Payment Processors Slow to Take Down Mugshot Websites

credit-card-processors-slowThough most payment processors have stepped forward to say that they intend to cut off the mugshot website industry, the wheels are turning slowly.

In fact, it’s not even clear whether or not payment processors intend to really follow through their promises. Perhaps they’re hoping that the issue will be long forgotten before they actually have to turn down money from anyone.

CNN Money posted a recent update on the situation.

Of the four major credit card companies, only American Express said it has completely cut off ties. Even though two of the mug shot websites said they still accept American Express, Amex spokeswoman Sanette Chao assured they wouldn’t work.

“It’s going to decline on our end,” she said.

The other companies weren’t as direct. Discover said it was “still in the review process of terminating relationships.”

MasterCard and Visa said they are working with the “acquiring banks” that the mug shot websites use to process credit card payments.

Perhaps these banks have reviewed the industry and realized just how much money that they’re walking away from. Perhaps they’re responding to the amount of criticism that some parties have lobbed at them for their power to choose who lives and who dies on the Internet. This move might have been universally applauded, for example, had credit card processors not also shut down donations to WikiLeaks two years ago.

Either way, it doesn’t matter. It simply means that for the time being, the mugshot extortion racket is alive, well, and ready to take money.

If you have a mugshot on any of these websites, however, you shouldn’t whip out your credit card. Most mugshot websites work together.

That means you can get your mugshot taken down from website A and pay $350 for the privilege…only to see your mugshot reappear on website B. You could go through ten or fifteen websites before you see the end of the problem. This process can take you weeks, months, even years, leaving your life on hold.

Or you can just get all of your mugshots removed at the source by using the services of a mugshot removal company, one that can get your mugshots removed in as little as 72 hours.