Saturday, April 01, 2006


Ever since some investigative reporters filmed themselves doing it, credit fraud for-a-joke has steadily increased in popularity.

Google credit card joke or credit card prank and you’ll find numerous people proudly proclaiming their success at duping apathetic sales workers with phony signatures, generally “Bugs Bunny” or “Britney Spears” signed for one’s own card.

At least three of these idle-handed would-be comics claim repeatedly to have shown how greedy credit card companies are. In fact, it shows only that busy people working for minimum wage don’t bother to check signatures. But everybody knew that already!!!
So what has been accomplished? Nothing constructive, certainly.

And what happens next? Well, generally that purchase will show up on the prankster’s statement, meaning he (or she—no, just he, no woman would be that insensitive) will be charged just the same as if he’d signed his legal name.
But there is the occasion or two in which it doesn’t show up on the statement. So what happened there? Well, somebody along the line caught the autograph and decided that Spider-Man probably didn’t have permission to be using John J. Whoever’s card. So the credit card company then charged the store where the purchase was made for the merchandise with which John J. walked out.

Most of these defrauders gloat in their testimonies at having done this, having gotten the careless punished. They apparently tend to see themselves as the Spider-Man, the dispenser of justice whose name was borrowed. Ha ha.
That’s a nice spin, and seems easy to buy. But what these guys actually did was commit theft. First-party credit card fraud, a form of charge-back fraud, to get technical.
Very illegal, very wrong. (By the way, when I say illegal, I don’t mean the “if somebody bothers to tell the local Sheriff” kind of illegal. I mean the “the Secret Service is closing in on these guy as I write this” kind of illegal. Happy prison sentence, jerks.)

But I just so happen to have a new Visa card now. Hee hee.
No, I won’t be signing myself off as Batman (though some believe that actually to be my real identity).
But I have toyed with the idea of busting a few cashiers.

I’m not talking about cashiers who are just too busy trying to get their jobs done well to notice credit theft, I’m talking about nailing the guys who laud and knowingly allow criminality. You know the ones I mean. The mean college girl at the grocery who cheats you out of your coupons, yells at you over them, then scans ’em just as you leave so she can pocket the 33¢. Wait, maybe that’s just hunger.
But anyway, the guy at the gas station who pauses the security tape so his crew can have their pick of the beers. That’s the guy I want to take down.

So, where to start…

How about that very guy at the gas station?

Tune in NEXT TIME!

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