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‘I suggest you check’: Odd $8.19 taken from Aussie bank accounts

·4-min read
(Source: Getty, Reddit/Yahoo Finance)
(Source: Getty, Reddit/Yahoo Finance)

Several customers of Australia’s largest bank have noticed an unusual payment they don’t recognise on their bank account statements, leading to speculation that Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) customer data has been compromised.

Over the past week, some Australians shared their observations of an unauthorised payment to ‘Shudder’ on online forums like Reddit, OzBargain and review platform Trustpilot.

“If you bank with CBA, I suggest you check your transaction for Shudder,” wrote one Reddit user.

“There is a lot of this [popping] up around the place the last few hours … people saying that they are having a relatively small amount of money taken out by a company called shudder.”

Also read:

Shudder is a legitimate online streaming service based in the US that specialises in horror, thriller and supernatural movies.

“Shudder has the largest human-curated selection of high-quality, spine-tingling, and provocative films, TV series, and originals,” its website states.

(Source: Shudder website/Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Shudder website/Yahoo Finance screenshot)

Australians reported being charged $8.19 for the service – despite never subscribing to the service.

“Had two charges from Shudder of about $8 each in the last week on one of our CBA cards, we are not subscribed to the service,” said another Reddit user. “We were assuming that the card had been compromised but couldn’t figure out where/how.”

On Trustpilot, one user said they had never heard of the company “[and] I got charged $8.19 out of my CBA account”. “Had to cancel my card,” they added.

Many users online remarked that this unauthorised transaction was only happening with Commonwealth Bank accounts specifically. “Interesting that it's all CBA cards,” said a Redditor.

(Source: Reddit/Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Reddit/Yahoo Finance screenshot)

A user who started an OzBargain thread about this issue pointed out that the charge happened on a card that he never used.

“I quickly called CBA and flagged the issue, they cancelled the card and have lodged a dispute. The strange thing is, this particular card has never been used as I just use the account for savings, the card sits in my drawer so the details are not online.”

More than one user speculated whether the bank had its customer data stolen.

“The fact I have NOT used this card online makes me wonder if somehow details have been stolen from the actual bank,” said the OzBargain user.

Another on Reddit questioned if it was an “internal data leak”.

(Source: Trustpilot/Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Trustpilot/Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: OzBargain/Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: OzBargain/Yahoo Finance screenshot)

‘Shudder isn’t to blame’

Though several users who were victims of the unauthorised payments condemned Shudder and believed the company to be “elaborate scammers”, many also jumped to its defense and said it “wasn’t Shudder’s fault” and was a “legitimate streaming company”.

“Shudder isn't to blame for this. It's no different to someone using a stolen credit card at a physical store – it's not the store's fault, it's the person who stole it,” said a user on Trustpilot.

“My 5-star rating is based on the communication I have had with Shudder over this. They responded quickly, and were able to cancel the account that had used my details. Please contact Shudder and let them know, and then cancel your card through your bank.”

A page on Shudder’s support site dated to April 2020 urges people to “please contact us immediately” if they spot any charges from Shudder they didn’t authorise.

“We take fraud, identity theft, and other unauthorized access very seriously. We can immediately cancel the account so that no further charges are billed to your card,” Shudder stated.

The streaming service also asked that people “refrain from processing a dispute with your bank/credit card company” and instead work directly with Shudder to resolve the issue first.

“Please send us a note using our contact form and include 'SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY' in your note to us.”

‘Security a top priority’: CBA

A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson confirmed with Yahoo Finance that the bank had discovered a problem with the Shudder service and was declining affected transactions.

A Commonwealth Bank Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) at Circular Quay, Sydney Australia. Thursday 16th January 2014. (Photo: Steve Christo) (Photo by Steve  Christo/Corbis via Getty Images)
CBA customers are completely protected against online fraud when it's not their fault, the bank said. (Photo by Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images)

Customers will be fully compensated for any online fraud, the spokesperson said.

“We offer our customers the benefit from our 100 per cent guarantee against online fraud where they are not at fault. Where there is fraudulent activity, our process is to fully reimburse our customers as quickly as possible to minimise inconvenience,” the spokesperson told Yahoo Finance.

Customers’ banking security was a “top priority” for the bank, which invests in “state of the art” anti-fraud technology, they added.

“If a customer notices an unusual transaction on their account, they should contact us on 13 2221 immediately to report it. “

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