Roughly one in three Americans had their credit card information stolen in the past five years. If identity thieves get your card, they can ring up a huge shopping bill and it can take months to undo the damage.
Kevin Hawke, a former identity thief, told us how he operated. After serving prison time he wants to give back to the community by sharing his secrets so you can avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
KGW: How much money did you make from credit card fraud?
Kevin Hawke: “You can make thousands and thousands of dollars a day just by going into one or two stores and swiping a couple credit cards.”
Did the victims know you were ripping them off?
“I mean they would know about a week after we did the scam. A credit card would arrive at their residence in the mail and they would be like. ‘I didn’t apply for this!’ But by that time we’ve already drained the entire account.”
So, how did the scam work?
“We’d get somebody’s personal information. We call that a ‘profile’– that’s their name, their address, their social security number, their phone number, their place of employment.”
Wait, how did you get that information?
“We could get an entire list of names and addresses and all that — corrupt county workers, corrupt DMV workers, people that we paid off.”
Then you’d get a credit card in someone else’s name?
“We would go into high-end department stores and we would apply for in-store credit accounts. You can get $5,000 to $10,000 worth of instant credit and you don’t have to wait for that credit card to arrive at their house to start spending it.
We would drain the entire account in one day, then we would go and sell everything for cash.”
Who would you…
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