Saturday, January 17, 2004

Internet Flim Flam!
A cautionary tale

I am the victim of internet fraud and I’m spitting mad. About six months ago, I bought some items from Drugstore.com. I vaguely remember a window popping up with an offer for a free trial of Reservation Rewards, a ‘trusted business partner’ of Drugstore.com, that offered discounts on products I never use and places I never go, like Six Flags. I’m sure I would have declined, since I never sign up for services like that, not to mention that the discounts were paltry.

Nevertheless, in an outrageous act of privacy violation, Drugstore.com handed over all of my information, including my credit card number, to Reservation Rewards and the sneaky bastards have been charging $7 each month on my Visa, which I finally caught. And it looks like I wasn’t the only one suckered by this fraud, a sort of internet version of slamming.

I called them and they were slippery and soothing, promising to reverse all of the charges in 3-5 days. From my experience and the stories of other victims it appears that they're very accommodating once they're busted because they don't want you to make a fuss with the Better Business Bureau and end their scam for good. There are plenty of more people who aren't looking over their credit card statements too carefully for them to bilk. Even if they do refund all of the money, that is some considerable float.
I also wrote a nasty letter to Drugstore.com telling them that I am never doing business with them as long as they partner with such unscrupulous companies, and that they dealt a real blow to internet commerce by handing over my credit card information to these thieves.
Lesson for the Day: Scrutinize, scrutinize, scrutinize your credit card statements.

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