LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- In this Rip-Off Alert, as technology advances, criminals are finding new ways to steal your money in another example of why it is so important to protect your personal information.
U.S. Postal Inspector Carla Menedez says when the scam artists call in with all the personal identifying information of their victims; they essentially can get access to their credit card account. They can add themselves as users, get their own card with their name on it and start charging on the victims’ account.
“The bad guys are going in and buying electronic and going to pawn shops to get cash,” Menedez said.
Postal inspectors seized many large-ticket items purchased in one scam, including big-screen TVs and video game systems. In one case, losses totaled $120,000.
But inspectors got a big break.
“The bad guy wasn’t very smart in this case,” Menedez said. “He purchased two MoneyGram money orders from a local merchant, and when he went in to purchase the money order, he actually wrote his real name and his real address down on the money order.”
That led them to the suspect’s home.
“Through our investigations, we were able to find the victim’s credit card in the suspect’s trash,” Menedez said.
Account takeover fraud was up dramatically in 2012 totaling $4.9 billion – a 69 percent increase over 2011.
Postal inspectors advise to safeguard your personal information at all times.
“One thing we always recommend is to check your credit report once a year to make sure nothing fraudulent has happened to your credit,” Menedez said.
Also, never carry your Social Security card with you. The best thing you can do is leave it at home -- stored in a safe place.