Tue 31 Aug 2004
So last night as I was doing my bi-annual sigh Quicken reconcilie-the-billing-fest, I noticed something odd – a charge from a few days ago that I didn’t recognize:
08/27/2004 Sale USOFTWEBSYS (Services and Merchandise) $9.95
Since I a) buy a lot of stuff on the web b) don’t look at my credit card statements very often other than to pay them, I almost decided “no big deal, I must have bought some shareware or something” but since the charge was just from a few days ago (& I didn’t remember anything) and I was feeling oddly fastidious, I decided to Google USOFTWEBSYS,… and I found a couple of forums where various people talked about getting hit with a credit card scam!
The scam basically involved small charges of $9.95 on your credit card for a fake company that sold website templates (FYI: prepackaged website designs). After a while they start charging larger and larger amounts. Methinks this is bad. The charges on the forums were for companies with names like: panalscorp, elitewebsoft and SURPRISE: USOFTWEBSYS.
So then I went to usoftwebsys.com and guess what – a template site! People on the forum noted that googling for various bits of text from the site, like “Create a unique web presence using pre-made designs and templates of the highest quality.” yield hundreds of exact matches!
Needless to say I immediately called my bank, cancelled the charge & card, and a new credit card is in the mail. Sigh. If it weren’t for the miles I get, I would get one of those credit cards that gives you a new disposable credit card number for each web purchase you make.
Anyway: moral of the story: check your credit card bills more frequently than I do. I don’t know if I bought something somewhere from a weaselly site (doubtful – I should have seen stuff before) or somebody some how cracked some site that I HAD bought things from, but it really just means you should check your statements. The people on the forum suggest that the FBI & the CC companies don’t really pursue anything if you report the frauds DAMN…..
Also, the USOFTWEBSYS site (and all the clones) allowed people to enter their credit card info to buy web site templates! Hell maybe they’ll even send you something – but I’m sure your card will be used for sucking down the bucks! Moral of that story: Be very careful what sites you buy things from.