Check your credit card bills!
Just a quick note to alert readers to a scam that’s evidently been around for a while.
In reviewing my credit card charges for the week I was gone, I found a charge for $2.56 from “#eastcoastmobilestyle.” The name was not familiar to me, so I called the phone number on the charge record, which appeared in the memo field of Quicken’s register when I downloaded my transactions: 912-289-0124. I got a recording with a female voice that sounded Asian. She said they could not provide support and that I should e-mail a support address. I left a message and kept digging, trying to find out what I’d supposedly bought from this company.
I wound up on a Web site called 800Notes where people evidently log the phone numbers of suspicious calls. There was a page dedicated to this number that mentioned East Coast Mobile. There were three pages of comments. In each case, the commenter had received a phone call from this company and a charge for $2.56, $4.56, or $6.56 had appeared on their credit card bill. I checked my new phone’s call log and did not see any calls from that number. However, I’d purchased my phone just the day before and had used the same credit card to make the purchase.
This certainly appears to be a scam. They get your credit card info and process a tiny charge. Most people would ignore a charge like that — after all, it could be for a ring tone or some other minor cellphone related service. But other people — like me, I guess — know who they buy from. I did not buy anything from this company.
I called the fraud department at my credit card company. They reversed the charge and cancelled that credit card account. I’ll get a new credit card later this week.
My advice to everyone reading this: always check your credit card bills for unknown charges. Follow up on the ones you don’t recognize — no matter how large or small they are. If this company places tiny charges like this on 100,000 cards, they can make a quarter of a million dollars in no time. They can also repeat the process for other charges — including larger ones — or sell your credit card information to scammers.
Please spread the word about this to the folks you know.
June 2, 2009 Update: In just a month, this has become one of the most popular posts on this blog. It consistently gets more than 50 hits per day. This is telling me that the fraud is extremely widespread.
Imagine that only 1% of the people who are fraudulently charged by East Coast Mobile Style find their way to this blog post. That means 5000 or more people per day are being charged. Even if the fee is the low number of $2.56, that’s well over $10,000 of fraudulent charges per day!
PLEASE spread the word about this fraud to the people you know. We need to stop credit card fraud any way we can. Always check every item on your credit card bill, no matter how small. I know it’s a pain in the butt to cancel a credit card, but if your has been compromised, that’s the only solution.