A Summary of Notable Credit Card Use: The Bad, The Ugly and The Good
Anyone paying attention to the national news lately can’t help but notice a distinct upswing in credit card and identity theft related crimes. However, by contrast, some people out there are using their credit cards for charitable giving instead.
Recently, the news has been rife with reports of credit card crimes.
Some have been seemingly more “typical,” such as in Milford, CT, where police are currently investigating two separate incidents in which counterfeit credit cards were used to make purchases from two different liquor stores. Upon investigation, the authorities discovered that the stolen credit card numbers were attached to the account of an unsuspecting victim in Colorado.
Others stories have been a bit more shocking, as in the case of 23-year-old NYPD cadet Raymond Gumti who allegedly stole his own mother’s credit card information in order to make a counterfeit card to be used by an accomplice to make thousands of dollars worth of unauthorized purchases of high-end, luxury goods from stores like Bloomingdale’s and Louis Vuitton. Gumti is suspected of being part of one of the largest identity theft rings in U.S. history that is responsible for making some $13 million in fraudulent charges with stolen account information. Gutmi was supposed to have graduated from the Police Academy on December 22.
And then there are those stories that are simply bizarre, such as the one about Jonah Lee Troutman, a 27-year-old homeless man in Volusia County, Florida, who recently found a lost credit card lying on the ground which he picked up and regarded as a “blessing from God,” he told police. Armed with said blessing, Troutman walked into Nancy’s Nails salon in nearby Debry and requested a pedicure. After the service, the salon owners grew suspicious when the card was declined twice and phoned the police. Troutman claimed to have been under the impression that the card was a gift card but eventually admitted to authorities that it did not belong to him. The salon owners are pressing charges against Troutman – illegal use of a credit card and petty theft.
However, to offset so many credit misdeeds, there are individuals such as Gayron Ferguson. Ferguson, who presides over The Hugs Project of Western Kentucky, has loaded up his own personal credit card with over $600 worth of charges to compensate for the funds his charity was short in raising in order to send care packages overseas to U.S. Troops stationed in Afghanistan.
“When the money comes in, I’ll pay the credit card off,” said Ferguson, according to Kentucky News Channel FOX 19. “These guys are too important.”
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Identity theft and banking fraud concern more and more Americans, according to a recent FICO survey. And that is not a surprise as credit card fraud continues to grow, especially online fraud.
There is no foolproof way to protect yourself from fraud, but there are a few things you can do. The first and foremost thing you should do is never ever give your credit or debit card information to someone you do not know.