A hero walks among us, and he’s wearing brown shorts, a brown shirt and maybe even a brown hat. His mission? Fighting credit card fraud.
Actually, his mission is to deliver things for UPS — he’s a driver for the shipping company — but his job put him in the position to spot a credit card fraud scheme in south New Jersey, reports the PhillyVoice. The driver reported suspicious activity to police on Sept. 4 after noticing he was delivering a lot of American Express cards to homes in Evesham Township. He also noted an SUV following his truck as he made deliveries.
Upon responding to the driver’s call, Evesham police questioned the SUV’s driver, Priamo Raphael Lopez-Toro, who reportedly gave conflicting stories explaining his behavior, the PhillyVoice reported. A search of his vehicle revealed stolen UPS packages containing credit cards addressed to township residents, police said.
Investigators accused Lopez-Toro of stealing residents’ identities in order to fraudulently obtain credit cards in their names and charged him with four counts of third-degree credit card theft.
Credit card fraud often takes place digitally, given the prevalence of data breaches and credit card skimming, but old-school, localized fraud schemes continue to affect U.S. consumers. It’s just as important to protect your identity online as it is to manage your analog identity — that means shredding documents with sensitive information, deterring mail thieves and keeping personally identifying information secure in your home.
In the case of what seems to have happened in this New Jersey scheme, victims would know if someone had opened a credit card in their name by checking their credit reports and monitoring their credit scores for changes. The account would appear on a credit report, and a hard inquirywould likely show up before that. You can watch for these things by getting your credit scores for free every 30 days from Credit.com. If you see your scores drop due to a new inquiry or additional account you didn’t authorize, you know to investigate the source and ideally you can stop any further fraud from occurring. Act immediately when you identify something suspicious, because the longer the fraud goes on, the more damage it can do to your credit and finances, and it may also take longer to recover from the incident.