Why was my credit card charged?
At Scamadviser we often get emails from consumers who ask us this question. Many of our visitors report websites which have charged their credit card of which they have never heard before (let alone visited). We especially get a lot of emails about websites that offer:
- Billing support and assistance
- Cancelling your subscription or membership
- Dispute resolution and chargeback prevention
Who are behind these Credit Card Helpdesk websites?
The companies behind these websites with weird names as ETPVER.com, UPS873.com and csmembers.com as so-called billing gateways. They charge your credit card for other websites which may either be owned by their company or of other enterprises (usually in the adult content, gambling, dating or other industries you may not want to see on your credit card transaction slip).
Are these Membership Helpdesk companies legit or scams?
Well, it depends.
The main goal of these websites is to make sure you do not do a chargeback on your credit card. If a company has too many chargebacks, they can be blocked by their payment service provider or credit card companies like Mastercard, Visa and American Express.
If you have used an adult content, dating, gambling or other kind of website where many consumers prefer not to share the name with their spouse with, than they may be legit and doing you a service.
If you have not used such a service, we recommend breaking off any contact with the “helpdesk” and contact your credit card company to do a chargeback.
Should I share (part of) my credit card number?
Never share your full credit card number by phone, email or a website you do not trust. Also do not send a photo of your credit card.
Many of these credit card customer support sites ask for the first 6 digits and the last 4 digits of your credit card. The reason for this is that most consumers do not use their real name on adult content, gambling or dating sites.
First, ask if they offer any other way of checking if you have a subscription. For example, your alias/fake name or email address. If not, you can consider giving them the first 6 digits and the last 4 digits of your credit card. While we are not a big fan of this use, it is moderately safe. The first 6 digits represent the network that produced the credit card. The 7th to 15th digit are personal identifiers and the last digit is usually a check digit.
However, do not provide any additional information like your full name, expiration date and security (CCV) code. More information is not needed, they should already have your credit card details.
When in doubt, simply contact your credit card company to do a chargeback. They benefit more from you not doing a chargeback than you are providing too much sensitive information. You can read more about how to do a chargeback in our article, Credit & Debit Card Scams. Better safe than sorry.
Some final credit card protection tips
Keep an eye on your credit card transactions. Do not wait for the monthly statement but check your credit card at least once per week. Can you recognize all charges? If not - take action!
Finally, even small amounts are important to check. Credit card scammers charge a small amount to see if a card is still valid. If the first transaction is approved, they start using the card for larger amounts.
All three named websites were contacted and asked for review of the article. No replies were received and in several instanced phone numbers were not answered and emails bounced.