Sneaking Suspicions About the Facebook/Zynga Cabal

Lately I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that the Zynga/Facebook cabal is possibly engaged in some sort of  wide spread credit card fraud born from ignorance and malice.  There is no hard evidence to the contrary it’s just random ramblings, but I have had some recent experiences over the past couple months thats given me pause.  So I write this to ask, has anyone else been having these issues?  There is a modis operandi that seems to accompany this strange phenomena of mysterious “FACEBOOK ADVERTISING” charges that began showing up on banks statements. These charges seem to have happen months after the original authorized charge. It’s happen to my wife and now to my mother-in-law. The same algorithmic behavior was similar in both instances. Months earlier circa June/July my wife bought Facebook credits to purchase Farmvillie virtual currency and other things. It was a 60 buck purchase authorized and charged to our account. Never mind stupidity of this for a sec.  One charge authorized months ago started reoccurring instances of subsequent service charges not explicitly authorized.  At first I chastised my wife for doing so many purchases on bullshit. Then after a particularly nasty exchange I took away her card removing all doubt of purchases. A dick move, but I was mad.  However, the charges continued at a rate of$30 to $40 bucks a pop. After calling the bank to halt the charges we were informed that since we explicitly authorized previous charges it would be difficult to stop the reoccurring mysterious “FACEBOOK ADVERTISING” charges. Halting the card would stop the charges (all charges) but once the block was removed there would be no way to stop those particular charges. We had to figuratively execute the card and get another one re-issued with a new number.  I chalked it up to just a lack of due diligence on my part so I simply forgot about it. If your wondering why Facebook could potentially make $200 Billion in revenue, think credits and advertising is how.

As I have shared with my small flock of  followers this past week I had my debit card compromised and account nearly cleaned out.  We’re still working with USAA to get all the adjustments to the account.  This got me to looking very deeply at potentially other signs of fraud in my accounts.  By the way, Mint.com is an awesome statistical tool you should sign up for an account and download the app for your phone.  Looking over my finances I looked very closely at the nature and frequency of these mysterious “FACEBOOK ADVERTISING”charges. They seem algorithmic in nature starting first with micro-purchases $5.00 to $10.00 and then higher amounts.  All well and good you say, but what about my conspiratorial accusation of fraud and a secret cabal? Here is where my earlier forensic observation came to make me suspect something may be a foot. It happen to my wife’s mother-in-law. Same behavior, same mysterious “FACEBOOK ADVERTISING”charges. Months earlier she bought virtual currency for Farmvillie. It was a 10 buck purchase. Again never mind the stupidity of this too.  This one charge was authorized months ago, but this past week, numerous unauthorized charges at $20 a pop started showing up in her account also.

We may just be an edge case, but I wonder how many other folks has this happen to or is this happening to?  With 500+ million users of Facebook and a estimated 214 million Zynga users you can see how lucrative this type of strategy could be. Now I don’t have any proof of this just an observation and possibly an explanation into the Facebook/Zynga business model. Could it be that the revenue juggernaut that is Facebook/Zynga be based of on the ignorance of its user?  This wouldn’t be the first time. With one micro-purchase at a time it’s hard to notice every transaction of ones finances in the course of daily events. After my recent experience I now take a much more anal approach to eying my finances. We’re nickel and dimed all the time and it’s this strategy I feel that the Facebook/Zynga business model depends on.  How diligent is Facebook at vetting merchants of its ad and credit networks?  Is the Zynga/Facebook cabal engaged in or privy to wide spread credit card fraud either through malice or willful ignorance?  I’m just throwing it out there, again with little or no proof just a new found suspicion.

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