Fraud Alert: East Coast Mobile Style

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.

Good luck!

32 thoughts on “Fraud Alert: East Coast Mobile Style

  1. Thanks very much for putting this out on the net. The exact same thing just happened to us and it would have

    taken us forever to figure it out if your article hadn’t been out there.

    We too have had to cancel our card, but our stupid credit card company fraud department is making us ‘dispute’ the charge.

    I can find the info so easily on the internet, but the so called Fraud Dept. knows nothing about it and won’t look at the

    information on the net to verify it. I couldn’t believe it.

    Sandy in Corrales, N.M.

    • One of the reasons I document my scam attempt experiences is to help others realize that these are scams. The Web site that listed the phone numbers was the best resource for me. I was fortunate. My bank (Bank of America) has evidently seen this problem before. They immediately reversed the charge and canceled my account. It’s VITAL that you close the account, by the way, or it will happen again. It’s also import to dispute the charge so the offending company gets chargebacks. If enough people dispute, they’ll lose their merchant account. While they’ll probably just get another one quickly enough, it could discourage them if it happens enough.

      Glad I was able to help you. Hope I can help others, too.

  2. Thanks so much for publishing the information. It seemed like such a small smount, $6.56, however, I’m glad that I followed thru and found that there was a Fraud Alert attached to the transcation. Always inconvenient to have to cancel a credit card and dispute the transcation, but feel it is very important to make it difficult for these merchants. Unfornunately, my credit card company had not heard of this yet.

  3. Keep up the monitoring. Just got the charge on my card. Will be at the bank in the morning. I’ll cancel the card & move on.

  4. many thanks for this helpful information. This just happened to me and you saved me a ton of time with already doing the digging on what this was all about.

  5. Thank You for this info. I just seen the charge on a card that I have not used in over a month. They are issuing me a new card and taking the charge off. I have one question though. How did they get my credit card information?

    • Tina: My guess is that they have access to certain vendors’ credit card records. Tell me, do you have a Verizon cell phone? The charge appeared on my credit card bill the day after buying a new cell phone at Verizon. Given the nature of this scammer’s name — East Coast Mobile Style — I think they might hope that people assume the charge is related to their cell phone.

      If you (or anyone else reading this) have used the card at a Verizon Wireless store, let us know here. Who knows? This might be valuable information to pass on to Verizon to close up a security leak.

  6. I just had this show up on my debit card account from 5/23/09. Thank you for posting this, I will despute the charge!

  7. Thank you for this post. I was verifying activity in our account and it is showing as a pending charge of $4.56 to clear tonight. Thanks to your link, I quickly contacted our bank only to be advised that we have to “wait” until the charge clears and then dispute the claim in addition to canceling our card and requesting a new account. You would think the bank would place a halt on this activity at once to investigate the company instead of waiting for more charges to go through. Regardless, if I hadn’t researched this on the web, we probably would have let this go thinking it was something we had “forgotten” to post. But instead, it will continue to be on my mind thinking WHAT NEXT? If they can charge such a small amount now, what’s stopping them from posting a larger amount later? We do not use our card for anything to do with Verizon though. Any other ideas as to where they may have obtained this information? Thanks Again!

    • That must have been a Chase credit card. They tried that crap with me, too. You can cancel the card immediately; they cannot stop you. And they should allow you to reject the amount. Call back. Maybe you’ll get a human who speaks English on the phone. If not, ask for a supervisor. Be firm. Tell them this is fraud, that you’ve seen it reported in numerous places on the Internet, and you want it off your account now. Good luck.

  8. Actually the reason why your cc company makes you wait is becasue Visa, Mastercard and American express need the charge to post inorder for them to do anything about ti so in actuality it is the CC Brands no the bank you should be mad at. and the reason why some banks are quick to reverse the charge is only becaseu it is a small dollar amount, not becasue that is their normal policy regarding fradulant charges.

    • In my case, the charge had posted but for some reason, they were waiting for the scammer to refund it. Not likely when it was a scam. When I spoke FIRMLY to a supervisor, they saw the light.

      BofA didn’t give me any excuses. They immediately reversed this charge and canceled the card. I had a new card in my hand in three days.

      A good credit card company will ALWAYS immediately reverse a fraudulent charge. If they don’t you should destroy the credit card, close the account, and get a credit card with a reputable company that protects you against fraud.

  9. I was charge also for 4.56 and never purchase anything from this company now I have to call my bank and try and get them to reverse this charge and this is so much a problem but it is worth to remove the charge.

  10. thank you for the posting. this just happened to me on friday may 22. went to the bank this afternoon and closed the account, and ordered a new card. my bank was very helpful, as was visa. my charge was also for $ 4.56.

  11. Thanks so much. I was charged $4.56 that I did not authorize. I am on hold with Bank of America now. They had to get my visa check card # from a gas station on my way to Myrtle Beach.

  12. Hey

    I just want to Thank you I just went through my checking Acct. and sure enough a $6.56 charge to eastcoastmobilestyle was there. I called my wife who is on a business trip asking if she made the charge she told me “no” so I called the bank. While on hold I did a search and this warning came up. I told the bank it was a scam they said someone in the fraud department will be in contact with me within 5 business days and that the charge would be reversed within the same amount of time. Thank God I have money and not down to the penny that would have cost “overdraft fees” you know. I did have them cancel my card. Thanks Again for posting this!!!! It is people like you who help and only we can stop the fraud!.

  13. I just notice that I was charged $4.56 and I have not purchased anything from this company. I will be calling the bank to see about having charged removed and the company investigated.

  14. I was charged $6.56 on my credit card and cancelled the card immediately. The credit union representative called the 912 number and also did a Google search for eastcoastmobile style.net with me and found this web site which verified the fraud. Thanks for posting this alert.

  15. I was also charged $4.56 on my Visa debit card. I called the number, listed to the Asian woman’s message, then Googled “East Coast Mobile Style”. That’s how I found this website. I just got off the phone with a rep from Navy Federal Credit Union. He’s closed my debit card, filed my fraud claim, and is issuing me a new card. Thanks for the info!

  16. I just caught on my account that $4.56 went through which would have caused an overdraft on my account 06/09. I knew it wasn’t something I had done because I only had something like $2.97 in there & wasn’t using that account for ANYTHING because I knew it had a low balance. Bank is having me file fraudulent use of card/unauthorized transaction. It shows up as “Visa DB Checkcard Point of Sale East Coast Mobilestyle Savannah GA”. I really *do* wish they could catch up with whoever is doing this & nail them big time.

  17. I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on-line (www.ftc.gov). Suggest all do the same and hopefully this will shut East coast Mobile Style down and maybe lead to prosecution.

  18. This showed up on my latest statement EASTCOASTMOBILESTYLE 912-289-0124 with a charge of $6.56

    I can’t believe this hasn’t been shutdown, gives one great confidence in our financial institutions and government. My bank had never heard of it and I too had to write a letter to dispute the charges even though it can be verified in five seconds with a search on the internet.

    These theives are making out with millions of dollars and it’s frustrating as hell. One would think with todays technology, our goverment and financial institutions could counter this long term fraud and prevent us from all frustration, inconveniences and loses.

    Maine

  19. Just happened to check our Visa account last week. Had a charge for $2.56. Called our credit card on Monday to report the disputed charge. Another charge, again, for $2.56 hit our account the same day. Our card is already canceled, and new ones on the way to us. ALWAYS check your account and make sure you recognize charges. Crooks fish all the time, and if they get a hit, and you don’t pay attention, they’ll keep going until you stop them!

  20. Thanks for all of the valuable information. I 1st noticed the charge of $5.65 on my card 4-30-09. I cancelled my card, got a new one, but I am filing fraud charges even tho it is for such a trivial amount.. A pain, as I have to have papers signed in front of a Notary Public, but feel it is worth the effort to stop this crook!

  21. You were asking if the card that was charged the fraudulent amount was previously used at Verizon. I can state that my card was. I don’t know if this information will help, but I’d like to see these people go down! How is it that these people are getting away with it? Wouldn’t the CC companies be going after them with so many charges reversed?

    • Guy: It could be a coincidence. No one else has stepped forward to say that they are Verizon customers. How are they getting away with it? The charges are tiny and likely too small for a bank to bother going after them. They’re making money in volume, by charging thousands of people a tiny amount that they’re not likely to bother questioning. Everyone has a mobile phone these days. A charge from a company with the word “mobile” in its name seems reasonable. Simply said: they’re getting away with it because people are LAZY and don’t do a proper job of managing their credit card accounts. Spread the word as much as you can. Get people to question and reverse this charge. Hopefully, we’ll strike back with chargeback fees.

  22. Thanks for the information.

    I live in Japan now, and had a charge 645JPY (6.56USD) to my credit card.

    Fortunately I could notice it immediately because it was very strange name and fee in USD on my bill sheet taht written in Japanese.

    I called my credit card company (Japanese one), they do not know about it.

    I told them this blog .

    I wonder how they got my credit card number… if they got the numbers thru the internet shopping, the fraud is now widespread not only in the States but also other regions.

  23. My experience is the same as above. My card company is disputing the charge and I have reported the card number as stolen. I have also filed a Consumer Fraud complaint with my state attorny general. I also found thru the Better Business Bureau that this company is out of San Diego and their website is http://www.eastcoastmobilestyle.biz You will note that if you look at their products–all their products are equal to the charges we have all been billed. i.e. $2.56, $4.56, and $6.56. Spread the word!

  24. I have not been victimized by East Coast Mobile Style, but my daughter was, so I’ve been checking this out. As a recent Comment notes,the Better Business Bureau system links the phone number to an unknown street address in San Diego, CA, which is odd since it’s a Georgia area code (elsewhere Savannah is mentioned as a site for this business). But the BBB system shows not a single complaint. In order to get this scam shut down, I suggest that people who are victimized file complaints with the BBB and with the Attorneys General offices not only in their own state but also in GA and CA.

  25. Looks like South Africa has joined the club. I was going over my credit card statement and found the $6.56 amount stolen by these people.Have reported it to the fraud section of my bank and they don’t seem to be too worried about it and have never heard of them before. I will be changing my card.

What do you think?