Fraudulent charges appeared on four store accounts opened without a local man’s permission. At 8 PM on October 24, a 39-year-old man living on East 95th Street received a statement on a credit card account for which he never applied. He then contacted a credit bureau, where he discovered that between October 21 and October 26, four fraudulent accounts had been opened in his name at the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, Queens. These were store accounts: Victoria’s Secret and Kohl’s, opened on October 21; J.C. Penney on October 24; and Macy’s on October 26. The charges at Victoria’s Secret came to $962, Macy’s $950, Kohl’s $990, and J.C. Penney $2,639, totaling approximately $5,700.
A clothing store employee was arrested for giving out unauthorized merchandise and merchandise credit. In the period between 9 AM on September 21 and 5 PM on October 1, a 29-year-old male employee of a clothing store on East 86th Street was observed giving unauthorized merchandise and merchandise credit to unknown perpetrators on numerous occasions. The unknown perpetrators would remove merchandise from store shelves and take it to the employee’s register, where he would give a cash refund for the merchandise – and allow the perpetrators to keep the merchandise. In all, he awarded the other perpetrators $1,362 worth of clothing and $1,362 in cash, for a total of $2,724.44. The man was arrested December 4 and charged with grand larceny.
Crime Advisory from the 19th Precinct:
Beware of Green Dot MoneyPak Card Scams
Police report that area residents have been losing thousands of dollars in a phone scam involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards.
In this scam, an unsuspecting victim receives a phone call from someone who claims to be collecting a debt from either a utility company or the Internal Revenue Service. The caller tells victims that they must pay what they owe immediately or face the loss of their heat, electricity – or even that they will be arrested or deported. The caller tells victims that they can avoid such penalties if they immediately pay the past due amount, using a Green Dot MoneyPak card purchased at a local store. The scammer instructs the victim to purchase the card in a specified amount and gives the victim a phone number to call back after the card has been purchased. Calling back with the card in hand, the victim is then instructed to scratch off and read the serial number to the caller over the phone, enabling the scammer to transfer funds onto a prepaid debit card.
These MoneyPak scams appeal to thieves, because the scammers do not have to show up at an office to claim the funds, as they would in a traditional wire-transfer scheme.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THIS SCAM
•Be suspicious of any caller who demands immediate payment for any reason.
•Never give out personal or financial information to anyone who e-mails or calls you unsolicited.
•Never wire money or provide debit, credit, or Green Dot MoneyPak card numbers to someone you do not know. Remember that anyone who has the serial number for a Green Dot MoneyPak card has access to the funds on the card.
•Be advised that utility companies and government agencies will NEVER contact you demanding immediate payment by MoneyPak cards.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
•Do NOT cross streets while talking or texting on a cell phone.
•Do NOT cross streets while listening to a radio, iPod, or any device with earphones.
•Wait for your turn.
•Jaywalking causes traffic to build up, resulting in aggressive and dangerous driving.
•Use the safest crosswalk.
•Use a crosswalk opposite to the flow of traffic (for example, when traffic is turning north on an avenue, use the crosswalk on the south side of the intersecting street, where no cars are competing with pedestrians to use the crosswalk.)
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