I know most of you regularly check your debit and credit card statements (right?), but for those who haven't checked in a while, a scam has emerged that may make you want to pull up your old statements and skim all charges from the last few months.
What are you looking for? Any charge from Adele Services. Why Adele? Well, because the company doesn't exist. And it looks like it intended to stay that way, flying under the radar of most consumers by withdrawing $0.25 from millions of people's accounts across the nation so that the charges would go unnoticed. Ugh. I hate scams -- they make you feel so vulnerable.
The bright side to this predicament is that there are people out there who routinely scrutinize every last cent on their bank statements, therefore they noticed the $0.25 charge right away and became concerned that their credit identity had been comprised, the Boston Globe writes. The paper reports that the charge shows up on statements as coming from "Adele Services" in Melville, N.Y. There is no business by that name listed in Melville, or registered to any business anywhere in New York, for that matter.
The Better Business Bureau surmises that the Adele Services scam is meant to build a large sum from many small charges. Consumerworld.org owner Edgar Dworsky told the Globe that the scam reminded him of the old saying "It's easier to steal $1 from a million people than $1 million from one person."
So while 25 cents is a pittance in the grand scheme of things, what's more troubling is that some random Joe (hopefully not of "the Plumber" persuasion) out there has access to your card numbers and personal info and can use them at will. Like I said earlier, go over all your statements from the last few months and note any suspicious charges under $1. The Globe says to file a dispute with your credit card company, and lodge complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov), so the crime will not go unpunished.
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