How easy is it for someone to steal your credit card information and go on a shopping spree?
It’s a lot easier than you think.
Women captured on bank surveillance photos during a crime in progress are shown walking into banks to get cash advances on stolen credit card accounts.
The ringleader of the ID theft ring, Willy Harris, recruited them. He obtained the account numbers by simply calling people who were the card holders.
“They will make phone calls to individuals and they will act like they are a credit card company and ask for the information,” says U.S. Postal Inspector Cecil Frank.
Once he got the information, Harris would call the credit card company and add himself as a user on the account.
“Just normal people all across America who didn`t realize their credit cards were being compromised,” says Frank.
Harris would recruit accomplices and offer them a cut.
“Mr. Harris would recruit young women to go in and get cash advances from the banks and he would let them keep like $1,500 of it,” says Frank.
Then, he would spend. Surveillance photos were captured from Best Buy and the Apple Store.
“In the Apple store, the suspect was buying two laptops and at Gucci he was buying a pair of $550 shoes,” says Frank.
Harris spent thousands of dollars on jewelry. In fact, he liked to design his own custom jewelry. Postal inspectors say he was brazen.
“He has no regard for anybody else, or how they feel. And they are working hard every day to pay their credit card bills and you go spend $550 on shoes,” says Frank.
Consumers need to remember to protect themselves.
“Never give out your information unless you make the call and give out your day of birth, things like that,” says Frank.
Never give out any personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call. If someone calls claiming they are working for your credit card company, ask them for a phone number to call back. If the number isn`t your credit card company`s number, don`t dial it. Instead, call your card company and let them know what`s happened.