Credit & Debit Cards Scams

Billing, Subscription & Membership Helpdesk Scams

Why was my credit card charged?

At Scamadviser, we often get emails from consumers who ask us this question. Many of our visitors report that their credit cards were charged by websites that they have never heard of 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 are so-called billing gateways and often have weird names such as ETPVER.com, UPS873.com and csmembers.com. They charge your credit card on behalf of other websites which may either be owned by their company or could be other enterprises (usually in the adult content, gambling, dating or other industries that 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 company like Mastercard, Visa and American Express.

If you have used an adult content, dating, gambling or another kind of website where many consumers prefer not to share the name with their spouse, then 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 initiate a chargeback.

Should I share (part of) my credit card number?

Never share your full credit card number by phone, email or on 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 as it is moderately safe. The first 6 digits represent the network that produced the credit card, the 7th to 15th digits are personal identifiers and the last digit is usually a check digit.

However, do not provide any additional information like your full name, card expiration date and security (CVV) code. This kind of information is not needed as they should already have your credit card details on record.

When in doubt, simply contact your credit card company to do a chargeback. You can read more about how to do a chargeback in our article How to Get Your Money Back From a Scam. 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.

Comments

All three named websites were contacted and asked for a review of the article. No replies were received and in several instances, phone numbers were not answered and emails bounced.

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Sources

https://www.creditcardinsider.com/learn/credit-card-security/

https://www.creditcardinsider.com/learn/anatomy-of-a-credit-card/

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