How secure is yours?

How secure is yours?

HARRISBURG PA – Internet chat rooms are filling with complaints from credit card customers nationwide who say they were charged about 25 cents each by a company they don’t know and have never done business with. The company, Adele Services of Melville NY, doesn’t exist, according to a report Sunday (Jan. 11, 2009) in The Boston Globe newspaper, and the charges apparently are part of a scam.

The good news: so far the criminals haven’t hit Pennsylvania. The state Attorney General’s office warns, however, that as a general rule credit card holders should review their statements every month for problems.

The mysterious and comparatively tiny charges range from between 13 and 33 cents. The Better Business Bureau in Louisville KY, which is among agencies dealing with the issue, told The Globe it estimates several million people have been victimized so far. If true, the scammers – at a quarter per fraudulent charge – could be raking in millions of dollars.

Former Massachusetts assistant attorney general Edgar Dworsky reminded The Globe that “It’s easier to steal $1 from a million people than $1 million from one person.” he said. Most people, Dworsky noted, are likely to overlook or ignore the small charge. “Isn’t that the perfect scam, when the victim doesn’t even know something has been taken?” he asked.

A spokesman for Attorney General Tom Corbett, responding in a follow-up report broadcast Wednesday (Jan. 14, 2009) by Philadelphia’s KYW-AM Newsradio, advised card holders to check all charges on their accounts, no matter how small. If a problem is discovered, experts advise:

Photo by Steve Woods