Undated -- You've probably heard it a dozen time, but it's a tip you should never forget: never give out your personal information over the phone to someone you don't know.
Ignoring that one rule could be costly.
Surveillance photos inside a bank caught Joseph Dees getting a cash advance on a stolen credit card. Other cameras also caught his co-conspirator Courtney McFeater leaving various stores after making big ticket purchases. Postal inspectors say they ran up $270,000 in purchases over a six-month period.
How'd they pull it off? They searched the internet for office managers or people working in busy offices. Dees would tell the victims he called because they didn't show up for jury duty. Postal inspector Brian Plants said, "He would say we can take care of this problem right now, you're delinquent jury duty, but we just need some information over the phone." Then he asked for their social security numbers, birth dates, mother's maiden name and current address. Then they used that information to call a credit card company and ask for a replacement card to be sent to an address of their own. Then they'd use different cell phones to activate the cards, and then they'd use the cards until they got shut off.
Victims told postal inspectors Dees was a charmer. Inspector Plant said, "He was very convincing, and very calm and if they didn't want to give out their information, he would somehow keep them talking and convince them to give out personal information on the phone."
Dees and McFeater pleaded guilty and received different sentences between 2 and 6 years, and are currently in jail.
Postal inspectors said one of the best ways to combat credit card theft is to order regular credit checks.
And we've made that easy for you to do! Just head to the 2 Wants to Know section of digtriad.com. Scroll down and look at the right side of the page and look for the Credit Report Reminder. Fill out your information, and every four months we'll send you a reminder to check your credit report!
US Postal Inspectors/WFMY News 2