Two Mexican citizens who were arrested at the border on Tuesday were connected to the recent Target security breach that compromised an estimated 110 million customers’ credit card information.
Mary Carmen Garcia, 27, and Daniel Guardiola Dominguez, 28, purchased tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise using account information stolen in the retailer’s security breach. A federal official told the Associated Press that there was no connection between Garcia and
Dominguez’s arrest at the border and their involvement the Target security breach.
According to research by the U.S. Department of Justice from June 2013, 7 percent of American households were victim to some type of identity fraud. The same research reported the total financial loss attributed to identity theft in 2013 up to that point totaled $21 billion.
Incidents such as the Target security breach that affected millions of Americans during the holiday season and a similar security breach at Neiman Marcus that went undetected from July to December have brought the threat of credit card fraud to the forefront of many shoppers’ minds; however, credit card fraud is not always the work of savvy computer hackers.
Just last week, Eastern Michigan University’s campus saw two incidents of fraudulent credit card use. One was an employee at the university who gave a ride to a young man on campus, only to find their credit card missing after dropping him off. Another was a student who lent their debit card to a friend and later noticed unauthorized charges. The victims of these incidents could not be reached for comment.
EMU student Ryan Sanabani recalled his own encounter with identity theft and said he is still unsure as to how someone obtained his credit card information.
“The day it happened, I received an email from my bank telling me they were suspicious of a couple of transactions that took place at a supermarket adding up to approximately $200,” Sanabani said.
“I confirmed it was not me and they set a quick investigation, and in a week or so paid me back.”
The moral to these stories, according to EMU’s crime prevention police officer Candace Dorsey, is to be careful about who you trust.
“Don’t loan out your credit card to folks, period,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey also offered these basic guidelines to preventing credit card fraud:
- Only carry your card with you if you plan on using it
- Don’t tell people you have a credit card
- Limit the amount of credit cards you carry at one time
- Be vigilant about the storage of your credit cards, i.e. keep them somewhere safe at home or always put them back in the same place in your wallet or purse.
While all of these tips can help to keep students safe from the average identity theft, Dorsey said it is important to regularly check credit card and bank statements in order to stay safe from cyber hackers like those who breached Target and Neiman Marcus.
“You can’t always stop it,” Dorsey said. “But you can put a stop to additional charges and alert someone of the fraud.”
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