[funsec] Store IDs led to arrests

rms at computerbytesman.com rms at computerbytesman.com
Thu Mar 29 07:47:21 CDT 2007


Store IDs led to arrests
Data taken from TJX was used to buy gift cards
By Ross Kerber, Globe Staff  |  March 29, 2007

If you're going to buy a high-definition television using stolen credit card
numbers, don't buy it at a store that has your photo and address in its

Six people arrested and charged with participating in a crime ring that used
credit card numbers stolen from TJX Cos. of Framingham to buy more than $8
million worth of electronics at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores across
Florida face arraignment this morning in Jacksonville. Four other defendants
remain at large. Security and law-enforcement officials who built the case
identified at least three of the defendants with the help of records kept by
Sam's Club, the discount warehouse division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

To prevent non members from shopping at Sam's Club and taking advantage of
its discounts , the chain requires all members to hold an identification
card, nearly always with a photograph and address. In the Florida case, one
break came when investigators matched the images they saw on store
surveillance tapes, which recorded the customers involved in the suspicious
transactions, with driver's license photos and photos the chain had in its
database of Sam's Club members.

Investigators "pieced it together from the bottom up," said Bill Cervone, a
Florida state attorney whose jurisdiction includes Gainesville, Fla., where
a police detective took the lead after two Wal-Mart stores there reported
suspicious purchases in the fall.

The chronology of events, spelled out by law enforcement officials and in an
affidavit filed in connection with the case, demonstrates one way that
thieves can profit from lists of stolen credit card numbers by turning them
into gift cards with which to buy expensive goods -- in effect laundering
the stolen numbers to make them harder to trace.


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