This particular scam has been around for ten years, but with the increased hacking of credit card information from major retailers such as Target, the scam has been increasing in frequency. The scam starts when your credit card number is compromised and falls into the hands of an identity thief. Although this can happen in a myriad of ways, one of the more common ways is that the people who hack large numbers of credit card numbers from companies such as Target, sell the numbers to identity thieves on black market websites. Some identity thieves will buy thousands of credit card numbers and then set up phony online businesses from which they make monthly charges on the cards in small amounts, such as $9.84. Why, you might ask do they use this number? Many people do not scrutinize their monthly credit card statement sufficiently, particularly when the charge is an innocuous, small amount that is less than ten dollars and appears to be made to a legitimate sounding company thus enabling the scam to continue for great periods of time before it is discovered. This scam has been a particular favorite of identity thieves in Cyprus, the UK and India who have gone to great effort to create websites for phony, but legitimate looking companies from which these charges are made.
In a famous quote attributed to a number of early American Revolutionary leaders including Thomas Jefferson, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” That quote is certainly applicable to life today in regard to avoiding scams and identity theft. It is important to review your credit card statements, bank statements and other account records carefully each month and even more often, online. Identifying any irregularities or improper activities and reporting them immediately is a good way to protect yourself from serious identity theft.