BULL STREET - The art of the Con

Internet Credit Card Fraud

Criminals will probably make more money in this area of the internet over the next few years than they will anywhere else. It has been estimated by some that by the year 2005, loses will climb to almost $16 billion. I have been the victim of one of these and it occurred in a most unusual way. I received a call from one of the credit card organizations that issued a credit card to me. They asked me whether or not I had ordered certain merchandise that apparently didn’t fit the profile that they had for me. All of the merchandise was for delivery to a third party and most of it was the purchase of children’s clothes, games and other miscellany.

Naturally, I told the credit card people that I had not ordered the merchandise in question and my card was immediately declared invalid. In short order I received another one with a new number one it so I was held responsible for nothing and I was back in business in a matter of days. However, I was interested to know where the thief had gotten my number and how he had gone about stealing as much as he got away with.

After some investigation, the credit card people informed me that I had eaten a particular restaurant in my neighborhood and when I gave my credit card to the waiter he had copied the information. He then went to the telephone book and found out my name and address. As easy as all that. However, I asked the credit card people what they did about the thief. I turns out that they didn’t do much, they questioned the man who had obviously stolen the card because the stolen merchandise went to his relatives, however, in spite of him being at the restaurant and his relatives receiving the benefits of the theft, the was no direct proof that he did any of it.

This is somewhat akin to the story about the time I had left my cell phone in a restaurant across the street from my house and had gone home. About an hour later I discovered that it was missing and of course called the restaurant and told them to look at the table I had been sitting at. It was gone. I asked the management if they knew the person that had been sitting there. They knew him rather well and gave me his name. In the meantime, I called the phone company to tell them that my phone was missing and I was informed that it was already being actively used.

They were informed that I though I knew the used and in a matter of days between the phone company and the police they were able to prove that this indeed was the culprit. What happened next? Nothing! It seems that this is an all to common problem, the people that steal the phones would say that they left the restaurant, were approached by someone on the street who would offer to sell them my phone. “Not knowing” that it had been stolen the transaction would take place. The police and phone company said that they had never had a conviction on this crime in history. It was not worth the trouble pursing. I received my choice of new phones from the phone people along with a new number and as far as anyone was concerned the case was closed.



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