They say crime doesn’t pay, but the headlines can certainly make it appear otherwise. Every big scam and successful fraudster seems to wind up going viral. But not every thief will get away with your life savings — sometimes it’s the small-time crimes that really pay.

And credit card scammers are some of the most proficient at nickel-and-diming their way to big bucks. One of the most pervasive types of credit card fraud isn’t an unauthorized spending spree, but actually a few small charges that can fly right under your radar.

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Small charges can be easily overlooked

In some cases, a small — less than $5 — charge on stolen credit cards is used to just test the waters. Once the thief has confirmation that the card works, they start swiping like a madman. But sometimes the small charges are the end game, with thieves using the “quantity over quality” approach to credit card fraud.

The key part of this strategy is that small charges are often overlooked, even by diligent…

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