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