Recently, I’ve been barraged by calls from consumers who have claimed that some form of my company name appeared on their bank statement (as ‘startupproductions’ or ‘mystartupproductions’ or ‘startupproductionif’ or ‘startupproductionselle’ or ‘startupproductionlifes’ or ‘startupproductionelect’) and that a range of charges have been deducted from their account, anywhere from $10.99 to $24.99. While I’m so sorry this has happened to you, this was not my company. I have not taken any charges from anyone’s account, nor do I have the ability to do so. Let me tell you a little about my company to reassure you of that fact:
- My customers are exclusively small business owners that I have personally vetted, after several meetings, after full research of their company, and after a full discussion of their needs when it comes to Design, Functionality, and Content needs for their business.
- Once they have been approved to be one of my clients, they receive a full estimate of all charges to design their website and provide internet marketing services (social media, blog writing, logo design, graphic design of ad projects, and analytics reports of their business internet marketing activity).
- Only after signature of their signed estimate and contract, then they will send me a partial payment. I do not have the ability to take money from them. And the only way I receive payment from clients is check, cash, money order or Paypal. I do not have any other credit card gateway to accept payments. Only Paypal is used for clients who’d rather pay online or used their credit/debit card, instead of sending me a check.
- I choose Paypal as it is the safest way for my clients (who are small business owners) to pay me. Why? I have less liability as a business, because I never see their credit card or bank card information. As a receiver of PayPal funds, all I see is the customer name, their email and the payment amount they have sent to my business. – “PayPal is considered one of the safest ways to receive money online. All PayPal transactions are protected by advanced data encryption. PayPal also offers seller protection protocols to prevent fraudulent activities and make the platform safe for sellers.“- Paypal.com
- None of my services even start close to any price range of $10.99 or $24.99 but start in the hundreds of dollars. Nor do I provide any services to the general public. I am a B2B exclusively, which means I only provide and offer products to other small to medium sized businesses.
- I have reported it as fraud to federal and state organizations (including the FTC, Local Law enforcement, the FBI internet crimes division, and the Attorney General’s office) because someone is using my company name or a form of it (with small changes to it) to charge consumers (not business owners) erroneous charges. I am unfortunately a victim too.
- UPDATE: I called the number on one consumer’s bank statement on June 26th (who was kind enough to give it to me) and the phone call was answered by a third-party support line in the Philippines. She said the $24.19 was for a raffle entry to win a $500 Walmart card. When I asked her why she was using my company name on the charge, she said she had no idea who the merchant was and could not give me a contact person, a website or terms & conditions of the raffle. When I tried to press her for more information on who the originator was on the raffle, she refused to answer. I did let her know that I have reported her to the FTC, FBI and the police, and then she hung up on me.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A FRAUDULENT CHARGE ON YOUR BANK ACCOUNT:
After a discussion with the FTC this morning, they have suggested consumers contacting me take the following steps.
- Report the fraudulent activity at: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/. Report the exact name shown on your credit card and the phone number with it
- Call your bank to tell them to put a hold or stop payment on that charge as it is fraudulent activity.
Also Experian.com suggest the following additional steps:
- See if you have identity theft insurance, if not look into applying for it.
- Contact the company’s phone number that is on your credit card statement.
- Add a fraud alert to your credit reports and freeze your consumer reports.
- If you’d like to report it to me, because I’m keeping track of all charges and reporting it myself to ReportFraud.FTC.gov, you can fill out the form below. This is not required.
REPORT YOUR FRAUD ACTIVITY TO STARTUP PRODUCTION, LLC:
This is not required but I’m reporting it to the FTC for my business’ own IdentityTheft report.