Entries in Credit Cards (3)


'Massive' Credit Card Fraud Steals $200M

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Eighteen people have been charged in what federal prosecutors in New Jersey called one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever uncovered by the U.S. Department of Justice, spanning 28 states and eight countries.

"The defendants are part of a massive international fraud enterprise involving thousands of false identities, fraudulent identification documents, doctored credit reports and more than $200 million in confirmed losses," FBI Special Agent James Simpson said in court records.

According to court records, the scheme involved three basic steps: The defendants allegedly created thousands of fake identities, pumped up the credit histories of those fictitious people and then racked up charges on fraudulently obtained credit cards.

"Due to the massive scope of the fraud, which involved over 25,000 fraudulent credit cards, loss calculations are ongoing and final confirmed losses may grow substantially," Simpson said.

The proceeds, authorities said, were used for luxury automobiles, electronics, spa treatments, high-end clothing and millions of dollars in gold.

Prosecutors said the scheme started with small purchases over an extended period of time to build the credit scores of the false identities.  Once good credit history was established, court records say the defendants "ran up large loans" that were never repaid.

The defendants, including the alleged ring leaders, Babar Qureshi and Muhammad Shafiq, are due to make their initial court appearances Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in a Newark, N.J., federal court.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Homeless Man Traveled US for 20 Years with Stolen Credit Card Info

Orange County Jail(LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.) -- A homeless man "sick of running" told police that he had spent two decades memorizing credit card numbers and using them to fraudulently stay in hotels across the country, according to police.

Jeffrey Hawkins, 49, was confronted by police on Oct. 23 at Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for previously trespassing there.

ABC News and Walt Disney World Resorts are both owned by the Walt Disney Company.

"At that time rather than speak about the trespassing Hawkins started speaking about credit card fraud," Orange County Sheriff's Officer Frank DelGuercio wrote in a police report.

After being read his Miranda rights and deciding to waive those rights, Hawkins told authorities he wanted to talk because he was "sick of running."

"Hawkins then began to confess that he has been committing credit card fraud since the 90s," DelGuercio wrote.  "He stated that he has been homeless and jobless since then and has just been traveling the country using and obtaining other people's credit card numbers."

Hawkins told police he was able to remember and then write down credit card numbers and expiration dates that he would see or hear.

A Disney security investigator told police that Hawkins was the man they had filed reports about in reference to at least 26 separate incidents of credit card fraud totaling over $18,000, according to the police report.

During a search of Hawkins' room, authorities found "numerous" credit card authorization forms, receipts from hotels, business cards and paperwork, according to the report.  The paperwork had lists of over 100 credit card numbers and expiration dates.  He also had three phones.

"I found numerous cards, receipts and other items indicating that Hawkins has been up and down the East Coast doing the same thing," DelGuercio wrote.

He was charged with trafficking in stolen credit cards, false statements, fraudulent use of credit cards and defrauding an innkeeper.

Hawkins is being held on a $2,900 bond.  His inmate records did not indicate that he has attained an attorney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Retailers Can't Ask Credit Card Customers for ZIP Codes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that retailers in the state can no longer ask customers for their ZIP codes during credit card transactions, citing the request violates a law enacted in 1971.

The high court ruled that ZIP codes constitute "personal identification information," which, according to the state's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act, cannot be asked of from customers who are making purchases with credit cards.

The judgement states the act is "intended to provide robust consumer protections by prohibiting retailers from soliciting and recording information about the cardholder that is unnecessary to the credit card transaction." 

It goes on to say that, "Thus, in light of the statutory language, as well as the legislative history and evident purpose of the statute, we hold that personal identification information...includes a cardholder’s ZIP code."

Retailers usually ask customers for their ZIP codes for marketing purposed and to determine where their shoppers are located.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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