ANCHORAGE, Alaska (1/10/13)--An identity thief who made $5,000 in charges within an hour on an Anchorage, Alaska, couple's credit union debit card may be kicking himself. The thief bought the loot but forgot to change the shipping address. The loot went to the victims' home.
Chris and Susie Linford, members of Anchorage-based Credit Union 1, told the Anchorage Daily News (Jan. 6) that the credit union called in December and told them someone had stolen their debit card number and was making authorized charges.
The credit union immediately blocked the card, issued a new account number and refunded their money. The Linfords filed a police report, assuming the thief was enjoying the ill-gotten bounty.
But in mid-December packages began to arrive--sometimes two a day--with goods they hadn't ordered. The thief may have not changed the card's shipping address when ordering the goods online, so the packages were delivered to their billing address, the Linfords said. They don't believe the thief intended to intercept the packages from their porch--orders were from phone numbers and internet provider addresses as far away as Kansas and Illinois.
Pat Berry, Credit Union 1 vice president and chief audit executive, told the Daily News that it is uncommon to have stolen merchandise arrive at a victim's home. The thief likely did not use a cloned card but instead used an account number likely gained hacking into a card payments system or retailer. Police said the thief sounds like an amateur.
The story, picked up nationally by AOL's The Daily Finance and Huffington Post, provided favorable press for the credit union.
The Daily Finance (Jan. 9) said the Linfords should be grateful the Credit Union 1 "was so good about spotting the fraud and getting them their money back." Federal law limits cardholders' liability for card theft to $50 but cardholders can be liable for up to $500 for fraudulent purchases. "Credit Union 1 evidently has a zero liability policy for debit card fraud and it sounds like the Linfords got their money back in their account in a timely manner," said the publication.
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