A major US consumer protection group is warning about a new scam that could see UK consumers' debit and credit cards hit with an unexplained charge of $9.84 (£5.95).
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says the scam relies on the fact that many people do not check their credit card statements in detail.
Criminals use stolen data to charge a card with the small sum of $9.84. When victims investigate where the cash has gone, they find they have unwittingly paid a website promising a lucrative "online program".
The websites promise they will "refund 100% of your last payment", but it is not known whether they do or how many people have tried to claim.
The BBB said: "Victims report calling the ‘customer support' site and receiving verbal confirmation that the charge would be cancelled. However, don't take the scammers at their word.
"Contact your bank to report the charges and request a new credit card. Your card card information has been compromised, and it's likely scammers will be back for more."
The scam was first uncovered by ex-Washington Post columnist Brian Klebs on his website, Klebs on Security. Klebs traced the scam to a wider network of operators stretching from Cyprus to India and the United Kingdom.
Klebs also found that one of the websites can be traced to a business park in Acton, north west London, meaning the scam could potentially hit UK consumers' cards.
The 'genius' idea behind it is clearly that most people will either not notice, or not bother to look into small amounts charged to their cards, netting criminals large amounts collectively.
$9.84 translates to about £5.95 at today's exchange rates. So if you see this sum or even the dollar amount charged to your credit or debit card for a service you do not think you have purchased, contact your bank immediately.
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