Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Privacymatters.com and Sale by Ambush
I think I've just been scammed by a website called Privacymatters.com. I noticed a couple of $19.95 charges from them on my credit card statement. I went to look for a website and somewhat to my surprise, I found one. I certainly didn't remember ordering any of their "services," if they have any so (at suicidal risk?) I sent them an email telling them to cancel me and refund my money. A couple of days later, to my stunned astonishment, I got an email saying that I had been canceled. No mention of a refund, of course.
I circulated a query among a few of my friends; I turned up one who said he thinks he'd been stuck by the same device. Meanwhile, a couple of others said they'd found similar unexpected/unknown charges on their AT&T accounts.
My guess is what I've got here is a "sale by ambush" scam. If I went to the effort of battering down all the cyberwalls here I would find out that why yes, once I did flic my finger on a key that authorized this kind of charge--even though none but the most paranoid and attentive would have noticed. They charge you until you tell them to stop and then they stop. The same strategy underlies the "get your credit card number" game--get the card number and charge small stuff to it until somebody notices.
I suppose there is a remote chance may be defaming a blameless enterprise with an unimpeachable record of consumer satisfaction and a medal for perfect attendance at Sunday School. On the other hand, I just googled /Privacymatters.com scam/ and came up with 11,600 hits (see supra). A couple of them seem to be Privacymatters.com, telling us what a wonderful outfit they are. I didn't read all of the other 11,598.
Update: Well, how 'bout that. I now find a message saying they'll credit a refund.
Update II: A desultory bit of blogging makes it clear I am way behind on this one. Privacymatters.com turns out to be part of an outfit called "Adaptive Marketing," a whole Gothic novel itself with chapters involving Frelix Salmon, Ben Stein and a blogger named Flaeur de Fraude.