ORLANDO, Fla. - How many of you check your bank statements or PayPal accounts
- looking for hidden, unauthorized charges? One woman in Palm Bay says she thought she had a handle on all her charges. But a closer look revealed she had lost hundreds of dollars to a company she had never even heard of.
"I felt quite foolish," because financial systems are something I know about," said Nancy Shelley, who used to install computer software around the country but is now retired. "The fact that it could happen to me says that it can happen to anyone."
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Shelley says she noticed the $29.95 charge to a company called SafeCart on a recent bank statement. When she started investigating, she discovered the charges had been happening every month, for two years. There were almost more than $700 total in charges that Shelley says she didn't know about and, to her knowledge, did not authorize. She says the monthly SafeCart charge had gone undetected because it was such a small amount, one that looked like what she spent to fill up her car with gas.
"I have no idea what it is paying for," said Shelley. "I have no idea where it came from,"
So what is SafeCart? Its website brags that it is one of the internet's leading credit card payment systems. The charge for the company often comes after you buy something like an e-book, hardware or software online. Shelley admits she makes a lot of purchases online, but it wasn't until News 6 told her to do a Google search that she discovered all the online warnings from other customers.
We found dozens of comments and reviews claiming the company is pulling an automatic billing scam. One online review said, "It was done without my knowledge or consent." "Another said, "PayPal should put them on their fraud list."
The list of complaints go on and on.
Shelley says she even reached out to PayPal since the charges were taken out of her PayPal account. But says she hasn't received any sort of refund or even feedback.
"They didn't know what SafeCart was," said Shelley. "They didn't know what the transactions were, they didn't know what they were going to do. They never made any commitment to get back to me to say they would follow up on it."
Shelley says while she'd love to get results and get her money back, her main mission is to inform others. She encourages anyone who reads this to check his or her financial statements to see if they too have unknowingly been paying this charge.
"If we reach one more person who doesn't have it happen -- then its a win," said Shelley. "Even if each person is only losing $29.95 a month, someone is making a good living off of this. That's unacceptable."
Shelley says on the SafeCart website, it even claims to be e-secure and has the backing of the Better Business Bureau.
News 6 checked with the Better Business Bureau serving Northeast Florida and the Southeast Atlantic and discovered SafeCart is accredited with the Better Business Bureau in Victoria British Columbia, where SafeCart is located.
Shannon Nelson, the communications coordinator for the Florida BBB chapter, sent News 6 this link.
The agency explains that RevenueWire handles the sales and distribution of software and digital products for many developers and publishers worldwide and that RevenueWire's payment processing system is SafeCart.
"SafeCart is not a scam and complaints indicate that generally, people aren't reading about the automatic renewal service and the free software download," Nelson said.
News 6 also reached out to the Florida Office of the Attorney General to check if SafeCart had any complaints listed there. The agency's spokesperson, Kylie, stated:
"Since January 2016, we have not received any complaints directly about Safecart. However, we did locate two complaints involving an alleged tech imposter scams that mention the use of SafeCart as a payment method."
According to PayPal's community board, most complaints stem from people not reading the fine print about auto renewal services when they click on a free download of the software they ordered.
The best thing to do is check your settings on your banking and PayPal accounts--and make sure you cancel any auto-renewals you don't want.
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