Lots of small donations = Suspicious?

Over the last several weeks I’ve been receiving a barrage of very small donations from a single person. They range in size from $0.01 USD to $0.05 USD, and the PayPal transaction fee results in a net of $0.00 for me. It’s obviously very suspicious, and my bet is that this individual is trying to artificially inflate their PayPal or eBay reputation. What better way to get a very high reputation than to have a lot of successful payments? Or, maybe they’re trying to inflate my reputation? I don’t get it.

Has anyone else seen similar activity?

7 thoughts on “Lots of small donations = Suspicious?

  1. Peter Bromley says:

    It’s possible, that somebody is using you for “Carding” stolen credit cards.

    This is what Wikipedia says about “Carding” on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_card_fraud

    -Quote-
    Carding

    Carding is a term used for a process to verify the validity of stolen card data. The thief presents the card information on a website that has real-time transaction processing. If the card is processed successfully, the thief knows that the card is still good. The specific item purchased is immaterial, and the thief does not need to purchase an actual product; a Web site subscription or charitable donation would be sufficient. The purchase is usually for a small monetary amount, both to avoid using the card’s credit limit, and also to avoid attracting the bank’s attention. A website known to be susceptible to carding is known as a cardable website.

    In the past, carders used to use computer programs called “generators” to produce a sequence of credit card numbers, and then test them to see which were valid accounts. Another variation would be to take false card numbers to a location that does not immediately process card numbers, such as a trade show or special event. However, this process is no longer viable due to widespread requirement by internet credit card processing systems for additional data such as the billing address, the 3 to 4 digit Card Security Code and/or the card’s expiry date, as well as the more prevalent use of wireless card scanners that can process transactions right away.[3] Nowadays, carding is more typically used to verify credit card data obtained directly from the victims by Skimming or Phishing.

    A set of credit card details that has been verified in this way is known in fraud circles as a phish (see Phishing). A carder will typically sell data files of phish to other individuals who will carry out the actual fraud. Market price for a phish ranges from US$1.00 to US$50.00 depending on the type of card, freshness of the data and credit status of the victim.
    -End quote-

    Thanks for a brilliant program, it’s much more worth than $0,01 ;o)

    Peter!

  2. Timothy Fries says:

    A good rule of thumb in regards to money on the internet: if it looks like something underhanded is going on, it is. I’d suggest contacting PayPal about it immediately. They have a well-known reputation for being a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later company, and it’s likely that they could assume you’re intentionally trying to avoid paying their transaction fees and freeze your account; and unfreezing a PayPal account is a hassle you don’t want to shoulder.

    By contacting them first and appearing upfront about it, you may save yourself the headache of it in the future.

  3. Strange says:

    Be careful of your on-line activity Rick. All these small donations are VERY strange.

  4. Rick Brewster says:

    Peter — hmm, I had not thought of that, but it makes sense! The individual could have a big stash of cards and is trying to figure out which ones work.

    I have contacted PayPal about this but have not heard back yet. I’ve also refunded all of these transactions. We’ll see if I get any more.

  5. Mike says:

    Please, keep us informed about this situation. If I had the money, I’d gladly donate. Paint.NET is worth it.

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