Tiny but strange charge on your credit card?

quarters2I just caught an article from The Boston Globe via the Yahoo home page about a rash of mysterious 25-cent charges appearing on credit cards. The article theorizes:

“Two theories of what is going on have advanced on message boards and among consumer advocates:  Someone is trying to find out whether an illegally obtained credit card number will work before making a bigger charge, or they’re trying to rip off tiny amounts from tons of people.

The latter theory has more credibility at the moment. The Better Business Bureau in Louisville reports that, at least so far, those who have been hit with the small charge have yet to get slammed with a bigger charge. The bureau speculates that the number of possible victims could be in the millions.”

Well, I have two theories of my own…might be fun to see who’s right:

1)  The credit card companies are doing this to generate an extra million or so. After all, they’ve been terrorizing their customers with unilateral changes to interest rates, penalties and other terms and conditions, so I just wouldn’t put it past them to literally nickel and dime us like this.

2) Some really smart hacker with a serious beef against credit card companies – and I suspect there are more than a few of those! – has initiated a very expensive and overwhelming drain on the manpower and resources of every credit card issuing bank out there to field all the calls, investigate and rectify thousands of accounts. For a quarter. I’m rooting for this one!

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