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Tue Dec 6 2016 09:21:52

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
Recently I chose to shut down my Discover Card and get a new account. I've been with Discover since the late 80's and have always found them to be on top of things. Discover called me a week or so ago with some charges on my account that looked suspicious, my statement was not due for release, so I wouldn't know they were there unless I reviewed them online, which is something I rarely do. 

While the ones that concerned them, didn't concern me as I knew they were find, further in the conversation we found something that did concern me. There was a $1 charge from Amazon. I expressed my concern as there was no reason for Amazon to be pinging my account. The CSR then asked if I had recently added a credit card to my Amazon account and I responded NO. The card I had on file with them has been there for years. 

In reviewing my account further, she found another $1 charge from Amazon that happened earlier in the month. So I opted to close this account down and get a new account. A real pain as I now have to update many sites / companies that I use this card on.

In the mail today I got a written response from Discover regarding the investigation into fraudulent charges on my original account. They have concluded that the charges were in fact fraudulent. So I'd like to encourage EVERYONE to review their credit cards carefully. 

The use of doing small charges to ping an account is a tried and true way to commit fraud. Once these scammers realize they have pinged a real account, then it becomes fair game for them until they are caught, or move on to another account or get shut down by a credit card company like Discover. 

Just thought I'd share this so that others are on the alert.
Marie




Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 6 12:29:54 2016

Any credit card worth having will be on top of any transactions. Unlike Fleecebay and Paypig they care about their customers and their security is top notch.

The last thing these card companies want to do is to pay for something the customer didn't buy. We get these notices from Capitol One and Citicorp all the time.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 6 14:32:35 2016

A few months ago I had the same issue with my Discover card. Ended up getting a new card from discover with a different account number. So far, no issues with the new account number.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Dec 6 15:05:16 2016

Just keep in mind, Discover was not at fault here.  What concerned me is that a charge appeared TWICE on my account with Amazon's name identified as the source of the pinging.  What the heck??  Why is Amazon allowing this to happen?  I think that is the big question that needs an answer.  Why is Amazon involved in trying to steal from me?  Or are they!  Is it somehow someone else using Amazon's name?

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 6 16:41:08 2016

@Marie

Definitely not Discovers fault at all. If I thought they were, I would have just cancelled the card entirely.

Discover did say that it was possible that Amazon may have just been randomly checking the card to see if it was still valid.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Dec 6 16:56:17 2016

@RL15

I've had this card on Amazon for years.  There is no reason for them to ping my account.  I had just made a purchase using the card a few days earlier, so it isn't like my account had been dormant for a prolonged period of time.

Then there is the fact that they pinged it twice a couple weeks apart.  According to Discover they found the pings to be fraudulent.  Their word, not mine.  I'm confident they have more ways to look at the transaction than I do.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: dasw This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 8 00:22:45 2016

Did you ever call Amazon to find out what the $1.00 charges were for? Did you try to dispute the charges first before cancelling the card? Might be interesting to see what information one would get in those cases.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Dec 8 02:45:11 2016

@dasw

No I didn't call Amazon.  Discover put the items in dispute and they were the ones that did the work.  

Sure I could have contacted Amazon and tried to find out what was going on, but why would I do that and put my credit at risk.  They were unauthorized charges.  My account had been pinged and they now know the account number they used was good.  When that happens, the thieves now know they have an active account and then the stealing starts.

I see no reason to do that for some small personal satisfaction I might get from learning why Amazon allowed this to happen.

I've noted earlier that Discover did research these charges and found them to be fraudulent.  Which is why I asked Ina to post this so other could make sure they didn't have a similar problem.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: dasw This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 8 05:18:52 2016

I would hope Amazon would take action against these "thieves".
That is why I would call them.  But they probably just charge them for credit card charge backs.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 8 11:33:38 2016

Are you sure it really was Amazon?

With it being possible to disguise the real sender on incoming phone calls and emails, I am thinking it likely is possible that some hacker has figured out how to disguise the ''seller'' on a credit card charge.

Just guessing !  

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 8 11:39:40 2016

Marie, I'm so sorry this is happening to you!  You have been so helpful to so many on the boards here. You just plain do NOT deserve this kind of hassle and mental anguish.

The only good thing is that Discover caught it and no horrific damage was done, and hopefully a new account will put an end to that particular scammer (whatever it was). Clearly, your original account was compromised somewhere and somehow. Thankfully, a new account is an easy fix.  

It is just sad how society has degenerated into too many people believing they are entitled to free this, free that,and that the world should give them a living -- and those who can steal like this will do so, with no care for any of their victims.  

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Dec 8 12:37:16 2016

@dasw

I not sure why you feel that Discover contacting them instead of me would get a different response.  

When an item is put into dispute, a CCC doesn't simply reverse the charge, they do investigate.  They do contact the party making the charge.  Or at least that has always been my experience, possibly you have had something different go on.  

@timeaftertime

You are so right.  I don't know how people live with themselves when they steal from others.  

I get those scam emails sometimes.  I typically will send a quick response back and congratulate them on making their Mama's proud!!!  I'm telling you if one of my kids were stealing from someone else, there would be hell to pay.

In fact, just for a little chuckle.  My son is a grown young man now, but when he was in 1st grade it had a little problem taking some of his classmates things.  Just little things.  Erasers, pencils, etc.  I talked to him several times and took away privileges with all else was failing.  He continue to do it from time to time.

So I got creative.  I called our local Police Department.  I told them my problem and I was hoping that an officer could take a little time with him.  They said come on down.  So we did.

This officer was FANTASTIC.  He played his part so well.  He gave him a complete tour of the department to include holding cells.  He was stern when showing my son the cell but not overly so, remembering his age.  

The officer explained that this is where they kept people that were caught stealing or doing something else unlawful.  The look on my son's face was spectacular.

Then the officer ended the tour by taking him into the break room, giving him a sweet treat and then into a police car so he could look around in it and set off the sirens etc.

My son had a great time and he remembers it to this day.  And to my knowledge he never has stolen anything ever again.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 8 12:50:30 2016

Hey Folks, I had this too with paypal merchants charges and it happens when you checkout as a guest or if you don't have your credit card info stored in paypal (which I don't). So its like others where they ping the account for $1 but it never is a completed transaction, you just see it in pending and once the 'real transaction' completes it goes away.. Sort of like using your credit card at a gas station..

And BTW, most all credit cards have alert mechanisms these days where you can get text or email alerts for any activity. I have this for anything over a penny for all my bank accounts and credit cards. That way, you know instantly if someone is using your accounts..

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Dec 8 13:10:35 2016

@Frank

Yes, what you experienced is how it works when there is a new card in play for PayPal. But what you describe is NOT what happened in my case.  My card had been attached to my Amazon account for years.  And I've been using it on their site actively in the past several weeks bringing in Christmas presents.  They had no reason at all to ping my account.

And I might add, Discover found the charges to be fraudulent AFTER they investigated.  They didn't assume this.  So that is why I just wanted people to know just in case it might happen to them as well.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: dasw This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 8 13:49:05 2016

@ marie
''When an item is put into dispute, a CCC doesn't simply reverse the charge, they do investigate.  They do contact the party making the charge.  Or at least that has always been my experience, possibly you have had something different go on.''

I am never privy to what goes on behind the scene. I can only hope there is an investigation.  

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 8 19:09:39 2016

The trick of making a few small charges is a well known way that scammers test accounts to see if an account is live and its owners are watchful.

It is not just ''Amazon'' you should be watching for, it is any name or company you don't know and haven't done business with.  Thieves are very clever, and if you don't react to the small amounts, their next move usually is to make a big purchase.

If this happens to you, realize that your account has been compromised and ask the CC company to close it and issue a new account/new card.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 8 19:13:04 2016

I used PP Guest once, and there were no little $1 or so transactions.  There was only one charge for the full amount and my CC company froze it. I think they planned to phone but I made another unrelated transaction that did NOT go through so I phoned them and discovered the situation and told them that YES, the "Guest" payment was a charge I had made.  

There were no "pings." Only the one real transaction.  

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 9 06:08:11 2016

I've had those $1 from Amazon - just prior to them billing my pro-merchant account or when I had stuff sitting in my shopping cart etc.   They fall off after 48 hrs if they aren't finalized and mine never were.

My credit card company told me exactly what Frank said

"Hey Folks, I had this too with paypal merchants charges and it happens when you checkout as a guest or if you don't have your credit card info stored in paypal (which I don't). So its like others where they ping the account for $1 but it never is a completed transaction, you just see it in pending and once the 'real transaction' completes it goes away.. Sort of like using your credit card at a gas station.. "

Nothing fraudulent about them.   Just "mysterious".  I did not call Amazon because the credit card folks said "not to worry".  

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Dec 9 12:26:26 2016

@beth

That is a different situation than mine.  My issues had nothing to do with PayPal.  The transactions on my account did not fall off after 48 hours and my CCC did find them to be fraudulent.  

I do understand what you and Frank are talking about and I know that it does happen the way you two describe, but it isn't the same situation as mine.

Not all pings are fraudulent.  Some are just part of the process of verification.  Just don't assume they are part of verification as it is the way people scam / steal from people.  They try to ping all kinds of account number blindly until they hit pay dirt.  Once they know they have it a live account, then they know they can use the number to make some charges.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 10 21:35:12 2016

Amazon does it to me every once in a while, I have never worried about it (after I first noticed it and called them)
They have done this for years.
It probably is "fraudulent" as they have no real reason to do it, but I have not had any issues with it and they are just going to want another credit card backup anyway.

False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning   False Amazon Charges Prompt Credit Card Warning

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Dec 11 01:38:30 2016

@barbbie

If they are doing it on a regular basis, that $1 charge would add up to be a significant amount of money for them.  They weren't reversed off my account by Amazon.  Quite a risk for them to take even though it could net them no matter how much they get from doing this.  Even though it is only $1 at a time, it is still theft.  They had no permission to take that $1.

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