Foley Woman Victim of Bizarre New Credit Fraud

Foley Woman Victim of Bizarre New Credit Fraud

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Foley, Al -

A Foley woman was outraged when she found out her credit card information had been stolen by thieves in Europe.

Thieves didn't need to dig through her trash to steal her bank statements, they just needed a simple mathematical equation.

"Helpless, frustrated, angry," says Karen Snodgrass.

A bevy of emotions ran through Karen Snodgrass when she found out her credit card information had been stolen. Her husband, David, was the first to find out.

"He was hysterical on the phone, he's like oh my gosh, somebody got our debit card number and cleaned our checking account out."

Karen immediately got on the phone to try to straighten things out.

"So I called the number on the back of the card and I said ‘my number has been stolen, what can you do?' And they said ‘where did you lose your card?' I said ‘I didn't lose my card, the number was stolen'."

After explaining, the bank said they couldn't stop the payment, but they could freeze her account. Snodgrass realized later, it was a scam that originated in the UK.

Credit card numbers are generated by using an algorithm. These thieves feed numbers into the algorithm, generating legitimate numbers. They test the numbers on a small purchase and if it goes through, they go in for the kill.

A transaction for 02 UK LTD will show up on your bank statement. That's a UK-based prepay phone company. Thieves use your numbers to buy a SIM card for a cell phone, which then acts like a credit card.  In Karen's case, once the SIM card was purchased, they went straight to IKEA. Snodgrass says IKEA was raring to help.

"She got excited, she said, and we'll have the address of the person where it's going to be sent."

Authorities say in this case, Karen did all the right things, but it's also a warning for others.

"People that keep track of their purchases and their bills and notifying the bank or your credit card company as soon as possible is essential here," says Sgt. Joe Mahoney with the Mobile County Sheriff's Office.

And this is actually the second time Snodgrass says her number has been stolen. That's when they decided to dig out their old shredder out of storage so it'll never happen again.

Meanwhile, Snodgrass thinks they should put their talents to better use.

"If they worked as hard doing a job, they'd have a really good job," says Snodgrass.

Good news--Karen says the bank was able to get their money back and IKEA will let them know if the culprits are caught.

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