There are a lot of shady deals out there, more every day. We got caught by one of them.

Our credit card statement for last month showed we had been billed $72.21 for something called the “Google Treasure Chest.” It turns out that Google Treasure Chest has nothing to do with Google. It came up at a website offering free stuff. We know our readers like things you can get for free, so we we took a look.

It turned out we had to accept three offers for trial subscriptions. That sounded harmless, but what caught us was a $1.97 disk for making money at home. One of us (the guilty party will have to do the dishes) clicked on a box out of curiosity and Whammo, with the speed of light we had bought something for $69; the extra $3.21 was for changing our payment into Philippine currency.

Searching the web, we found many complaints about the Google Treasure Chest. No one was sure how they had bought anything and no one was able to cancel the purchase. Our credit card company could find no address for the sellers, and a web search indicated they were either in England or the Philippines. Our credit card company informed us they would investigate the transaction if we filled out the proper forms. Instead, we took the advice of other victims and canceled a credit card we had held for more than a decade.

What is the lesson in all this? Be careful what you click on. The scammers who promote such frauds do not expect a lot of responses. Someone in the security business told us that if they get two responses out of every one-million emails, that is considered a good result. There are now two billion people in the world with access to the Worldwide Web and that number is growing by 20 percent a year. A scammer can send out 50 million emails message at very little cost. That produces one hundred potential victims. We were among them. The best way to protect yourself is to deal only with companies and services you know are reliable.

One Response to “WATCH OUT!”

  1. Bank of America has a feature called Shopsafe. You can create a temporary credit card number with a maximum amount that can be charged against it, After you are through using the temporary card you can either let it expire or delete it.

    Someone charged some items against my credit card so I had to cancel it. I have used the temp cards ever since and have had no problems as nobody has my real card number.