Online Credit Card Fraud R R

I was outraged when I discovered two unauthorized charges on my credit card statement. One was from, and the other from

The two charges emanated from the same merchant with a California address.

What is more aggravating is that a similar charge appeared on the same credit card about three months ago, made by some merchant out in the Netherlands.

This fraud was easy for me to spot on my credit card statement, since I hardly ever use this particular credit card.

The first thing I did was to log on to the merchants website. Both, and had the same message on the opening page: "Sorry this site is temporarily unavailable. Reason: technical troubles. Troubles will be solved as soon as possible."

I proceeded to call my credit card company and dispute the charges. While online with the customer service representative, he logged on to the websites, and once he saw the message on the pages, offered to remove the charges from my card.

Although his action was appropriate and satisfactory, I wasn't comfortable with the idea of some faceless rogue having my personal info. I therefore requested to cancel the credit card, and obtain a new card, which was done after I answered a dozen or so questions.

If this guy can be so bold as to make unauthorized charges on my card, who else is he doing it to? Imagine that he has 6,000 credit card information at his disposal, and he charges $17 a month to each one. That amounts to a whopping $102,000 of tax free revenue each month!

A lot of people today are way too busy to pay attention to the charges on their credit card bill, especially if the charge is for a small amount. These thieves are aware of this apparent weakness, and so get away with the high tech crime. I felt compelled to do something to stamp out the practice, or to create awareness, at least.

Since this person was daft enough to put up a website, I needed as much information as possible about the owner of the site.

To do this, I loged onto the Internet, and on my Windows 98 machine, I obtained his IP address using a program called TRACEROUTE. Traceroute comes with Microsoft Windows. The steps for this are:

  • Log onto the Internet first, then
  • Under C:\WINDOWS, type tracert url, in my case tracert
  • This revealed the website's ip address as
  • The same step for gave an ip of

With the IP addresses, I can find out a lot about the owner of the websites.

Next, I wanted to know the ISP (Internet Service Provider) for these websites. So I visited and typed in the ip address The results came back with DIALTONEINTERNET, INC as the ISP.

Most ISP's pledge to assist people who are victims of customers who use the isp's tools for fraud or any form of online spamming. So I felt it was worthwhile to let them know what and is doing.

The contact info for Dialtone, Inc is: 4101 SW 47th Ave., Suite 101 Fort Lauderdale, Florida - 33314. I got this by just going to I then typed up a letter and mailed it to this isp. Hopefully, they'll take some action.

Next, I wanted more information about the person behind and Who registered those names, in what city does he reside, etc?

For that, I used a tool called WHOIS. This tool is available at The query produced the following information:

Registrant, Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Billing Contact:

(for Doe, John, 44, 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001, US. 212.302.6546

(for Gopublished LLC,, new York, ny 10103, US. 916351445

It appears this person resides in New York, since the registrant of both websites has a NY address. Of course, there's not much to go by here. John Doe is a fake name, and Gopublished LLC is non-existent. My search for this company yeilded zero result. The email addresses must be genuine, since a domain name like cannot be registered with a fake email address. Some phone numbers are provided also, but I bet those are fake too.

Nevertheless, I thought I had enough information to get the FBI interested in the case. IFCC (Internet Fraud complaint Center) at works with the FBI over issues relating to online fraud. I stated my case, and provided them with all the information I had.

In addition, a newsgroup exists specifically for fraudulent actitivies. The url is

The National Fraud Information Center, NFIC at accepts complaints through toll free 800 numbers, online forms, and by snail mail. All complaints are forwared to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

I wouldn't stand for something like this, and neither should you. This is the reason I decided to share my experience, so people can know what course of action to take if this happens to them. Most importantly, give your credit card bills a bird's eye view each month.

Keep the receipts of all your credit card transactions for a particular month and cross check them with the statement. Be sure you challenge any charges you don't recognize or that seem suspicious, even if it's for $1. If we all adopt these proactive steps, fraud on the Internet will be reduced to a manageable level.

It seems credit card fraud has become rampant these days. This is due in part to the fact that websites are very easy and cheap to set up. Hence, most merchants bypass the cost of implementing necessary security on their sites, and carelessly store customer info on insecure machines. When such machines get broken into, thousands of customer info get stolen. This leads to disastrous consequences for the customer, who may not even know how the info was obtained by the scam artist.

You can take a few steps to protect yourself.

  • Don't make purchases from mushroom websites that you don't know. Stick to the reputable ones. You may be charged a bit more, but keep in mind that "cheap things often turn out more expensive."
  • Good websites will give you an option to opt out of storing your info online. Unless you make purchases frequently from a site, it's best to re-enter your credit card info every time you pay for something.
  • Online fraud is not going away. You can help keep it down by taking steps that I took in this article.
  • Only deal with secure websites. A secure website is more difficult to break into. You know a website is secure if the url begins with https:// instead of http://. You will also see a padlock at the bottom of your browser. A secure site will show the padlock in a closed position.

Protect yourself against ID theft

If our wallet or purse gets stolen, the thief gains access to your most valuable commodity - personal information. In the wrong hands, your driver's license, credit cards and checkbook can cost you a lot in worry and money.

Fortunately, you can take steps to mitigate the damage done by this type of theft. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Be prepared - Copy your driver's license and credit card numbers, along with the toll-free number for the credit card issuer, and keep this information in a safe place. Also, write down the check numbers you're currently carrying in your checkbook.
  • Cancel your credit cards - As soon as you discover your credit cards are gone, call the issuer to cancel your cards.
  • Call the police - By calling the police right away, you can show your creditors that you took every step possible to avoid unwarranted charges.
  • Contact your bank - If your checkbook is stolen, you may want to start a new checking account altogether, because a thief could use the information on the stolen checks to order new checks on your existing account.
  • Handle your mail with care - Discard mail with personal information carefully; consider shredding documents for optimum protection. Always use a secure mailbox when mailing payments or other correspondence which contains personal information.

Home | Comments, suggestions?

Copyright © 2000-2002 Richie's Tutorials All rights reserved.