I've written a few post (here, here and here) where I was rather glowing about the the wonders of sites like AllofMP3 and MP3Sugar. I've been pretty glib about both the legal and security concerns around using these sites. A reader, dare I say rabid fan, wrote in to express her concern with my attitude and took me to task for the dearth of cautionary advice around providing sites like those with credit card and other personal information. In my defence, I'd assumed that no one needed me to tell them that putting their credit card information on quasi-legal Russian music sites might not be the most secure transaction they could conduct online, but apparently I was wrong. So here are two suggestions on how one can decrease the likely hood of the Russian mafiya using your credit card for Friday night Vodka binges.
1) Use Paypal: They offer privacy protection, acts as an intermediary in disputes and provide 0% liability for unauthorized charges to your account. AllofMp3 allows you to use xrost which can be funded with Paypal btut the others dont.
2) Get a new Credit Card: Use Lowermybills, CreditCardassist, or any service of that type to find a student credit card with a low credit limit, 0% fraud liability and online account # generation. This last feature lets you use a random number associated with your card by the merchant but not reusable for any other perchases.
I personally used a variant of option two to signed up at a few of the Russian MP3 sites. I applied for and received (which was pretty surprising) a Citi Card platinum select with a $500 credit line, 0% APR on purchase and transfers for 12 months, no fraud liability and online account management. I pre-paid AllofMP3 $15 for album purchase and loaded my MP3Sugar and MP3Search accounts with 5 bucks each. I still have over $8 in my AllofMP3 account and probably $3 in each of the other two. A final suggestion is to put away the card so you wont be temped to use it for anything else.
While I've encountered no problems to date with using these sites, your usage may vary. Despite Vulture central letting law firms write FUD and pretending its news, my biggest fear is that I wont find enough music I want to spend $15 I still have at the various sites.