $9.84 on your credit card, be wary: it's probably a scam.

In this consumer forum post, dozens of Amazon customers are reporting fraudulent charges of $9.84 from a, which has been linked to various online education websites. The incident, however, doesn't seem to be limited to Amazon as there's a report from another source describing the same charges being made elsewhere.

The Better Business Bureau reported that scammers are charging small amounts of money on stolen credit cards, believing that many cardholders probably won't scrutinize their bill and notice such a small charge:

The source listed on your bill is an unfamiliar website. You check out the web address, and it's not the business website. It's a generic landing page that claims to offer "Customer Support." The text promises to "refund 100% of your last payment" and provides a phone number and email address. 

Victims that called the number reported that they received verbal confirmation that their credit card charges would be reversed. But affected cardholders are advised to report the charges to their banks and cancel the card. "It's likely the scammers will be back for more," the BBB warned (and it's likely that they'll change the charge from $9.84 to some other small amount).

In his blog Krebs on Security, Brian Krebs tracked down the companies associated with the $9.84 credit card scam to various entities registered in the United Kingdom, India, and Cyprus.

The scam doesn't appear to be related to the recent hacking incident that hit retail giant Target. Krebs wrote:

If I had to hazard a charitable guess about what is going on here, I would say some ambitious “affiliates” associated with these moneymaking schemes were abusing the system and pushing through charges on stolen credit cards. But it is difficult to escape the conclusion that this is little more than an elaborate (and probably successful) scam set up to steal little bits of money from lots and lots of people.

By the way, this is not a new type of fraud, nor is this particular fraud a recent occurrence — although the bogus $9.84 charges do appear to have spiked around the holidays. Most of the domains involved in this scheme were registered a year ago or more, and a quick search on the amount $9.84 shows that the fraudsters responsible for this scheme have been at it since at least the first half of 2013.

Moral of the story: read your credit card statement carefully.

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