One thief with a conscience apparently has a very unique way of saying sorry.
Chris and Susie Linford, of Anchorage, Alaska, were shocked when they received a call from the credit union they belong to informing them that someone had used their debit card to make fraudulent purchases totalling $5,000, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
After blocking the card, Credit Union 1 issued the Linfords a refund and a new account number, but that wasn’t the end of their saga. In mid-December, the couple started to receive packages for items they never ordered. First there was a car stereo, then a baseball bat signed by a former Atlanta Braves player, then a $900 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. signed print and the list goes on.
After tracking the orders to IP addresses and phone numbers in Kansas and Illinois, Susie assumed that the gifts were from the thief. Whether or not the thief sent the items to the Linfords on purpose is unclear, but Susie said the gifts belong to whoever lost money in the transactions.
"If they clone the card and there is a signature on it, the card issuer will take the loss," Pat Berry, vice president and chief audit executive at Credit Union 1, told the Anchorage Daily News. "If it's an internet transaction, in a lot of cases, the merchant takes the loss."
According to the Federal Trade Commission, thieves sometimes get their hands on your bank account information by stealing discarded bills or taking a picture of your debit or credit card. In 2011, credit card fraud resulted in 14 percent of all identity theft complaints.
Last year, credit card fraud was up 87 percent over 2010, leading to a total loss of about $6 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. One of the leading causes of the rise in theft is advancements in technology that allow thieves to more easily access your information online. An international crackdown on credit card theft online last year resulted in 24 arrests in 13 countries on charges of stealing personal and banking data of more than 400,000 people globally.
To avoid credit card theft online, the FBI recommends not sharing your credit card information unless it's on a secure and well-recognized website. Check with the Better Business Bureau about any website trying to sell you something and be cautious when responding to unsolicited e-mail.