Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Gift Card Fraud--New Jersey Man Caught Stealing $80k in Gift Cards

From This is different than the Wisconsin man I wrote about previously, who stole gift card information and sold bogus gift cards online.

"Six months ago, a thief walked into the ShopRite store on West Edgar Road in Linden, unplugged a credit card swipe machine and walked out.

For months, as police and store officials tracked his activity, the thief hacked into the credit card system and stole nearly $80,000 from the company by loading gift cards and prepaid credit cards with money from ShopRite’s account, authorities said."


"Police traced Perez, 56, using the credit card machine’s internet protocol address, which links a computer online to a physical location. He faces charges of theft and receiving of stolen property.

"Basically he stole a reader that connects to a processor and issued himself gift cards," said Karen Meleta, a spokeswoman for the ShopRite.

The device that was stolen in May is commonplace: it’s one of the small plastic units customers use to swipe their credit and debit cards when buying groceries, Linden Detective Lt. James Sarnicki said.

Meleta said no customer credit card data was compromised. Instead, Sarnicki said, Perez allegedly hooked the machine up to either a phone line or a computer and added money to Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards and refillable Visa cards. Police believe he then sold the cards to unwitting customers."


"Perez was sent to Union County Jail in lieu of $180,000 bail, but his alleged crime remains under investigation by ShopRite, Linden police and the United States Secret Service. That’s because the scam relied on a secret store code that may indicate cooperation from a ShopRite employee, police said.

"He could know any number of people who had access to the inner workings at ShopRite," said Sarnicki.

Meleta said that the company is investigating, but has no reason to believe that an employee had revealed the code.

"To lose $75,000 or $80,000, that’s a lot of money, and the guy is riding a gravy train, saying, ‘Look what I’m getting away with,’" Sarnicki said. "It’s a constant battle for us in law enforcement to keep up with criminals, with the way technology is progressing."

This is the best gift card to give this year--hell, any year.


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