The perpetrators are creating fake credit cards using real credit card numbers at one of the store's self-check out lanes. The consumer with whom I spoke had his Capital One credit card number stolen by the perpetrators of this scam. The perpetrator who stole his credit card number swiped two other phony credit card numbers before the self checkout ATM accepted one of the cards that had his credit card number imprinted on the card. When the consumer received his credit card bill in the mail and discovered more than $2,000 in charges at the Sam's Club in Greenwood where he has never shopped, he immediately notified Capital One of the fraudulent charges to his account. The perpetrator used the phony credit card to purchase two, $1,000 gift cards, along with some small items totaling $42.00.
Greenwood Police investigated the credit card scam and told the consumer there had been more than $30,000 in fraudulent charges reported at the store in recent weeks. Police said the surveillance camera images of the perpetrator did not provide a clear enough image for identification purposes. Here's the kicker. Sam's Club is refusing to acknowledge the crime occurred and, instead, is insisting that the consumers be held liable for the fraudulent use of their credit card numbers. Incredibly, the store is defending its action by claiming that the credit card had not been reported stolen when it was used and that it has a signature on file for the credit card charge so the victim of the scam must pay. In the case of the consumer with whom I spoke, the evidence clearly showed the same person had swiped multiple credit cards with numbers belonging to multiple individuals before getting the ATM to accept a card. Even worse, the charge backs are being reported to the credit reporting services, leaving a bad mark on the defrauded consumers' credit reports.
This is an outrage what Sam's Club is doing to innocent consumers. It's making the victims of this scam eat the expense of its loose system that allows individuals to steal money from its store. The Indiana Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division should begin an immediate investigation of the store's practices to put a stop to this before it allows these scammers to rip off more innocent consumers. Because the scammers are using the phony credit cards to purchase gift cards, Sam's Club could easily detect who the perpetrators are if they would simply seek identification information from people using gift cards at their stores with stolen funds but they aren't. The store should be ashamed of what it's doing, but bottom line profits are obviously more important than protecting consumers from fraud at their store.
This has apparently happened at other Sam's Club and Walmart stores in other parts of the country, as well as right here in Indiana. Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett brought charges against five individuals who were apparently traveling the country using counterfeit credit cards at Sam's Clubs. These individuals were caught while using them at a Sam's Club in Clarksville, Indiana. according to a report by WAVE:
The U.S. Attorney's Office will prosecute an alleged credit card fraud case against five people arrested after shopping at Sam's Club on Veterans Parkway. Federal agents said the group is from New York and may have been traveling the country using counterfeit credit cards.
Paul Johnson, the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, said the cards are reproduced "into what we call white plastic to make them look like genuine credit cards. So there's actual names and actual victims out there."
"They sought to purchase ipads and gift cards from the Sam's Club location," said Joseph Hogsett, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
Police received information from Sam's Club that the suspects were attempting to use fraudulent credit cards. The Sam's Club employee gave police a description of the suspects and their vehicle.It's too bad the store management in Greenwood isn't as good at detecting fraud and holding those responsible as the store in Clarksville. A couple in Florida managed to steal nearly $1 million worth of purchases at stores in Central Florida a couple of years ago using counterfeit credit cards before the pair were caught. The Orlando-Sentinel had this report on charges brought against the couple by federal prosecutors in Orlando:
According to a criminal complaint recently filed in Orlando against Shoukry and Holley, the duo obtained counterfeit identification bearing their photos, along with the pertinent identifying information of their would-be victims.
Shoukry, Holley and others, who are not identified in court records, then obtained duplicate credit cards at the membership desks at various Sam's Clubs. Each time, Shoukry and Holley posed for a new membership photo.
They then went on shopping sprees, prosecutors allege. And court documents give several examples of their alleged illegal spending:
On Feb. 15, 2011, Shoukry got a credit card at a Lakeland Sam's Club and made $8,208 in purchases at Sam's stores the same day.
On April 11, Shoukry got a counterfeit credit card at the Ocoee Sam's Club, and bought $7,408 worth of merchandise.
Prosecutors said Shoukry, 61, committed the same scheme in May at the Sanford store.
Holley, 34, is accused of making $23,263 in fraudulent purchases on a single card.
Prosecutors say he spent $29,327 on another at Sam's Club stores in Daytona Beach, Ocoee and Fern Park; and Walmart stores in Daytona Beach, Orlando, Kissimmee, Tampa and Casselberry.
Shoukry is accused of obtaining at least eight duplicate credit cards from January 2011 to May 2011; Holley is accused of obtaining at least 35 duplicate cards through this scheme from May 2011 to December.
Prosecutors say the combined loss in the Orlando-area because of their fraud is $982,881.