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Online travel agency Expedia.com is to take a charge of up to $6 million to cover credit card fraud costs on its site. The Microsoft spin-off said yesterday it would set aside between $4 million and $6 million from its fiscal third quarter. It added that its service had been the victim of a professional crime racket. "The company is working with federal law enforcement agencies to combat a recent increase in fraudulent transactions on the Expedia.com travel service," it said. "The fraud was committed by professional criminals who illegally obtained credit cards from non-Expedia.com sources and used those stolen cards to purchase travel online." Expedia became aware of the problem two weeks ago after it was alerted to unusual activity on its site by American Express and Microsoft's security group. Security boffins noticed an unusually high number of transactions from a small amount of credit cards. The stolen cards were not obtained from Expedia, and the site remained secure, the company insisted. According to Expedia, $500,000 is normally set aside per quarter to cover losses from credit card fraud. But the company was forced to take the extra cost after suffering a spate of attacks from scamsters between November to the beginning of February. The one-off charge represents 12 to 18 percent of Expedia's sales for the first and second quarter, which totalled $33 million.® Related Stories French credit card hacker convicted Cyber police force comes to Britain Scammer spammer gets thrown in slammer MS spins off Expedia - what do you want to IPO today? http://www.theregister.co.uk/

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