"Brazen" ID Thief Finds Easy Way to Get Credit Card Numbers - WBAY

"Brazen" ID Thief Finds Easy Way to Get Credit Card Numbers


You may be surprised just how easy is it for someone to steal your credit card information and go on a shopping spree.

Willy Harris, the ringleader of an ID theft ring, got account numbers by simply calling the cardholders.  He recruited women to take the information and get cash advances on the stolen accounts.

"They will make phone calls to individuals and they will act like they are a credit card company and ask for the information," said Cecil Frank, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Once Harris got the information, he'd call the credit card company and add himself as a user on the account.

"Just normal people all across America who had no idea, realize their credit cards were being compromised," said Frank.

Harris would recruit accomplices and offer them a cut.

"So, he asked if they wanted to make some money. They said 'yes.' He would send them out with a credit card and get cash advances from the banks for like, $7500, and he would let them keep, like, $1500 of it," said Frank.

Then, Harris would spend the money.

"In Apple store, the suspect was buying two laptops, and at Gucci he was buying a pair of $550 shoes," said Frank.

Harris spent thousands of dollars on jewelry, some of it custom designed.

Postal inspectors say he was a brazen criminal.

"He has no regard for anybody else, or how they feel," said Frank. "And they are working hard every day to pay their credit cards bills and you go spend $550 on shoes."

Here's some advice:

  • 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.
  • Call your card company and let them know what's happened.
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