March 28, 2006

Massive credit card fraud via various illegal MP3 download sites

It seems that going for the cheapest illegal way is not always the smartest thing to do. Over the past few weeks, Side-Line has been inundated by e-mails from readers from all over the world including the USA, UK, Belgium, France, Holland etc telling they have been the victim of fraudulous use of their credit cards after having entered their credit card to buy illegal download albums for just one dollar, the so-called 'MP3-1dollardeals', from illegal MP3 websites.

These sites, mostly based in Russia, are acting online as being from the UK, USA, Germany etc under over 40 domainnames (including the popular MP3sugar, Audio Store, ...). They have now started picking victims amongst their clients (believed to be several millions) at random to use their cards for other means.

Several of these download sites are also using so-called official credit card verification companies which are in fact bogus companies. As the Russian authorities are not active in fighting piracy it is to be believed that these sites will continue exercising their business.

Through MP3 websites such as MP3sugar and Audio Store the Albanian and Russian mob have found another quick mean to get rich apart from selling drugs and prosituting youngsters. However, the biggest worry for most of the 'victims' will be the news that it appears to be that several credit card companies have refused refunding the frauded cards after it turned out that the credit card users had been buying illegal MP3's online from these companies.

Rumour has it that a blacklist is circulating among the CC companies holding domainnames from illegal sites where customers will not be covered in case of fraud. The sums taken from the cards go from just a 'lousy' 1000 US$ to over 3000 US$. So far the 'MP3-1dollardeals'.

If you have been purchasing illegal downloads, be sure blocking your card right now, your credit card company will most probably NOT cover the costs after fraud as the news about the abuse is spreading quickly. Side-Line contacted several credit card companies on the issue but none were willing to comment officially on this case. One contactperson added off the record that they were "currently looking into it but that customers should not expect to see a refund as stealing is never refunded".


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