PHOENIX — Why are bogus Google charges still ending up on credit card accounts across the country? What's being done about it?
We've been asking Google and the banks for months. Yet, the scam continues affecting more people. And some of them say they're having a hard time getting these fake charges removed.
"I looked at the balance and was like 'what'," says Jeannine Gailey.
It's her Citibank card balance and it's much higher than what she expected.
"I knew I hadn't spent much money... As I scrolled down, I saw this $888 charge from the Google store," she says.
Jeannine says she never bought anything from the Google store. Further, it happened at 3 a.m. when she says she was sound asleep.
So, Jeannine knew "when" the charge went through. But she says despite contacting her bank and Google, she still has no idea of the who, the what and where it happened.
Jeannine's charge is recent.
But for months, dozens of people from across the country let me know they've had similar bogus Google charges, usually repeated and for much less.
"There were about 13 transactions about 99 cents, " Matthew told me in November.
Matthew lives in Texas and says the charges appeared on his local bank card. Jovan in Tulsa says he had repeated $5 bogus Google charges on his Discover card.
There were 99 cent Google charges on Gabriel's Bank of America card. All of the charges say Google Play or Google with a person's name after it.
Is Google concerned about all of these people?
How can scammers use the Google name and get these charges through? I wish I could tell you.
Despite repeated attempts to find out, Google only sends me an auto email reply saying "we'll get back to you as soon as possible."
That hasn't happened. And banks only tell us if charges are proven fraudulent, customers won't have to pay them.
Jeannine says Citibank did send her a new card. But her dispute shows on that card as well.
She says after filing a dispute with Google, she got a reply she calls "absolutely ridiculous."
It says, "we were unable to determine fraudulent activity in this case so no refund will be provided by Google."
So, there's still no resolution for Jeannine.
Citibank says, "we are waiting for the merchant to respond to our chargeback request."
We'll continue to push Google and Citibank for answers here and let you know.
It is a good reminder for all of us to check our bank statements line by line and look for unfamiliar charges.
If you've had a recent bogus Google charge on your bank/credit account, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org