There's something you should never forget. Don't ever give out your personal information over the phone to someone you don't know. Ignoring that rule can be costly.
Surveillance photos inside a bank show a con-man named Joseph Dees geting a cash advance on a stolen credit card. His co-conspirator, Courtney McFeater, is then captured on video after making big ticket purchases at various stores (pictured above.)
"They ran up approximately $270,000 loss in a six month period," said U.S. Postal Inspector Brian Plants.
Here's how they did it. First, they would search the internet for office managers or someone working in a busy doctor's office or real estate agency. Dees would then tell the victims that he was calling because they didn't show for jury duty.
"He would say we can take care of this problem right now, you're delinquent jury duty, but we just need some information over the phone," explained Plants.
Dees would proceed to ask for social security numbers, date of birth, mother's maiden name and current address. With that information, the suspects could call a credit card company and simply ask for a replacement card to be sent to an address they had access to.
"After cards are delivered, they would use different cell phones numbers to call and activate the cards and then use the cards until they were shut off," said Plants.
Victims told Postal Inspectors the suspect was very convincing.
"He was very convincing, and very calm and if they didn't want to give out their information, he would somehow keep them talking and convince them to give out personal information on the phone," said Plants. "If someone calls you, never give out their personal information to them, cause you don't know who is on the other end of the phone call."
Postal inspectors say in all there are about 50 victims. The suspects in this case all pleaded guilty and received different sentences between 2 and 6 years. They are all currently in jail.
One of the best ways to combat credit card theft is to check your credit report. Everyone is entitled to one free check every year with each of the three credit reporting agencies. The Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida recommends the website AnnualCreditReport.com. It has step-by-step instructions and links to all three credit bureaus.