One of the most frustrating problems is becoming a victim of a credit card fraud and not even realizing it could be happening. Fortunately, US law limits the cardholder’s liability in these cases, especially when the consumer immediately reports the problem once known to them. However, one particular scam attempts to avoid the consumer realizing the card is compromised and is quickly becoming popular with fraudsters. Known as triangulation, it involves a complex scam with your credit card information. In this case the old adage holds true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

When a consumer is using online sales sites that are not known or trusted it’s often difficult to know exactly with who you are giving your credit card information. These sites offer goods and services that would otherwise be found on familiar sites like Amazon and Ebay but at substantial discounted savings to attract customers. The fraudsters operate this site and take the consumer’s credit card information, name, and address for the sale. The fraudsters then hold that information and use a previously used credit card to purchase the item under the consumer’s name. At first, the sale appears to be legitimate to the consumer because the goods or services are delivered to the consumer as expected. However, no sales receipt or record will appear for the transaction requested. Instead, the fraudsters will then make other purchases with the stolen card data, which is far more than the original item purchased and passed through different online sales sites.

This creates a unique problem for law enforcement because often the crimes occurring on the web are originated from other countries. On top of this, the fraudsters will operate only for a few weeks before closing down their web site and creating a new one. The victims normally don’t realize the fraud until their billing statements arrive, up to 30 days later and then attempt to reverse those charges on their bill. All the goods purchased with the stolen card data are then offered for sale through the new web site, with new victims offering their credit card information for the purchase, thereby creating a new cycle of fraud victims.

The best method to avoid becoming a victim of triangulation is to only use trusted web sites for purchases. When that’s not possible, do a bit of internet research on the company and only provide your credit card information to companies in the United States or Canada. Read reviews, complaints, and know how many years the company has been in business. Call the telephone number and be certain to speak with a live person to ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate business. A little due diligence by researching the company online will save headaches and more importantly, money.