Billion Dollar Web Scam at Sites You Buy From

Billion Dollar Web Scam at Sites You Buy From

A U.S. Senate committee has been investigating a huge internet retail scam that’s been foisted on consumers by normally trustworthy sites.

Let’s say that you are shopping at one of your favorite online retailers. You decide to make a credit card purchase and when you finish checking out, you see an offer to save money.

webscam-click-to-save.

(image credit U.S. Senate)

Apparently, all you need to do is fill in your email address and click a button. Now you’ve entered an agreement to pay some third-party website, which you’ve never heard of, several dollars a month via your credit card. This money keeps coming out every month until you notice it on your credit card statements.

How do they get your credit card info? Some very popular websites are giving them the information while you check-out during a purchase at their site. They get a kick-back for referring you and it adds up to millions of dollars. Classmates.com made over $70 million dollars this way.

Here’s how it works:

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Here are the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

The Good:

Class Action Lawsuit in 2006 is settled in 2009.

U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation – investigation involving Webloyalty, Affinion, and Vertrue.

The Bad:

Webloyalty, Affinion, and Vertrue – I won’t even give you links to their sites. These are the sneaky guys who bill you every month for services you’ve never used.

The Ugly:

This image contains a list of popular web sites that cared more about making money than about your security. This is very ugly.

webscam-bad-guys

(image credit – U.S. Senate)

Thanks to my friend Bob C, who emailed this to me.

Be sure to offer your comments below.

Published by

Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

  • http://www.niharsworld.com/ Nihar

    It is always better not to use Credit Card Online.

    • http://clif-notes.blogspot.com clif.notes

      Some people may not have a good alternative to Credit Cards for online purchases. Personally, I most often use PayPal or Google Checkout if it’s available. However, there are also one-time use “virtual” credit cards that people can use. They are completely safe, since the card number can only be used for a single transaction. See this site for details: http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Banking/creditcardsmarts/P114591.asp