Credit card fraud is nothing new — identity theft is common enough — but managing to make up enough identities to steal $200 million from credit card companies? That’s a staggering feat, and yet 18 people managed to pull it off. At least, until the U.S. Department of Justice managed to crack the case.
Federal prosecutors are calling the $200 million heist one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever, as it spans 28 states and eight countries, notes ABC News.
“The defendants are part of a massive international fraud enterprise involving thousands of false identities, fraudulent identification documents, doctored credit reports and more than $200 million in confirmed losses,” FBI Special Agent James Simpson said in court records.
Here’s how the alleged thieves are said to have worked their con: First, just create thousands of fake identities. About 25,000 fake people should do. Then make a bunch of small purchases here and there, nothing splashy, to build up good credit card histories for these characters. And then go hog-wild buying luxury cars, electronics, spa treatments and millions of dollars worth of straight-up gold. Sounds so simple.
And $200 million is just the initial number — feds say the fraud is so wide-spread, it’s hard to know if the losses will grow.
At least the alleged perps made up characters to steal from instead of real people, eh? Not that my credit card would be very useful when trying to purchase gold bricks.
‘Massive’ Credit Card Fraud Steals $200M [ABC News]