Target shoppersA $9.84 charge on your credit or debit card may seem like an innocent transaction, correct? It turns out that the small charge may be thieves “testing” the card they’ve stolen from Target shoppers to make sure it is still valid, as warned by the BBB.

How can I verify this charge is related to the Target thieves?

This “testing” of cards is a common practice for scammers. The thieves charge a small amount — which usually goes unnoticed by the card holder — to a phony business that’s hosted by scammers, then, once the purchase has completely gone through, they will charge larger amounts to the card in an attempt to steal the holder’s money. The particular business that Target scammers are posing as is a customer support company that claims to “refund 100 percent of your last payment” if you’re unsatisfied. A couple of options for company names that you will notice next to the $9.84 charge includes and, however there are nearly 30 other phony business names that the charge could be from. Brian Krebs, former reporter for The Washington Post, has provided a full list of the phony business links related to the scam at the bottom of his post here.

What can I do to reverse the charge and protect myself?

Since the BBB and Krebs’ website have revealed this threat to consumers, there are some ways that you can reverse this transaction and change your payment information, however you must act quickly.

1. DO NOT contact the company: Even though the website claims to refund 100 percent of your payment, you absolutely do not want to contact the customers service representatives because you will only be providing them with more of your personal information that they can use to steal your identity. It’s important for you to remember that the company is not a legitimate company, so there’s no need for you to call or email the customer service representatives for any reason.

2. Report the $9.84 charge to your bank: Call your bank immediately and report the charge as fraudulent. Your bank may already be familiar with the $9.84 charge because it’s been reported by the BBB and numerous new sources. And since most banks take fraudulent activity very seriously, they will more than likely not have a problem reporting it. The bank representative will be able to walk you through the fraud-reporting process.

3. Request a new credit or debit card: Usually when an account has confirmed fraud, the bank requires you to get a new debit or credit card, but if for some reason they don’t offer one, then you should definitely request one.

4. Sign up for identity theft protection: Target has already advised its impacted customers to sign up for identity theft protection, however the service it’s offering lacks in terms of protection. If you’re looking for a service that not only monitors all three of your credit reports — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — but also takes steps to actively protect your identity, such as Internet black market monitoring and public records monitoring, then we’d suggest that you sign up for the top-rated service, Identity Guard. Read our Identity Guard review to learn more about the top-notch service.