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Trevor Stone's Journal
Those who can, do. The rest hyperlink.
Fraud Alert: Adele Services 
25th-Nov-2008 05:32 pm
carmen sandiego
Alert! If you have a credit card, check your online statement. If you have a debit card, check your online bank account. Look for any suspicious charges, especially one from Adele Services. Do it now, it'll only take a minute, and you're better safe than sorry.

I checked my bank account online today and noticed a suspicious charge for 23 cents made on 11/21/2008 to my debit card. The merchant information was
Miscellaneous Transaction ADELE SERVICES 800-764-8104 NY
I'd never heard of such a company. My only recent online purchases were a GoDaddy online renewal a week before and a purchase from apple.com three weeks before.

I googled "adele services" and found several credit card fraud forums discussing charges of similar amounts ($0.20 to $0.26 or so) from Adele Services in the last week. Commenters noted that 1-800-764-8104 is disconnected; I called and received a voicemail-style message saying approximately "This number is not in service." (This was not a phone system error message I recognize, but the 1-800 system might have a different voice.)

I contacted my credit union and they told me to contact Fidelity, a company which handles Visa's "chargeback services." The representative I spoke with said $0.23 is an amount a fraudster would use to test the waters before making a later withdrawl. He said he hadn't talked to other cardholders who'd had a problem with Adele Services and he didn't have a list of merchants to look out for. The representative marked my transaction as disputed and forwarded me to a division to cancel my card. The card cancellation representative instantly disabled my debit card number and told me to call my credit union to get the charge removed. I called my credit union and they told me I can pick up a new card at the branch closest to me. The credit union representative was authorized to remove the 23 cent charge because it was very small; otherwise I'd have to send a short note through the online banking system. In total, the process took about 15 minutes. My time is worth a lot more than 23 cents per 15 minutes, but 15 minutes is certainly worth not having to deal with a $2,000 fraudulent charge next month. Fortunately, I withdrew some $20s from an ATM the other day.

At first I thought the company was named for Adélie penguins, but I just realized they're spelled differently. I don't suppose the company provides services to speakers of an obscure language in Ghana.
26th-Nov-2008 01:02 am (UTC)
I have to wonder if godaddy.com has a security breach....earlier this year my credit card what used on a WoW subscription and a subscription to some foreclosured real estate buyers website. The only other charges I made myself before hand was to godaddy and a restaurant in Boulder. I later got a mailing from the the foreclosure company so the culprit clearly had my address - and the restaurant certainly didn't get my address when I signed the receipt. Luckily, after sending in a suspicious charges form to wamu, the charges were reversed. When my website is up for renewal in a year and a half, I'll be going with someone else.

Edited at 2008-11-26 01:03 am (UTC)
5th-Dec-2008 11:03 am (UTC)
Hah, I just used my card for WoW and I had the charge too. But they could just be trying random card numbers.
26th-Nov-2008 02:13 am (UTC)
Thanks for the alert. Just checked my accounts, and they all look okay.
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