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Old 02-03-2012, 02:57 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 10,105
Impending fraud? Unauthorized pending debit from Amazon (need answer fast)

I just checked my online banking site and noticed a $1 pending charge from Amazon. I've been an Amazon customer for years and never had an issue like this before. But, I haven't bought anything from them recently. The only thing I did is sign up for Mechanical Turk a couple days ago, and I did a few small jobs. Made about $10, but I haven't asked them to pull it into my account. It's just sitting there on MTurk for now.

The line on my online statement says: POS DEBIT AMZN.COM/BIL WA

I contacted Amazon's live chat (love that feature, btw) and the rep confirmed there is no recent activity on my account. She forwarded it onto a billing specialist who's going to investigate the matter. I presume this means someone got ahold of my debit card and is using it unauthorized... but, I was wondering if there was a chance Mechanical Turk does this?

I get paid in the morning, and my tax check should be deposited shortly... so it's important that I resolve this ASAP. I know my bank can't do anything about a pending charge anyway, not until it clears. And, I'll probably call to get a new debit card re-issued in the morning. But before I do that, I wanted to ask if there's any chance this could be legitimate. Thanks.
Old 02-03-2012, 04:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 10,105
Update: the pending charge just disappeared. I don't know if I should be more or less worried. I do a biweekly virus scan, and just did another one, and I don't have any infections.
Old 02-03-2012, 05:58 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,781
Sounds like it could have just been some kind of clerical error.
Old 02-03-2012, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
I had this happen with MTurk too. I think it was just a hold (not an actual charge) to verify your bank account (or something like that--I might not be saying it right, but I don't think it's any kind of problem).
Old 02-03-2012, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 10,105
Originally Posted by Blackberry View Post
I had this happen with MTurk too. I think it was just a hold (not an actual charge) to verify your bank account (or something like that--I might not be saying it right, but I don't think it's any kind of problem).
Thanks for letting me know. If I were a normal person who slept normal hours, I wouldn't even have noticed the charge. I think I'll proceed, cautiously optimistic.
Old 02-04-2012, 07:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1
This happened to me also. I investigated, and this is what I found out.
I also signed up for turk looking to make some side cash. I have used Amazon since 2007, so I kind of trust them. Well as a result of using Amazon Pay(in order to get paid),Amazon runs an account check, to verify a proper place to send funds to. I understand this all.

What I don't understand is why they did it without prior authorization. I also happened to check my bank account, and found that they had put a hold on $1.00. What gives them the right to access my private account without authorization?

In this day and age, a person has to be vigilant against fraud and identity theft. I actually thought some sleazy crook was pulling a fast one! As far as I am concerned, no one person or machine has the right to invade the privacy of my account.

thank you
John H
Old 02-05-2012, 11:20 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,445
Never use a debit card for anything other than a face-to-face transaction that you completely control. Online transactions should be using a credit card.
Old 02-07-2012, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: somewhere East of there
Posts: 8,265
From the description, it's an ACH POS (Point of Sale) transaction, meaning you physically swiped your card or signed a form, not just entered your debit card on the interwebs.

6. POS-Point of Sale Entry-
These two Standard Entry Class Codes represent point of sale debit applications
in either a shared (SHR) or non-shared (POS) environment. These transactions
are most often initiated by the consumer via a plastic access card.
- POS is the Standard Entry Class Code
- Consumer presents a plastic access card (debit card) at the Point of
sale for a single-entry debit transaction. A PIN number is typically
- Consumer signs an authorization form permitting the financial
institution/store to debit his/her account for ACH transactions originated by
the debit card.
- The debit card is swiped through a POS terminal, capturing account
data from the magnetic strip on the back of the debit card. Using the ATM
Network, an authorization of available funds is received. The consumer is
given a receipt for his/her purchase.
- These transactions are conducted within a non-shared environment.
(No contractual agreement between ODFI and RDFI) *
- The retail store sends the POS information to the ODFI/Third Party
Processor, who then sends the info electronically to the FED. The FED
credit’s the ODFI’s account and debits the RDFI’s accounts on settlement
day. The ODFI credits the retail stores’ accounts and the RDFIs debit the
consumers’ accounts.

* ODFI/RDFI - Originating/Receiving Depository Financial Institution - a fancy way of saying the other bank & your bank (RDFI)

I'm assuming you didn't swipe your card an Amazon in Washington state, in which case your bank could throw a rules violation against the other bank for improper SEC code. However, since it appears to only have memo posted to your account & wasn't there when the bank was done processing, I wouldn't be too concerned about it.
It's also possible it wasn't initiated by Amazon, but someone unscrupulous putting that description. Your bank has more info on this than appears on your statement & could trace it back to the originating bank, who could trace it to their customer if that was the case.

At most I'd call your bank & say, 'Hey, what is this? Should I be concerned about it? Do you need to issue me a new debit card?'
Oh, & yeah, never use a debit card on line, they don't have as much protections as credit cards.

[rant] debit cards in general are scary. I've seen too many cases of ill timed fraud, which means the check/bill payment you just wrote to the rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance, credit card, etc. bounces. Your bank will end up making you whole, but there's no guarantee that the other side will waive the late/bounce fee that you incurred. Personally, I have an ATM-only card & credit cards.[/rant]
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