Unauthorized credit card charges showing up on movie-streaming service

Unauthorized credit card charges showing up on movie-streaming service
Published: May. 2, 2017 at 9:08 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2017 at 10:42 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - You've heard of Netflix, Hulu, popular movie and TV streaming services like those.

But I bet you haven't heard of PickAFlick.co -- that's '.co,' not '.com' -- and there's something phishy -- that's 'phishy,' not 'fishy' -- about this particular movie-streaming service.

Debbie Lowrey of Eads, Tennessee, has never heard of PickAFlick.co, either. But there it is in black-and-white on her checking account statement: a $48.67 charge from PickAFlick.co.

"I definitely did not sign up," Lowrey said. "I have never heard of PickAFlick.co."

She said she called the website's customer support. She said a guy with a Middle Eastern accent answered.

"He said, 'Oh, you signed up.' I said, 'Oh, no. I did not!'"

Lowrey said the customer service agent then proceeded to rattle off her debit card number and its expiration date.

"I was fuming," she said. "I said I wanted this handled. He said, 'No, no, that's between you and (your) bank."

Remember how I said there was something phishy about PickAFlick.co? I researched the movie-streaming service's website on ScamAdviser.com. Its undercover security operatives test and rate the safety of online retailers and services. Their report revealed PickAFlick.co is using an anonymous service to hide the person or people behind it.

"We've obviously discovered that they are using a privacy service to hide their registration information," said 'Marc,' a ScamAdviser.com investigator. ScamAdviser.com investigators only share their first names. "Now any reputable business that is online and selling a product or service tends not to hide their details, so it's always a little bit of an indicator that there's something amiss."

ScamAdviser.com also discovered something else about PickAFlick.co: two written reviews to ScamAdviser.com from consumers who, just like Lowrey, are not customers of PickAFlick.co, but still suffered unauthorized credit or debit card charges from PickAFlick.co.

"People have had charges levied against their credit accounts," said 'Marc.' "We can't categorically say that it is a scam because we don't know 100 percent sure that it is. It could be that somebody has actually skimmed (the consumer's) card, taken a copy of their card, and used that card on this service."

"The same thing happened to me," Lowrey acknowledged. "Without my permission."

I followed clues on PickAFlick.co that led me to its lawyer, Robert Nogacki. He said someone had registered Lowrey's debit card on PickAFlick.co. He said it slipped passed PickAFlick's security measures, believing Lowrey to be an actual customer.

As for PickAFlick.co using an anonymous service to hide its ownership, Nogacki said, "Anonymizing the ownership is a standard option given to anyone that's registering a domain, primarily because the contact details are otherwise abused (by receiving) spam."

About that rude PickAFlick.co customer service agent who told Debbie Lowrey to take it up with her bank, Nogacki said the agent "...was not following the normal quality standards of the support...Mrs. Lowrey should have been provided with a full refund immediately upon her call."

The day after I reached out to its lawyer, PickAFlick.co credited Lowrey's checking account $48.67.

"They listened to me and Andy Wise," she said.

Another weird thing about PickAFlick.co: its website's home page crawls the same three movie posters over and over again -- three obscure movies from 2011. Don't worry, Netflix and Hulu. It doesn't look like PickAFlick.co's stealing your business anytime soon.

But I'd keep a tight lock on your credit and debit card numbers.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5 via SweepsFeed. All rights reserved.