PHOENIX — How close do you look at your bank and credit card statement each month?
If it's not line by line each time, you're in danger of becoming the next bogus Google charge scam victim.
We started seeing it last year — unauthorized charges on Arizonans' bank accounts. Most of the charges then were for $13.01. All of them either said Google Play or Google and someone's name next to the charge.
What's going on? Google didn't seem to care enough to respond to us. But after our story, boy, did we hear from others...
"There were about 13 transactions about 99 cents," Matthew, from Texas, says.
Matthew and dozens across the country told us the scam is growing, involving different amounts and different banks.
Is Google investigating? Do banks care how scammers are getting access to customer accounts?
"Why are these financial institutions being so hush, hush about it? That's the question of the day," Matthew says.
Five months after our first story, surely Google and these big banks would have the bogus charges under control.
Instead, this thing is even bigger. And somehow the charges are now ending up on gift cards.
G found eight unauthorized Google charges on a prepaid Vanilla Visa gift card.
They say Google Play but G says, "I don't have a Google Play account."
Angelica let me know she had almost $1,000 in unauthorized Google domain charges. Even closing accounts and getting new cards doesn't always help.
Catherine says she found a $379 bogus Google charge and called the bank saying, "they canceled my card and re-issued a new one."
She says she thought it was over.
But "a month later, the charge came back."
The bank said, "the charge was listed as recurring and therefore authorized."
So how about help from Google? One victim says, "I couldn't get anyone at Google on the phone."
Another says they did get through, but that Google said "we were unable to confirm fraudulent activity. No refund."
I'll continue to push Google and the banks about how scammers are able to use the company's name and get access to customer accounts.
In the meantime, look through all of your credit/bank statements line by line for any charge you don't recognize and contest it immediately!