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Identity Fraud Ring Hijacked Consumer Retail Credit Accounts

An investigation by the New York Attorney General led to the arrest of seven in an identity fraud scheme where the fraudsters impersonated consumers at retail stores in attempts to take over their store credit card accounts, the fraudsters have been accused of operating this scam since at least 2008. It is believed that the seven suspects are responsible for more than $1 million in fraudulent purchases made from retail stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Members of the fraud ring stole or purchased identity information and then used that information to counterfeit driver’s licenses. The fraud ring focused on retail stores, including Sears, Kohls and Home Depot, and impersonated consumers that had store credit cards or other lines of credit with these retailers. The fraudster would initiate a purchase at the checkout counter and then tell the store clerk that they forgot their store credit card. They would come equipped with the fake driver’s license, baring the victim’s name but the fraudster’s picture, as well as the victim’s Social Security number to gain access to their line of credit. The fraudsters would then buy fence-able merchandise and store gift cards which were later resold below face value. The suspects now face multiple felonies including conspiracy to produce fake driver’s licenses, conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.


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