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A Thing Two


Dead-Man Walking 
(& Spending)


Today we hear and read a lot about privacy. As our industry and our world becomes more technologically savvy, concerns about our financial information and how secure it is seem to be on everyone’s minds. But, while we’ve been worried about the Internet, merchant records, and encryption, we may be overlooking one threat: the common, garden-variety criminal. The following is an example of credit card fraud which has little to do with technology.

A 28-year-old Mississippi man, whose business provided credit assistance, has been arrested for obtaining and using credit cards in the names of his customers, as well as deceased individuals. The scam may go back as far as four years and it is suspected that as much as $3 million in credit card fraud was perpetrated in the scam.

When authorities went to the man’s home to arrest him, they found a number of interesting items including:

1. credit cards in other people’s names,

2. newspaper clippings of the obituaries; some of the names matched those on the credit cards,

3. credit reports in other people’s names.

It is believed the scam artist used as much information as he could glean from the obituaries and then requested further public information, such as age and address, from drivers license records. When the banks would try to collect and realized the person was deceased, they wrote off the loss.

So, the next time you’re met with the objection that new payment technologies increase fraud and identity theft, share this story and explain that risks have always existed and always will. It’s how we deal with them that makes the difference.

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