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Fraudulent charge shows up same day shopping membership is deactivated

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BATON ROUGE - A man found a bogus charge on his bank statement and soon realized he wasn't alone.

"It sounded like I wasn't the only person this had happened to," Jody Cataldo said.

Over the years, Cataldo says he's rarely used his Sam's Club membership, but after hopping online to shop for new tires he found that he was unable to access prices.

"It wouldn't give me prices because it said I wasn't a member," Cataldo said.

His membership had expired on March 21, 2020, the same day a $49.25 charge showed up on his bank statement. At first, he thought it was his Sam's Club auto-renewal fee. The $49.25 charge was noted as SAMS MEMBERSHIP 800-288-7787 AR.

Cataldo decided to call Sam's Club to ask them to explain.

"I talked to several different people and I kept getting the same answer, they had no record of any transaction other than my account was canceled," he said.

He took another look at the charge and decided to plug the notation into a search engine.

"Apparently several other people had been charged a very similar amount, it wasn't always the same exact amount. But I didn't find thousands of people, it was just a handful of people," he said.

Cataldo also called the 800-number associated with the charge. It rang to a call center that is not associated with Sam's Club or any other company. That's when he called 2 On Your Side, who contacted Sam's, which contacted Cataldo.

"I told him I really just wanted him to look into it and make sure this isn't happening to a bunch of other people," he said.

Sam's Club tells 2 On Your Side it is investigating but says it hasn't received any similar reports. Sam's Club says, "the phone number connected with the charge is clearly a scam and is not related to Sam’s Club. We are looking into our systems to determine what happened and will take corrective actions."

Cataldo also contacted his bank, which reimbursed the money while it's investigating the charge for fraud.

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