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Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft on the Rise

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If you search for the keywords “credit cards” on Google, you will likely be bombarded with news articles and reports of credit card thieves, credit card scams, and recent instances of fraud. Times aren’t getting any easier to be a consumer and we are reminded every day how important it is to protect our identities, both in the brick-and-mortar stores and when shopping online.

A number of recent credit card schemes and identity theft crimes reinforce that fraud is much more common than we might expect. Check out these recent credit card crimes to get a handle on what today’s latest thieves are doing to steal identities and cash flow so you can better protect yourself.

Sophisticated Identity Theft Schemes

Two men in California, David Karapetyan, 32, and Zhirayr Zamanyan, 31, pleaded guilty to various felony counts related to their intricate identity theft schemes. These men and two other defendants stole gas station customers’ personal information via sophisticated skimming devices they attached to the ATM machines and gas pump payment devices in at least seven locations. Thankfully a gas station employee found one of the skimmers and reported it to authorities, who then set up a sting with a decoy device. They were able to catch the criminals when they came back to retrieve the skimming devices with all the stored personal data of their victims.

Credit Card Fraud

In a separate recent incident, two suspects are being sought in Dauphin County, PA, in a case of credit card fraud committed against an Illinois woman who still had possession of her credit cards. The suspects allegedly used credit / debit cards linked to the account of the victim even though the names on the cards did not match the victim’s name. The fraudulent purchases came to more than $1500.

Stolen Credit Cards

In Lexington, KY, a man is wanted for stealing credit cards and personal items from a parked car and using the stolen credit cards to purchase more than $5,000 worth of electronics products at Walmart. The man used three different credit cards to make the large purchase. Police are still on the hunt for the perpetrator and anyone with information related to the crime is urged to contact authorities.

Police Call Cracked Credit Card Fraud Ring at Macy’s “Tip of the Iceberg”
Police recently cracked a credit card ring at Macy’s in the Livingston Mall in Livingston, N.J. Five people were arrested for using stolen identities to open instant approval credit accounts and using them to buy goods at Macys. One of those arrested was a Macy’s employee who had recently been rewarded the high number of credit accounts she had opened. Police surveillance soon determined that she was involved with the fraud ring.

The total amount stolen amasses somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000 across the 24 fraudulent accounts created, police estimate. Some of the identity theft victims may not even know they are victims yet. Police suspect this Macy’s credit card ring may be part of a larger fraud ring.

With so many credit card crimes occurring in recent days, weeks, and months, it has become even more important than ever to protect ourselves from potential crimes against our credit and our personal information. Consider a credit monitoring system or an identity theft protection service like LifeLock to keep your identity and your assets safe. You can also monitor your credit regularly and take special precautions to protect your finances. For tips on safer shopping online, please see our recent feature: Tips to Protect your Identity and Your Financial Assets When Shopping Online.

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