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Credit card fraud ring
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Security & privacy

Saw a strange charge on your credit card? This massive crime ring might be responsible

How often do you go over your credit card or banking statements? If you don’t do it regularly, there is a chance that you’ll miss some suspicious transactions. It might not be enough to trigger a warning, but repeated charges can amount to a large sum. Tap or click here for 10 accounts more valuable than your credit card.

Checking your financial statements is more important than ever. A cybersecurity research team found a global credit card scam stealing millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims.

Read on to find out how the scam works and what to look for.

Here’s the backstory

Scammers are incredibly crafty. Some rely on you to click on a malicious link and enter your details, while others try to convince you to buy fake antivirus software. But not all scammers deal directly with victims.

Cybersecurity company ReasonLabs uncovered a devious scam where the victims don’t have to do anything and won’t know about the fraud until they check their credit card statements. The scam is so simple that it’s netting criminals millions of dollars.

First, the scammers create several fake dating and customer support websites that members aren’t actually using. Here’s what’s really happening.

Criminals incorporate legitimate payment processes onto the fake websites they create. Then, they buy stolen credit cards from the Dark Web. The average cost for a stolen credit card is only $10, so criminals make their money back in no time.

Finally, criminals use stolen card details to charge subscriptions and services through the phony websites. It’s effective as they don’t have to rely on someone clicking a link or visiting bogus websites.

ReasonLabs said in a blog post that it believes a crime syndicate is running the scam and originates in Russia.

What you can do about it

You must regularly carefully review your credit card statements and pay close attention to small amounts with generic names. According to the research team, scammers use several financial and e-commerce tricks to avoid anti-fraud detection. Here are a few of their tricks:

  • They charge recurring payments that tend to be less suspicious.
  • Authorize a relatively small amount, similar to any other subscription service.
  • Use generic names so victims won’t be aware of what this charge is concerning.

They also use a sneaky trick to seem legitimate. If you go to a generic website shown on your credit card statement, there is a button to request subscription cancelation.

If you click the cancelation button, the thieves will cancel the subscription to lower the chargeback rate. This keeps the scam under the radar of payment processing companies and banks.

It’s essential to check your bank statements regularly and if you see anything suspicious, report it to your bank ASAP.

Keep reading

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