Can I Steal Your Identity with That Pizza?
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
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
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.