I recently noticed 3 separate charges, spaced two weeks apart, for $39.99 each on my bank statement. The charge descriptions feature websites that I don't recognize - two charges are from one site and one is from another and both websites look identical. The sites say they are 3rd party collectors on behalf of a subscription I signed up for. When I emailed them, they asked for the first 6 and last 4 digits of my cc #. Another question on this site asked something similar, but the asker did have a relationship with the company. Since I don't know this company, is this an appropriate piece of information for them to request of me? They say they can't find records using my name or email.

  • 3
    Do you have a subscription that costs $39.99 every two weeks?
    – pboss3010
    Mar 6, 2019 at 19:09
  • Possible duplicate of money.stackexchange.com/questions/47450/…
    – Nosjack
    Mar 6, 2019 at 19:16
  • Agree that it's a partial duplicate, but there's a difference between dealing with Dropbox and with debt collectors. Mar 6, 2019 at 19:21
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    @RupertMorrish When the OP says " 3rd party collectors", I assume this means accounts receivable/billing, rather than a debt collector. A debt collector wouldn't normally have access to someone's credit card number. If this is a debt collector that somehow got a credit card number, that's another matter entirely. Mar 6, 2019 at 23:22

2 Answers 2


Don't contact them further. Dispute the charges with your credit card company. They will ask the debt collector to prove that you signed up for this subscription.

There are honest debt collectors, but even they rarely do any diligence on whether the debt they are buying is real, or simply amounts attached to stolen credit card details.

  • Thanks, that was my instinct, too. I'm already coordinating with my bank (it's a card through them) and they were also unable to uncover any further data when contacting the websites in question. i was hoping to avoid canceling the card because of the annoying wait for a replacement, but it seems like that will be the outcome. Thanks again for the input!
    – drs
    Mar 6, 2019 at 20:16
  • @drs, FWIW some banks will expedite a replacement card for a fee. I think my bank offered to overnight one for $14 when I recently needed to replace one. Granted, it sucks to pay anything for this, but it might be worth the money to you to avoid any extra hassle. Mar 6, 2019 at 20:55

Those digits are the less sensitive parts of the PAN (Primary Account Number), and presumably the company already has your credit card number already, since they've submitted transactions based on it. But if the only information they can search on is PAN, that implies that the only information they are collecting is the PAN, and merchants are not supposed to accept transactions merely based on someone having the PAN.

Always ensure that, at a minimum, you collect the following details from your customer:
– The card account number
– The name as it appears on the card
– The card expiration date as it appears on the card
– The cardholder’s statement address


And it also means that they are storing, if not the complete PAN, those 10 digits in non-hashed form, and presumably using those digits as customer IDs.

Furthermore, merchants are supposed to take reasonable steps to ensure that when the cardholder sees the merchant name on their bill, they recognize it.

The merchant name is the single most important factor in cardholder recognition of transactions. Therefore, it is critical that the merchant name, while reflecting the merchant’s “Doing Business As” (DBA) name, also be clearly identifiable to the cardholder.


So submitting a transaction under a merchant name other than the merchant that the cardholder interacted with is, at best, frowned upon. Given their behavior, it is reasonable for you to initiate a chargeback based on the fact that you don't recognize the merchant; it's on them to include sufficient information in the transaction for you to recognize the transaction, not on you to track down the transaction. They will then have to submit information as to what product/services you allegedly received to the credit card network.


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