CONSUMER ALERT: It could be easier than you think for someone to steal your credit card information and go on a shopping spree.
Thieves across the country are walking into banks to get cash advances on stolen credit card accounts.
In this case, the ringleader of the ID theft ring, Willy Harris, recruited the help. He obtained the account number by simply calling people who were the card holders.
Cecil Frank is a US Postal Inspector. Frank says, "They will make phone calls to individuals and they will act like they are a credit card company and ask for the information."
Once he got the information, Harris would call the credit card company and add himself as a user on the account.
Frank says, "Just normal people all across America who didn't realize their credit cards were being compromised."
Harris would recruit accomplices and offer them a cut.
Frank says, ""Mr. Harris would recruit young women to go in and get cash advances from the banks and he would let them keep like $1500 of it."
Then, he would spend. Officials say Frank spent the money shopping, and they even have surveillance photos from Best Buy and the Apple Store.
"In Apple store the suspect was buying two laptops," says Frank. "And at Gucci he was buying a pair of $550 shoes."
Harris spent thousands of dollars on jewelry. In fact, he liked to design his own custom jewelry. Postal Inspectors say he was brazen.
Frank says, ""He has no regard for anybody else, or how they feel. And they are working hard every day to pay their credit cards bills and you go spend $550 on shoes."
Customers need to remember to protect themselves.
Postal Inspectors say, ""Never give out your information unless you make the call and give out your day of birth, things like that."
If someone calls claiming they are working for your credit card company, ask them for a phone number to call back. If the number isn't your credit card company's number, don't dial it. Instead, call your card company, and let them know what's happened.