Credit Card Fraud
August 12, 2004 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Credit card fraud....

Today I recieved a credit card bill with some fraudulent charges from a company called "E-Club Marketing", listed as residing in "South Plain/NJ". Somehow they charged me 12.96 on a credit card which I have not used for over 4 months (and which has not even been taken out of my desk drawer for that long). Besides calling my credit card company and getting the charge cancelled, what else can I do about this?
posted by skwm to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Write a letter to your credit card company, and keep a copy. You might also want to check your previous statements to see whether these folks have charged you in the past.
posted by Zonker at 6:51 PM on August 12, 2004

What Zonker said...always do things like that in writing, and keep copies. If you decide to call, or they call you, get a name and address and, as soon as you get off the phone, write a letter to that person stating that you just spoke, repeat the main points of the conversation, and what you agreed or disagreed upon. Send one copy, and keep the other.
Do this always. It's a pain in the ass at first, but once you've done it a couple of times, it goes quickly, and when (not if, but when) the nimrods on the other end screw up your credit, the paper trail will be invaluable in fixing things.
(Yes, I am a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. This is not legal advice; it is only common-sense advice. If you need legal advice, hire a lawyer.)
posted by spacewrench at 9:21 PM on August 12, 2004

cancel the card. right now. get a new card number. you can keep the same account if you want to keep it for credit reasons, but get a new card number. the charge may be reoccurring every month.
posted by graventy at 9:52 PM on August 12, 2004

and be thankful that it's *only* $12.96. the card company will reimburse you. i used to work for a mid-size bank and we just gave credits for any card dispute under $50 without question. don't expect to actually find out what e-club marketing is though, unless you do your own leg work. the card company will likely not bother to spend the time to find out, but will just take your word for it and give you the credit (it might take 10 business days though).
posted by graventy at 9:55 PM on August 12, 2004

Don't worry about it. I used to work in credit card fraud and once you issue the chargeback (what they call it when a customer charges the charge back to the merchant...) you really don't need to worry about it any longer. You'll get a letter in a few days telling you to call someone and tell them the story again. Follow their instructions but really you got nothing to fear. Credit card companies are in the business of keeping their customers happy, they'll do everything to make this right for you. Credit card companies additionally have merchants over a barrel, merchants get screwed, you're cool. Really, you got nothing to fear. You can cancel the card if you want but I wouldn't worry about it, if it really has not been out of your drawer than this probably isn't fraud, but rather either 1) a mistake, or 2) someone who is just lucky at picking credit card numbers and merchants that don't verify addresses.
posted by pwb503 at 10:39 PM on August 12, 2004

If it were more than $12, say, $120, I'd probably send the letter via registered mail... Nothing beats PROOF they received your letter.

If they agree on the phone to fix it, I might consider calling them the next week to confirm it's been taken off.

Most of the internet frauds are done with stolen credit card numbers. If I were you I might consider changing my credit card number. I've dealt with an individual with access to at least DOZENS of stolen credit card numbers (specifically, I got 4 of them cancelled, he got angry and started sending "presents" to me using stolen credit card numbers. He probably didn't realize I'd just refuse all the packages, hoping I'd keep them and that I'd be accused of stealing). Most people stealing credit card numbers live in poorer countries, such as Indonesia.

Last time I got a small charge cancelled on my credit card (dispute with the local pizza store that refused to deliver a pizza to me, but wanted me to pay for it anyways) the credit card company didn't even bother to call me back.
posted by shepd at 11:42 PM on August 12, 2004

Something like this happened to my wife. People need to watch out for this, it's getting worse. Her number was NOT stolen. Instead, when she bought something from a *reputable* online seller (, we think), they asked her to fill out what *looked* like a surver rating her satisfaction with the experience, but was actually a form signing her up for a "club" where should could, I suppose, buy crap, but really just exists to periodically bill your credit card for no apparent reason.
posted by RustyBrooks at 6:18 AM on August 13, 2004

Something like this happened to me, too, except that my credit card co's fraud department lit up like a Christmas tree when somebody tried to charge over $10,000 worth of jewelry to my account. The CC Co called me to verify the big charges, and it was pure luck that I was at home to answer the phone and refuse the transaction.

The perp had previously (during the same billing cycle, so I didn't know it yet) made three small "test" charges, two at the same online jeweler and one at (note dripping irony) one of the three major credit bureaus, trying to get a copy of my credit report, but settling for someone else's instead when they didn't have enough info to get mine. It took more than three months to get the credit bureau charge expunged.

I had to go through the whole rigamarole of canceling the card (received a new account number and physical card within a week), reporting the crime to the Federal Trade Commission, notifying all three credit bureaus of fraudulent activity, changing all my PINs, and filing a report with my local police.

Check out the FTC Fraud Victims page. Lots of good (scary, paranoia-inducing) info there.

I never found out how the cretin got my account number. The police detective said that most of the time, card numbers, expiration dates, and names are stolen in restaurants when they take your card out of your sight to process the check.

You might also call all your banks and merchants and password-protect your accounts to prevent unsavory characters from changing the billing address or phone number.
posted by Alylex at 11:16 AM on August 13, 2004

My credit card statements always have, in the fine print on the back, instructions on what to do if you dispute a charge. As pwb503 points out, the usual policies give the cardholder the best position --- it's the merchant who gets screwed.

I'd dispute it, in writing, according to their instructions; and then I'd pay the balance not including the disputed charge (sounds like that's $0 in your case).

I've only done this once (I got triple-billed for an online transaction, probably an honest glitch on the merchant's part). Wrote my CC company a letter and forgot about it. A couple months later they wrote back saying, yeah, we've removed that charge.
posted by hattifattener at 8:04 PM on August 13, 2004

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