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#1 Bobby

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Posted 29 September 2004 - 03:29 PM

I'm having a dispute with my credit union over a charge to my Debit Card (the kind with the Visa logo). They are telling me that they do not investigate nor charge back any fraud entry lower than $20. That is their policy and I have cancelled my debit card because of that policy.

However, I wish to investigate this fraud myself, gather as much information as I can, and turn it over to someone in my State. I start here because I have found most of the people here to be extremely knowledgeable in knowing those things that hurt us on the Internet.

The entry on my statement is ASTOR BERNING with an 800 number (800-307-6961) that goes directly to an answering machine. The amount is $9.55 Yes, it's a small amount. Small enough that my credit union won't do anything about it and small enough that many folks might simply overlook it. But I am a hardworking person like the rest of you and I could use the 10 bucks. Not only that, it seems they could do it more than once.

I found out that ASTOR BERNING is a textile company in Sweden. I have also found out in a couple of newsgroups on the web that it has happened to others but no one seems to know who is behind this nor is there any information regarding the authorities know anything about this.

Since I read this board every day, you know that I have a healthy sense of paranoia regarding the Internet, scams, and the proper way to protect credit card information with online bill paying and other uses.

What I would like to know is: Does anyone out there know anything about this scam or can point me to other directions to look. I would be very appreciative of any and all suggestions.

Regards,
Bobby

#2 Misereor

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Posted 30 September 2004 - 05:30 AM

From what I can see, Astor Berning is a well respected German company, which has produced for the textile industry since 1919.

I'm pretty sure someone has made a mistake somewhere.
Then again, why would a textile manufacturing company have an 800 number...



Why don't you take a look at their contact info and get in touch with their accounting department?
http://www.astor-berning.de/eng/

#3 Bobby

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Posted 30 September 2004 - 01:02 PM

Yes, the Company is well respected however their phone numbers are International numbers so it would cost me a small fortune to call them and talk to them. I don't believe for a moment that they know anything about this. I have sent them an email with a copy of my bank statement with their entry on it. We seem to think that someone has managed to get my CC number and simply use their name and a phone 800 number to get the bank to send them that small amount. The amount is small enough that most can't afford to do anything about it and some banks (like mine) will not do anything about it. The problem is that if one assumes that this is happening a lot well...a lot of $9.55 debits would make these crooks a lot of money.

Note this thread from a newsgroup I found on Google:

http://groups.google...&....com&rnum=1

Anyway, I'm grateful for the suggestion and am still working on it.

Regards,
Bobby

#4 Bobby

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:50 PM

Why don't you take a look at their contact info and get in touch with their accounting department?


For what it's worth I did. No reply since yesterday. Now I'm starting to wonder.

Dear Accounting Department,

I have received the following entry on my credit card statement:

09/28/04 -9.55 0.00 0.00 Debit Card W/D
Comment:
ASTOR BERNING 800-307-6961 DE
Comment:
Date 09/28/04 24000000 7372

While the company name is yours the phone number is an 800 number that
goes directly to an answering machine.

Here is a link to a newsgroup where someone else has had the same
problem with someone using your company name:

http://groups.google...&....com&rnum=1

We tend to believe that someone is engaging in Credit Card fraud in
the United States and is using your Company name.

Can you give me any information concerning this matter.

Respectfully,

#5 Bobby

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 05:08 AM

ISSUE RESOLVED !!!!

My credit union has decided to charge back the $9.55 to my account. Oddly enough the charge back went to Wilmington, Delaware in the USA.

I have learned several valuable lessons here. First, the credit card feature of a debit card has far less protection than a "real" credit card. The debit card comes directly from your checking account whereas a real credit card comes from the credit card company and you pay them back (with interest) The law allows you to dispute and withhold payment of a credit card whereas the debit card has already come out of your checking and it's up to the bank if, and when, they want to put it back. The protection limits are different. $50.00 for a credit card and $500.00 for a debit card. I have been told, and have done it, to keep one real credit card and order an ATM card (to get cash) that has no debit capabilities nor credit card logo.

It took me a long time to get into total Internet banking and bill paying and online shopping. I almost never write checks and carry little cash. I will continue but with a much heightened awareness of Internet security.

I view the members of this site, especially the helpers, moderators, and guru's as those of you that help guard my security. To all of you: "Thank You."

Regards,
Bobby

#6 baumanja

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 04:16 PM

FYI, I'm reading this thread because a similar charge just appeared on my corporate Visa account; now it's my turn to try and get the charge taken off...

#7 olso0880

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 09:18 PM

FYI, I'm reading this thread because a similar charge just appeared on my corporate Visa account; now it's my turn to try and get the charge taken off...

View Post


Mine too, in October. I haven't contacted my bank about it yet, but I did find this online:

Milleniumpad

It looks like the Astor Berning Software Group is responsible for this site, but there's no street address on their contact page, just email. The purchase price of Milleniumpad is, of course, $9.55.

Interesting that on the nav menu they spell License the American way, but on the page itself it's spelled Licence.

Could this have been buried in the EULA of something else?

J -- hi, by the way, I'm new here. :)

#8 Lastchance

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 04:57 PM

It just happened to me too! I just got off the phone with my credit card company (mastercard) and they said they would investigate but in the mean time, they have credited my account and they are charging a dispute to the charges. The Astor Berning here seems to bill from Wilmington, DE. I'm NOT paying! I was out of town during the date of the charge/post so I KNOW that I didn't use it! I typically have a low valued credit card that I use ONLY for internet purchases. I think it's an inside job! Having been teh victim of identity theft, the investigators have told me that it is becoming more and more apparent that people "inside" are making the charges. They look for people who hardly use their card (me) and people who excessively use their card (not me) to avoid getting caught too soon. Mine too was for $9.55.

#9 jtb

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 03:17 AM

Add me to the growing list of 'could have been' victims. When I called the credit card company, Mastercard - citicorp, they asked a few questions and issued an immediate credit.

When I searched the web all I found was this entry. I even found the Google link listed above - here, NOT in Google. A real scarceity of info. It looks like an artist using 'real' company names but a phoney address to gather the low hanging fruit of the credit card business. Probably hitting on thousands of accounts.

My problem - I had to contact the card company to get it straight. They know it's a scam and they let it continue, only correcting those accounts that complain. Let's see, the phoney company bills 100,000 accounts. 20 % complain and get a refund. 80 % are oblivious to the charge. The fraud agents get the money - but wait - the crdit card company gets a percentage of the "sale" as well. It's in the card companies interest not to correct the problem, even when they know it's a scam. They are guilty of enabling and allowing wire fraud for a profit. IN MY OPINION.

Since the card companies have all forced us customers to accept arbitration instead of a class action civil lawsuit, maybe someone will have the guts to consider going after criminal charges against ALL the involved parties. Any takers?

B

#10 akosatka

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 01:36 PM

Email address removed. cnm

This one was a BIG surprise to me. I'm in the security business (airport design, not IT) and didn't think it could happen. Same results -- phone call to that number that simply begins with "If you want to leave a message.... etc." Like others here, I nearly decided that $9.55 wasn't worth chasing, but it got me wondering just what I bought, and where - I'm VERY careful about auditing my monthly charges, and this is the reason why - and the reason I use a credit card, which I can, indeed, refuse to pay when problems arise. Use a debit card, and the money is already gone. Just imagine if these schmucks can do this on 10,000 cards, rotating every month.

Easy solution: REFUSE to pay. Look on the back of your VISA or other card, and be sure to write a letter of refusal before 60 days, in the case of my VISA. If they get enough of these, they'll do the groud work. I also plan to send a copy to the Attorney General of Delaware, since that's where they appear to be operating from, and copies to the Federal Trade Commission and FCC, since it does appear to be using interstate commerce.

Regards, Art

Edited by cnm, 11 April 2005 - 03:36 PM.


#11 akosatka

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 01:37 PM

Ooops. The response information is on the back of your statement, not your card. sorry.

This one was a BIG surprise to me.  I'm in the security business (airport design, not IT) and didn't think it could happen.  Same results -- phone call to that number that simply begins with "If you want to leave a message.... etc."   Like others here, I nearly decided that $9.55 wasn't worth chasing, but it got me wondering just what I bought, and where - I'm VERY careful about auditing my monthly charges, and this is the reason why - and the reason I use a credit card, which I can, indeed, refuse to pay when problems arise.  Use a debit card, and the money is already gone.  Just imagine if these schmucks can do this on 10,000 cards, rotating every month.

Easy solution:  REFUSE to pay.  Look on the back of your VISA or other card, and be sure to write a letter of refusal before 60 days, in the case of my VISA.  If they get enough of these, they'll do the groud work.  I also plan to send a copy to the Attorney General of Delaware, since that's where they appear to be operating from, and copies to the Federal Trade Commission and FCC, since it does appear to be using interstate commerce.

Regards,  Art

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#12 Misereor

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 12:44 AM

Since I'm not from the US, I don't know if it would be possible to simply get a new card, but it would seem to be the easiest solution not to have this sor of thing happen again for a while.

Edited by Misereor, 12 April 2005 - 12:44 AM.


#13 dragonnfly

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 09:14 AM

[SIZE=7] I too have the same 9.55 charge on my debit card (visa) I filled out the form at the bank and they said the 4 would be back in my account in about 5 days. I am getting a new card but a better way to approach this would be to figure out what transactions we all had that were similar. I read (Im not sure at which site) that someone had a eBay/Paypal transaction not long before this happened. I did also. I have cancelled my card and will be getting another, but if I use it on paypal again is it just going to happen again? I would be curious to know if anyone else had a paypal transaction in the last 2 weeks or so before this charge appeared?

#14 jtb

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 10:43 AM

I read (Im not sure at which site) that someone had a eBay/Paypal transaction not long before this happened.  I did also.  I have cancelled my card and will be getting another, but if I use it on paypal again is it just going to happen again?  I would be curious to know if anyone else had a paypal transaction in the last 2 weeks or so before this charge appeared?

View Post



I had my charge last Nov. I didn't use paypal or ebay. Not then, not now.

That month it was the only charge on that card. Stood out like sore thumb.

jtb

#15 Bobby

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 04:00 AM

I don't believe it was ebay nor paypal. However, you may find this article from CastleCops interesting. http://castlecops.co...nested-0-0.html
The only thing I can think of is that I did (and I really should know better) order a product from a vendor that did not have the order page on a secure site. There was no problem with getting my order but the article does warn about transmitting data over an unsecure site.
Speaking of phishing, this list may help those who may have been an unwitting victim. I didn't see one that jogged my memory but that doesn't mean I still wasn't a victim because someone did, in fact, use my number to get the $9.95 http://www.antiphish...ng_archive.html
Finally, I did leave a complaint with the proper State and Federal authorities but, until the list of victims gets very long, I'm not to sure anyone in these agencies is going to work very hard for $9.95

Bobby

Edited by Bobby, 01 May 2005 - 04:07 AM.


#16 darealbigtigga

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 01:19 PM

I think iv'e heard of this
:rant:

#17 rick1778

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 07:44 AM

I just got dinged with the 9.55 astor berning charge on my card too
5/2/05.
I researched the problem and came up with a software company (probably ficticious) astor berning software sells a product called Milleniumpad for 9.55
it also seems ficticious. no phone number and email address gets returned as undeliverable. I recently made two POS purchases from companies I had not done bussiness with before but that may just be a coincedence.
Had to get new Visa number and close account .
I dont know how to stop this company seems to be in Delaware.
and are still getting away with this..check all your accounts carefully

#18 oldlymect

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 07:06 PM

I have a mastercard debit card and just noticed the Astor Benning $9.55 charge. Did anyone happen to link this to a recent purchase at Ikea? They are a sweidsh company and I wonder if the leak is somewhere in their network.

#19 out2lunch

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 04:30 PM

Astor Berning is still at it. I disputed a $9.55 charge on my Direct Merchant's Bank MasterCard, that Direct Merchant's Bank immediately removed without incident (Thank you DMB).

Here's what a whois lookup yields for the milleniumpad.net domain that is apparently owned by Aster Berning Software Group, LLC:

------------- Cut 'n Paste -------------
[whois.opensrs.net]
Registrant:
Astor Berning, LLC.
3422 Old Capitol Trail, Suite 1288
Wilmington, DE 19808
US

Domain name: MILLENIUMPAD.NET

Administrative Contact:
Ayzen, Arkady milleni@addr.com
3422 Old Capitol Trail, Suite 1288
Wilmington, DE 19808
US
8003076961 Fax: 8003076961

Technical Contact:
www.123cheapdomains.com - -, Domain Registrations -- jonathan@123cheapdomains.com
1032 Irving Street, # 603
Renew / Manage domain at 123CHEAPDOMAINS.COM - Keep for memo
For support, please send email to: help@123cheapdomains.com
San Francisco, Ca 94122
US
1-415-682-3859


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1-415-682-3859
http://www.123cheapdomains.com
Phone support available 10AM-6PM PST Mon-Fri
This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords,
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----------End of Cut 'n Paste ----------

The address in the whois record is for one of those business presence providers. There's really no one there except for a mail forwarding service.

Regards,
Marc




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