A ninth-grader in the Memphis, Tennessee area recently pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of credit cards, forgery and criminal impersonation charges after impersonating a police officer when calling victims to obtain their credit card numbers. The teenager looked up personal information for his potential victims online then told them their card numbers were stolen and needed to be verified as he used the name Captain Tyrone Banks and a police scanner smartphone app to make authentic background noises. The fifteen year old then spent thousands of dollars on the victim’s credit cards for him and his friends to have a good time. The fraudulent purchases included limo rides, laser tag games, $500 worth of pizza and $1,000 for a DJ.
It doesn’t always take a sophisticated fraudster to pull off a scam, and with the amount of personal information people share online it can be easy for fraudsters, or teenagers, to impersonate someone who works for the police department or bank while sounding credible. The fact that a fifteen year old can successfully execute a scam like this underscores how readily available the needed tools and information are and how anyone can go out and attempt fraud. It should serve as a warning to consumers to watch how much information they share publicly online and to never give out credit card or other personal information when someone, no matter who they claim to be, has called you.
For more information see the article published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal