Woman Used Dead Grandma's Credit Card To Charge Up $11,000

Melanie Schleiger is proof that credit card fraud sometimes starts at home, after she and her boyfriend were arrested last week for making 69 purchases totaling $11,715 on a credit card belonging to her grandmother, who died in 2003. The charges were discovered when the deceased woman’s daughter-in-law received the bill and called the police. It’s going to be an awkward Fourth of July this year!

“At the time that the woman passed away the family tried to cancel all of her credit cards, but it’s believed that this one was inadvertently left out and a renewal card was sent in the mail. We think the granddaughter got a hold of that and took advantage of the situation,” said Officer Katie Flood.

Our favorite detail: the couple used the card to pay for the boyfriend’s $500 DWI court costs. Grandma would be proud.

“Police: Couple Used Dead Grandma’s Credit Card” [KOLN KGIN]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Something like this happened in my extended family a few years ago, but the old lady was still alive at the time. Wachovia’s fraud department said that almost half their calls are about some kind of unauthorized family usage (usually by some deadbeat relative)

  2. ajmccoll says:

    Perhaps the granddaughter never got any of the free money grandmothers usually hand out.

  3. Dobernala says:

    This story goes well with the Sears card story from the weekend. Perhaps one can understand why they would close the account.

  4. Murph1908 says:

    the couple used the card to pay for the boyfriend’s $500 DWI court costs

    Um, were they still drunk at the time?

    “Honey, let’s use this stolen credit card to pay a court fine. There’s no way they could trace it back to us.”

  5. evslin says:

    Somebody’s not getting a Christmas card this year…

  6. Burgandy says:

    So using dead husband’s card = “OK!” , using dead gramma’s card = “Not OK”?

  7. kaptainkk says:

    So what happens when you die (w/ no spouse) and you have credit card debt? Who is responsible for the balance? Does it automatically just get written off? What keeps a family member from applying for credit on a deceased person? Check out the pics of the culprits. I don’t think there wasn’t enough chlorine in that gene pool.

  8. scooby76 says:

    Taking bets that these two have been on Jerry Springer already.

  9. PinkBox says:

    @Burgandy: The situations are pretty different for many reasons.

  10. Sidecutter says:

    @Burgandy: No, no.

    Using dead husband’s card, which was yours to use as his wife when he was alive, and which you pay off and keep current = OK.

    Using dead grandma’s card, which you were never authorized to use when she was alive, and which you don’t make payments on after using = Not OK.

  11. Burgandy says:

    @scooby76: I’ll bet a gallon of gas that she confessed to having an affair with his midget cousin or something, she just looks like the type.

  12. TechnoDestructo says:

    “At the time that the woman passed away the family tried to cancel all of her credit cards, but it’s believed that this one was inadvertently left out and a renewal card was sent in the mail.”

    Or the bank just decided to keep all accounts open to new charges no matter what. It would not be out of character for ANY major bank.

  13. spatch2008 says:

    Re: kaptainkk

    It would help if funeral homes or a related organization would outline for grieving families steps that need to be taken to close out all affairs, financial and otherwise, of the deceased person.

    Some steps:

    -Notify the Social Security Administration of the death.

    -Write A Letter to the Three Credit Report Bureaus:

    >Equifax Office of Fraud Assistance

    >Experian Office of Fraud Assistance

    >Transunion Office of Fraud Assistance

    -Call all banks and credit card companies. Cancel the cards and find out if there was any credit life insurance.

    -Contact the person’s employer, check on insurance, death benefits, pension funds and unused vacation pay.

  14. spatch2008 says:

    RE:kaptainkk

    It would help if funeral homes or related organizations would provide to families steps that need to be taken to close out the affairs, financial or otherwise, of the deceased…

    Some steps:

    -Notify the Social Security Administration of the death.

    -Write A Letter to the Three Credit Report Bureaus

    >Equifax Office of Fraud Assistance

    >Experian Office of Fraud Assistance

    >Transunion Office of Fraud Assistance

    -Call all banks and credit card companies. Cancel the cards and find out if there was any credit life insurance.

    -Contact the person’s employer, check on insurance, death benefits, pension funds and unused vacation pay.

  15. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    There’s a small part of me saying “Well pft, the enemy of thine enemy is thy friend”

    I dont like criminals but at the end of the day, havnt the credit card companies stolen much, much more.

  16. Speak says:

    @TechnoDestructo: I agree. Unless this grandmother was racking up major purchases before her death, the credit card company should have flagged the card for suspicious activity, even more so if the card hadn’t been in use since May 2003, as the article seems to indicate. And this is why I’m paranoid over which companies have my personal information–they really should handle people’s data in a more secure manner.

  17. ugly says:

    @Burgandy:

    I tend to agree Burgandy, the recent story from Sears seemed pretty close to this one. It certainly wasn’t grossly unreasonable for Sears to cancel that account.

  18. GoPadge says:

    @kaptainkk:
    I don’t think there wasn’t enough chlorine in that gene pool.

    That is CLASSIC!

  19. Fraud.

    In some countries they would solve this problem with a bullet. Here in the USA the kiddies will get probation.

  20. Working in collections has shown me some of the saddest stories out there. The WORST?: When some punk ass grandson, daughter,niece, nephew or family member fill out an application using their elderly family members info then running up the bill. We have to do a lot of skip tracing…find the person on the bill, then hear about how grandma got conned. What makes it sad is that a majority of the time the victim will not press charges out of fear of retaliation and therefore get stuck with the bill. Almost all the perps seem to have this “idea” that it’s a “victimless crime” and it’s “just credit” and grandma is gonna die soon anyways. It makes me want to puke.

  21. misslisa says:

    I hear y’all on the elder ID theft & how wacked it is. When my dad was in the last weeks of his life, my brother’s friend who worked at Fifth Third Bank actually suggested to us that we run up the max of debt on Dad’s credit card, since it would be written off upon his death! Even though I had been unemployed for months and my brother had lots of debt, we NEVER considered doing this. All the while, my dad’s caregivers were stealing his pain meds & selling them on the street (we only found out after the fact). What the hell is wrong with people?

  22. sgtdawg says:

    If only it was an AMEX, and they used it to buy gas at Costco…without a membership.

  23. ShadowFalls says:

    @Burgandy:

    Its the intention that matters most, these people had no intention of paying it off. They were even stupid to use it to make a traceable purchase…

  24. Pro-Pain says:

    Idiots entertain me. Thank God there are so many.

  25. Pro-Pain says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: Yes, yes they have. I lol’d @ this story.

  26. themaskedmarauder says:

    Hmmm, bank keeps account open – after family informs them of death and attempts to close account. Was it a Bank of America card?

  27. EdnaLegume says:

    @Burgandy: I think in the former instance, the widow was actually PAYING the amount due.