Credit card info stolen over the phone

Inspectors: Thieves called consumers, asked for personal info

Published On: Sep 10 2013 10:12:42 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 11 2013 07:55:00 AM EDT

How easy is it for someone to steal your credit card information and go on a shopping spree?  Easier than you may think.

Investigators say the ringleader of an ID theft ring, Willy Harris, recruited women to go into banks and get cash advances with stolen credit card accounts.

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

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

"Just normal people all across America who didn't realize their credit cards were being compromised," said Frank.

Harris would recruit accomplices and offer them a cut.

"Mr. Harris would recruit young women to go in and get cash advances from the banks and he would let them keep like $1,500 of it," said Frank.

Authorities say then, he would spend.   Surveillance photos from Best Buy and the Apple Store show him.

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

Harris is accused of spending thousands of dollars on jewelry, too.  In fact, he apparently liked to design his own custom jewelry. Postal Inspectors say he was brazen.

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

Consumers need to remember to protect themselves.

"Never give out your information unless you make the call and give out your day of birth, things like that," warned Frank.

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. Instead, call your card company and let them know what's happened.