Who is using my card?
“Wick, did you charge $66 worth of pizza at Dominos?” my wife asked. “Here’s another $19 at Jimmy John’s!”
The question was rhetorical for she knew as well as I did that (1) we could never eat $66 worth of pizza and (2) we have never ordered any pizza to go in the three years we have been living in the Twin Cities.
We immediately realized our credit card had been compromised. However, this was not a simple matter of a stolen card for we each had our cards in our possession.
We figured it would only take a bit of sleuthing on our part to get to the bottom of this. My wife continued perusing the online activity list from the credit card company to see how badly we had been fleeced.
The first criminal activity on the card coincided with our arrival on the train in St. Paul from Seattle, Washington. We had spent two and a half days as guests of Amtrak and were certain that the last time we had used the card was in Pike’s Market in Seattle when we had lunch while waiting for our train to depart.
Shortly after arriving home, we found ourselves locked out of our house. After an hour of some very creative manipulation, we managed to break and enter our home without causing a whole lot of damage. Following a quick trip to the post office to mail some books, we returned home to settle in for an early night’s sleep. While we were sleeping, the extravaganza began.
Strangely enough, this was not your normal credit card shopping spree featuring jewelry, televisions, laptops, and iPods. This scammer was much more practical. They purchased a Metro Transit Card for $22 and got a refund. A few days later they purchased another for $59 and the next day got another $59 card. Then they went over to Simply Storage-Hiawatha and paid a rental fee of $71. I highly suspect they have a storage unit full of Domino’s pizza. Their last purchase was at Coach USA, a store featuring high-end men and women’s purses and handbags, but they only spent $24.50.
Now the caper becomes more puzzling. Every item was ordered online which meant that the card used could have been either mine or my wife’s and the culprit could be either male or female. By purchasing online, the thief only had to show up and pick up the items or possibly have them delivered to a (false?) address. It is quite likely that no vendor ever saw their face.
Even more puzzling is how they got the information from our card in the first place. They needed not only the credit card number, but the expiration date and the three digit code on the back.
The cabbie who took us home was our first suspect. Wrong! We had used a different credit card to pay for the cab so I offer my apologies. The only other vendor who fit the timeline was my friendly neighborhood postal clerk whom I have become quite good friends with over the past three years. I dismissed him as easily as I accused the cabbie.
Let’s put together the facts as we know them and see who we are dealing with. The culprit likes pizza so they must be a beer drinker. They are probably male because most criminals are. They use public transportation. They probably have no known address as their stuff is in storage. They have ties to the Hiawatha area of Minneapolis. All purchases were in the Twin Cities area. They just purchased a new handbag.
WANTED: Be on the lookout for a purse-carrying male with a beer gut known to ride the bus around Minneapolis who may be armed with pizza.