Amazon Marketplace scam charges?
December 21, 2017 4:37 PM   Subscribe

New credit card scam? How does it work?

Just got 2 charges on the BofA credit card statement from Amazon MarketPlace that aren't mine. No orders on my Amazon account matchup with these charges. Scam or mistake? Changed passwords and started fraud disputes on my charge card.
posted by BillyAnne to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I doubt it's some sort of fancy scam... Just a stolen credit card. These things happen. You may have to get a new card.
posted by brainmouse at 4:55 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Do any orders match up to the sum of the charges? I've had Amazon orders split up oddly on credit card statements, probably because they included items purchased from different Amazon Marketplace sellers.
posted by capsizing at 6:28 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I keep track of my online orders from all companies. My Amazon account doesn't show any new orders for those amounts or combinations of those amounts. I was thinking there's some new scam on the internet that I haven't heard of yet. Thanks.
posted by BillyAnne at 1:52 AM on December 22, 2017

Best answer: Credit card numbers, expiry dates and CVV numbers are pseudo-secrets at best. The transaction processes are designed in a way that discloses all of these things to the merchant on every transaction: every transaction you make increases your credit card's attack surface. Eventually, every credit card will have fraudulent transactions logged against it. Every single one. No exceptions.

This is by design: on the convenience vs. security seesaw, credit cards are pretty much all convenience, no security. The consequent cost to the banks of compensating customers for the predictably extreme levels of ensuing fraud is the main reason that credit card interest rates need to be set as high as they are.

As a credit card holder, the correct response to seeing your card successfully attacked is (a) report the fraud to your bank and be made good, then (b) cancel that card and get a new one with a fresh set of pseudo-secrets.
posted by flabdablet at 2:03 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Also, consistent use of PayPal or Entropay for online purchases instead of handing over your real credit card number to every merchant you deal with will usefully reduce the number of entities with access to your pseudo-secrets and correspondingly lower your attack rate.

Finally, any facility that persistently nags you for credit card details that you have absolutely no intention of letting it use, like an initial Apple Account on a new iPhone or a Google Play Store account for a kid, can usually be made to shut its horrible face by feeding it a completely fake made-up card that tests as valid but absolutely won't work.
posted by flabdablet at 2:33 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Just to check: you don't have a partner/family member who has a card for that account do you? My husband and I both have a copy of the card we use on Amazon so the charges won't show up on my account but will show up on the card.

It's doubly hard to figure out what's what this time of year because of holiday spending and the way Amazon Marketplace splits up charges by vendor or shipment so they don't match the total in the confirmation email that you get after you place an order. I've pretty much given up figuring out what's mine and what's his and just hope that none of it is fraud.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:35 AM on December 22, 2017

Response by poster: I'm the only person using my card. The strange thing is that the credit card shows charges on Amazon but my Amazon account shows no activity???
posted by BillyAnne at 6:39 AM on December 22, 2017

Yeah then that's fraud, report them to BoA immediately. They will close the card and issue you a new one. Hopefully that's not your only card because there will be a lag between the old card number being shut off and the new card arriving.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:43 AM on December 22, 2017

You think you're the only person using your card.

The strange thing is that the credit card shows charges on Amazon but my Amazon account shows no activity???

That's not the least bit strange. Whoever bought your credit card details from the aggregator who bought them from the launderer who bought them from the thief who expropriated them from some random merchant you've dealt with in the last two years is making purchases against an Amazon account that they control, not you. Wouldn't want all that stuff your credit card is funding delivered to your house by mistake.
posted by flabdablet at 6:43 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah they didn't steal your Amazon credentials, they just stole your credit card number (and other necessary details), and the place they happened to use it was Amazon - under their own account. Could have been at any store, it's not meaningful that it's Amazon.
posted by brainmouse at 8:24 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The strange thing is that the credit card shows charges on Amazon but my Amazon account shows no activity???

It's trivial to set up a new Amazon account, and Amazon does not cross check to see if the credit card number is already in use on another account.
posted by yohko at 4:47 PM on December 22, 2017

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