See a $9.84 Charge on Your Credit Card Bill? You've Been Scammed!

Elderly man using magnifying glass to read
Most credit card users know that it's important to check monthly statements for suspicious charges. Obviously, large sums that you never charged should be reported and generally can be removed. But how often do you just skip over smaller charges? You know, the ones that are labeled with odd company or personal names like you get when you buy an item using PayPal?

It's hard to remember every small purchase we make. But there's a new Better Business Bureau warning that is very specific. It is telling consumers to look on their credit card statements for a charge of $9.84. It turns out that there are gobs of these charges popping up, and they're most often evidence that you've been scammed.

What's Going On

Behind this widespread fraud are scammers who have gotten their hands on lots of people's credit card numbers. (Such thefts happen all the time -- Target (TGT) was recently and famously a major corporate victim, but it's far from alone.)

In cases like these, thieves often don't use the accounts to charge hefty sums. They don't have to. In fact, when charges are much smaller, they often go unnoticed -- and even if we notice an odd one, we might not bother to investigate or complain. That gives the scammers more time to bilk consumers before they're found out. And small charges adds up: A $10 charge on a million accounts is $10 million.

In the case of this widespread $9.84 charge, check the company or name associated with it. Often, it'll be "EETSAC.COM." And if you contact the company, you might be assured that the charge will be refunded. Then again, that might not happen.

What to Do

If you see such a charge on your credit card statement, contact the issuing bank immediately. Report the charge, ask that it be removed, have the card canceled, and request a new card.

As the BBB points out, "In the United States and Canada if your credit card is lost, stolen, or used without your permission, you may be responsible for up to $50. If you report the loss before the card is used, you're not responsible for any unauthorized charges. In addition, many cardholders are protected by zero liability policies set in place by credit card companies."

You might also want to change some of your money-management habits. For instance, favor credit cards over debit cards, because regulations protecting you against fraud are stronger for credit cards than debit cards. If you often buy things online or over the phone, handing out your credit card number in the process, be selective in whom you do business with. The FBI offers even more tips on avoiding credit card fraud.

Other Scams

This is just one of many scams perpetrated upon a trusting public. Another recent one involves people getting "robocalled" by computers, offering interest rate reductions on credit cards -- for a fee.

Those who fall for this come-on call a different number and end up talking to a human who asks for their credit card number, among other things. They're then charged as much as $700 or more by the scammers. Ironically, the con artists are providing a "service" that anyone can do for themselves: You can always call your credit card company to request a lower rate, and depending on your history with them, you might even get it.

Yet another scam is being used by criminals who have already gotten hold of your credit card number. They call you, pretending to be employed by the credit card company, and warn about some suspicious activity on your card. They'll read you your number, and then ask if you are in possession of your card. When you say you are, they'll ask you to confirm the three-digit security number on the back, which they don't have. (Your real credit card company would already know this number.) Once you read it to them, they've got it, and they'll tell you it's correct. Now, they can use your number anywhere.

Keep in Mind

There are lots of scams being used, and new ones popping up all the time. Skepticism and suspicion can serve us all well. Regarding the $9.84 charge, though, keep the following things in mind:
  • It could be legitimate! You might actually have charged a sandwich at an airport, for example, that cost $9.84.
  • The spurious charge might be for a different amount. Now that some folks are on the lookout for $9.84 charges, some scammers will start charging a different small sum designed to evade notice.
  • And on the bright side, credit card companies hate these scams too, and once they spot patterns, they often take steps to prevent damage to customers and their own accounts.
The bottom line, though, is that we all need to be wary when dealing with credit -- and debit -- cards.

Motley Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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now thats clever

January 30 2014 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ain\'t technology great! Pay CASH!

January 30 2014 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Watch for calls from area codes 809, 976, 284, 473 where many of these calls are coming from which they conveniently failed to include in the article. But, be aware, they could come from others.

January 30 2014 at 2:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I was scammed with my cell phone for 10 bucks.. kept getting a stupid you won a cruise text and at the bottom it said to text stop to stop receiving the texts. what it didn't say is that by texting stop you will be charged a 10 dollar fee... Verizon told me I had to pay the fee because I agreed to it...

January 29 2014 at 9:49 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Hello Tanya!

If you keep the credit card charge slips and check them against the monthly bill you will never be fooled by false charges...

January 29 2014 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kill yourself, that would do it.

January 29 2014 at 5:24 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to noons123's comment

You first!

January 30 2014 at 9:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

CONGRESS havent acted on stolen credit problems at all. Why is that ? Write to your Congressguys telling them that you are sick and tired of paying to LIfeLock! a ripoff racket company as advertised on TV!

January 29 2014 at 12:37 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Look at LifeLock a new service that protect your creditworthiness . If the people working at LifeLock can protect you, then why cant you do it yourself with computers ? Suppose someone steal your name or SS number and open an account, it doesnt mean that the credit provider can just go ahead THAT FAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We can pass laws that prevent them from doing so .. VISA, MasterCard, Discover stock are soaring because of high profits while scammers are being allowed to steal from you and you are persuaded to sign up for LIfeLock. C'mon!! Do you remember a lady with last name Warren who fought financial guys and then won the Senate race . She is a senator, so why didint she do more to protect your creditworthiness . She stopped there and LifeLock showed up out of blue!!!!!!!
She can enact laws requiring all credit agencies to go SLOWWWWWWWWWWW BEFORE THEY APPROVE . Victims should be protected and be allowed to clean up the credit history that was DAMAGED by con artists as if nothing happens..
LifeLock is a ripoff do gooder thriving on mythical stolen credit that can be prevented so easily. We move too fast and make short cuts to get profits fast at great costs to innocent people whose credit get damaged ! Look at that former NYC mayor making pitch on TV urging you to sign up for LIfeLock at $35 a month.. RIP OFF MAYOR !

January 29 2014 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gumby's comment

In order for Lifelock to be responsible of fraud that was committed against you it has to be because Lifelock was at fault. In the small print it says this. So just because you have Lifelock does not mean they will be responsible if it was not their fault.

January 29 2014 at 11:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We have computers, right ?, yeah all of us have them,of course. Computers can solve problems, yet there is problems. How come? It isnot hard to solve them . It is just that some people keep us from doing that. That is simple as that. there may be reasons like security conflicts, privacy laws, etc, but for lack of trying, we choose not to fix them.

January 29 2014 at 12:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gumby's comment

How is Pokey?

January 30 2014 at 5:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


January 29 2014 at 11:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Andy's comment

No online purchases?

January 29 2014 at 2:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply