Thieves Running A 25 Cent Scam

Thursday, January 15th 2009, 10:22 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A new scam is hitting the Tulsa area that literally nickels and dimes your pocketbook.  The scammers make a charge to your credit card for only 25 cents.  It sounds harmless until you find out what they do next.

Terry Kolkmann was checking his Visa bill when a charge for 26 cents caught his eye.  It was from Adele Services in New York.  He called the phone number and reached a recorded message.  He then went online and found thousands of other people who had been victims of the very same scam.

"It's easy money. Most people aren't going to do anything for 26 cents," said Terry Kolkmann.

There are two theories about the scam. First, they are just stealing these tiny amounts and making millions of dollars, one quarter at a time or second, they're running a small charge through on your card and if that's works, then they hit you with a much bigger charge.

Either way, don't ignore it.

Terry Kolkmann decided to deal with the smaller hassle of closing his account and getting another card now, rather than the huge hassle of losing a huge amount later.  The disturbing question is where the thieves are getting all our credit cards.

"You've got to realize you're at the mercy of the people you do business with. How secure are their systems? You've got a rogue employee with access to millions of credit card numbers, they hit a button and print out those numbers and turn around and sell them and you can be a victim and not realize where it took place," said Rick Brinkley with the Tulsa Better Business Bureau.

The scammers are practically impossible to catch and they don't care who they hurt.

"Doesn't matter to them who they give a problem to, people who can afford to recover from it or people who'll never recover from it, they don't care," said Terry Kolkmann.

Your best protection is information.

Check your statements and contest any tiny charges immediately to stop big headaches down the road.  You can also report the scam to the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office and the Federal Trade Commission.