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Internet Scam Warnings
By Mary Sparrowdancer

After using my debit card online to purchase a kitchen sink drain strainer and a few other cheap items from Dr. Leonard's Discount house, I was offered a coupon declaring I was eligible to take $10 off my next purchase.  Since I had been a customer of Dr. Leonard's for a few months, I assumed this was a legitimate offer and clicked on the "coupon."  One month later, on December 7, 2007, I spotted a strange, flat fee of $10 from "Shopper Discounts 800-8898776 CT" billed to and removed from my bank account.  I had never heard of them before, but I had just somehow paid them $10..
Upon investigating, I discovered that when I clicked on the above $10 "coupon," all of my personal information including my debit card number (which I had used to pay for my Dr. Leonard's order) had been copied and handed over to a second corporation doing business as "Shopper Discounts."  Shopper Discounts then used this information to enroll me in their own "club" without my authorization or knowledge. Their club is not free. The cost of their "club" is $10.00 per month, an amount which was to be billed to and removed from my bank account every month unless or until I happened to catch this bogus charge and stop it (which I did as soon as the charge appeared). I suspected I was not alone in this "membership" scheme. In checking, I discovered Dr. Leonard's is just one of the many retailers or travel reservation companies who have entered into the above business arrangement with Webloyalty.com.Inc, of which Shopper Discounts is a DBA.
There have been thousands of complaints against Shopper Discounts, including some rather horrifying complaints in which Shopper Discounts apparently "sent email notifications" that if the trial membership (into which the person had been entered without their knowledge) was not cancelled within three months, this would result in an additional charge of $96.00 against the person's bank account. Most claimed to have never seen these "notifications" - a legitimate claim since emails like this would most likely be recognized as spam and be deleted, (as they were in my case).
The fraudulent $96.00 charge has caused some unfortunate people to become overdrawn in their accounts, resulting in additional charges. Others have reported being charged $9.00 per month, instead of $10.00. As to be expected when corporations think they are entitled to everything they can get away with, law suits have been filed, and boycotts have been called for.
Not four days after the above theft, on December 11, 2007, two more fraudulent, unauthorized charges showed up charged to my bank account against my debit card, each charge removing $24.95 from my bank account.  This $49.90 removed from my checking account was not taken by Shopper Discounts.  These new charges were from yet another company that also apparently thinks it can get away with anything, this one because it happens to be in some sort of an agreement with Oprah's "Dr Phil."
I had briefly patronized this firm back in September of 2005 before realizing they were not what they claimed to be. As soon as I realized this, I immediately canceled all of my ties with them and assumed they were out of my life permanently. Over two years would pass, however, before they again surfaced in my life, this time making fraudulent charges against my debit card/checking account.
I do not know how long these shady artists can keep our credit card information in order to drum up illegal funds now and then, but the apparent answer is "indefinitely." I am not listing the name of this particular company because after spending yesterday fighting with their incompetent staff, demanding the return of the $49.90 they had stolen from me, after listening to their claims that they could not find any record of this "transaction," after being told I had to give them my account information when I have no account with them, after reading the emails they sent to me in which they claimed they needed my email address (???), they refunded the $49.90 without further comment on December 12, 2007. I'm still waiting for the Shopper Discounts refund of $10.00
In the meantime, however, I have canceled my debit card and ordered a new one and am thinking it might be a good idea to do this on a regular basis. My suggestion for others is this: if your bank displays your information online and if you use debit cards and make purchases on the internet, check your bank account daily. If you use credit cards, go through your monthly statement carefully. Don't assume (as many have) that small flat fees such as $10.00, or $9.00, etc., are simply legitimate fees that you actually owe. You might be sending your hard-earned dollars off as donations to a Jabba the Hutt, bottomless pit corporation that is already worth hundreds of millions and is still hungry for more.
mary is the author of a bestselling book, "Love Song," which has just been released again in English, and has also just been translated and released in Japanese, and will soon be released in German.  She is an investigative journalist who is a frequent contributor to Rense.com.  
www.sparrowdancer.com  Reach her here -sparrowdancer1@earthlink.net
Various references attributed to other human beings -


Shopper Discounts refunded my $10 on 12-13-7 right after the publication of my story on Rense.com

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