Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Credit Card Fraud & The Elderly
I’ve heard that there was a lot of credit card theft and identity theft happening. Last year, someone, or some evil organization had, on two separate occasions, swiped my credit card information, and scammed money out of my checking account. But that’s totally boring compared to what I overheard a client tell one of my fellow stylists. (Yes, I listen! A lot!)
The client was an older lady: Gold Coast type, sweet, widowed, kids are grown up lawyers, three other residences, a maid she calls “her girl.” You get it. WELL, she shyly starts talking about a call she got the other night from a woman saying she was from the Credit Card Fraud Bureau and that one of her credit cards was being used at a Sears store, and the person using the card was using it at that very moment. But Gold Coast Widow says, “But my cards are right here in my possession!”
“We thought so,” says CC Fraud Bureau. And then CC Fraud Bureau tells the Gold Coast Widow that they are going to send the police straight to Sears to pick up the obviously thieving person using her duplicated credit card.
As the Gold Coast Widow was telling the story, she told her hairdresser that she is so completely embarrassed by the whole situation, especially with what she did next. (I love that people tell us everything! Everyone else’ job must suck boring.)
And this is what she did next. When the CC Fraud Bureau convinced Gold Coast Widow that all was going to be well, they both hung up only to have the CC Fraud Bureau call back ten minutes later. CC Fraud Bureau said that they caught the thief and wanted to know if she could send an undercover agent over to the Gold Coast to see the Widow’s credit cards; just to make sure that her credit cards were safe and to insure prosecution of the thief.
The Gold Coast Widow said that sounded acceptable, only she would meet the undercover in the lobby where there were cameras. When the undercover officer showed up, Gold Coast Widow asked to see his I.D.
“Ma’am,” he said smugly, “I don’t have I.D. I’m undercover.” And then she gave him her credit cards with her pin numbers when he asked for them!
I was not laughing at the end of the story, and the client was near to tears. The last thing I heard her telling the hairdresser was that she was very embarrassed but was not so embarrassed to say yes to a future TV interview to prevent this from happening again. I guess the police and media have been seeing this type of theft in Chicago for quite some time and they want to stop it.
And that is why I wrote about it. I’m just passing it along to you. If it can happen to her, it can happen to many others.
Epilogue: She was only out $50 because she called her son, the lawyer, after the obvious (to us!) theft. The police led her to call a local TV station. He told her she could help get the word out. I love her! The "undercover" was not visible on the lobby cameras. No one has been prosecuted or arrested in connection to this case yet.
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