Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Can I Steal Your Identity with That Pizza?

Can-I-Steal-Your-Identity-with-That-Pizza-audio-post - click to play

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

A Utah man paid the ultimate high price for his recent
pizza purchase. That's right - identity theft resulting
from simply buying a pizza.

$1,500 in fraudulent credit card charges across two different
states were the result of identity theft committed against
the man while he was living in Ohio. It seems the pizza
clerk made use of a small, handheld device called a
"skimmer" to illegally capture the man's credit card data.

The skimmer pulls the data from your credit card which provides
the identity thief all the information needed to make a counterfeit
card. A skimmer can hold card data from hundreds of different
credit cards.

Identity thieves use them to record the names, account numbers
and other identifying information from the magnetic stripes
located on the back of the card to be downloaded onto a personal
computer later. That data can then be used to make phony credit
cards used to commit fraud against innocent victims.

Since hand held card skimmers have been reported to cost as little
as $300, it's no wonder the pizza man found it far more profitable
to steal identities than worry about whether pepperoni or sausage
was on your order.

Now combine a skimmer equipped identity thief with a customer order
database which includes your name, home address, phone number
and you have a ready made set of potential victims to commit credit
fraud against.

No wonder the pizza man is part of a cottage industry of identity
thieves who either directly commit credit fraud or illegally sell
your personal information to others to use anywhere else in the

It's a big problem which was estimated to cost $1 billion a year
accordingly to Bankrate.com.

So, our tip for today is to pay cash for that pizza ordered from
the call in service. Better yet, avoid using those "convenient"
phone in ordered, pizza delivery services altogether as they are
typically staffed by transient labor who are responsible for
recording some of your most confidential personal credit data
that you would typically only trust with a bank.


At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expanding on this theme, check out the data misuse (extreme) example the ACLU illustrates with pizza ordering: http://www.aclu.org/pizza/

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I once ordered a pizza and when I received it from the delivery guy

(paying in cash) there was a reciept that had fallen in to the crack of the

box, which was a signed credit card reciept from another customer, which had

name address, phone number, cc number and expire date as well as thier

signature. I called the person on the reciept and let them know what I had

found in my pizza, and they were really clueless as to what the big deal

was, so I shredded the reciept for them. The moral of the story is that even

if the pizza guys are honest the next customer after you may not be, also

never use a credit card when ordering from....

At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always wondered about this, because when I used to order pizza and pay

with a credit card - half of the guys would say "I need to see your credit

card and make a rubbing copy with a crayon". And the other half would not do

it. I asked one of the guys who told me he didn't need a rubbing, why some

asked for them and some didn't? He said that he didn't know, but that they

have no requirement from the store to do any such thing.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just happened to me.

I went out to eat at a pizza place last Monday and payed with my Visa check

card. On Saturday, I withdrew some cash from my ATM and noticed my balance

was low so I checked my account on-line and there was a fraudulent

transaction for $868 to an electronic store.


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