This Crook Had No Idea What He Was Dealing With

I work in an office area that’s fairly open. We have half walls and the cube layouts are broken out into areas where three of us sit in a shared area.  Each of us has a corner with one corner open to enter and exit.   I like the two people I share space with a lot, but it’s often easy to overhear conversations given the layout.

I couldn’t help but hear bits and pieces of a conversation from JV, who was looking into a charge that he didn’t recognize.  It was for a pizza place in Ann Arbor, about an hour and a half away from our area. The charge was for $53.00.

First, he contacted his wife, then I heard him talking to the bank.  I wasn’t eavesdropping, but it was unavoidable to hear that he had gotten it worked out to get the charge removed, and to get a new card issued and the old card disabled.

The fun really started the next day.

I heard him on the phone again, and I couldn’t let the words waft past after I heard the word ‘Police Report’.

After that, I heard him going over in great detail personal information about the person who had stolen his identity.  He was offering up name, address, description, and phone number.

After he was done, I couldn’t help but spin around in my chair and ask for the story.  He went over that the charge had appeared, that he had been nowhere near, and that he’d gotten the info and contacted both his bank and the police.

I couldn’t help but wonder how he got the persons information.

He explained that it was through solid research and dealing with helpful people as well as a moronic thief:

  • He contacted the pizza place, asked to speak to a manager, and explained the
    The crook in the story might be getting heartburn from his pizza
    The crook in the story might be getting heartburn from his pizza

    situation.

  • The manager was very helpful and offered to verify the charge against the receipts.
  • Sure enough, there was a receipt that matched the exact amount.
  • The manager noted that the order had been placed…and it was called in as a delivery order.  The address that the pizza went to was right there on file.
  • The manager gave JV the address, which he maybe shouldn’t have done, but he did anyway.
  • JV asked the manager if he could talk to the person that made the delivery to get a description of the guy.  The manager agreed and said he would call back.
  • In the meantime, JV went online and looked up the address.  After Google searching and looking through public records, he found the name associated with the address.
  • He ran a Google search on the name and found that the guy had a YouTube account where he was on film.
  • The manager called back and said that he’d talked to the driver, and provided the description. JV noted that it exactly matched the info on YouTube.
  • He ran the name and address through a few more searches and came up with a couple of potential phone numbers.

At that point, he had everything he needed.  He had the name of the person, the address, the description, and the phone number.

The police took it all down, and he sent them over some of the search info, and they said they’d be paying the address a visit.

JV went out of town, so I haven’t been able to follow up on whether he heard anything back or looked up any arrest records (also public info), but I was very impressed.

It’s Not About The Money

JV is a cool guy.  He’s in his mid-to-late 20’s and recently got married and has a young baby girl.  From the time I’ve known him, I can tell that he’s driven by strong morals.  While we were talking, without even being prompted, he said that he knows that he put an awful lot of time into this, but he did so because it wasn’t about how much the person ‘stole’, but it was about the fact that they tried to steal at all.

He pointed out, and he was probably very correct, that a lot of people might have not even noticed the charge, or if they did, they simply would have called the bank and left it at that, figuring going through the rest of the process wasn’t worth the trouble.

But in his mind, not only was it the right option, for him it was the only option.  He knew that if he ‘let the guy off the hook’ by not following through to the next step, the guy would go right on with it.  Whether he would  have tried using JVs account again or used other accounts is hard to say, but it’s pretty clear he would have continued, and JV could not stand by and let that happen.

I admire JV for not only taking care of his own personal situation in this circumstance, but also for addressing the situation from a broader perspective, by trying to help other people from this happening to them by taking the opportunity to steal away.

That’s pretty awesome.

Readers, have you ever had to deal with this type of situation?  To what lengths did you go through to not only get yourself straightened out, but also to try to catch the bad guy?

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17 thoughts on “This Crook Had No Idea What He Was Dealing With

  1. I have had credit card fraud situations, but never like this. The best thing about a credit card is you can protest a charge without any problem.

  2. I’ve never had to deal with anything like this, but I admire JV as well. The other thing that jumped out at me is that how much information he was able to dig up on the offender with just a starting point – but wow…..what a stupid criminal. Have it delivered to your home address…….

  3. Really, did no one stop to think that it might be a simple mistake? The first 8 digits of any credit card number refer to the bank. Transposing even the last two numbers of a card could result in a valid number, particularly if the merchant doesn’t ask for the CVV or overrides that on his register. Before you scoff, I have a friend whose number is identical to mine except for the last two numbers (and the CVV) so I know it is possible. How would this “bad guy” have gotten the number in the first place?

    • He gave his name as the name on the card. He had the info somehow. Not really sure how he got it, thinking maybe a scamming device where someone put a scanner in front of a real one that collected data.

  4. That’s exactly what I would do. When someone wrongs me, I make sure I get all the ammunition I can to bring that person to justice. Luckily, it’s much easier these days with the internet. Most people aren’t bright enough to not leave a trail.

  5. You’ve heard of “camera-ready” and “user-ready”…now meet “Darwin Award-ready”!

    This is the best piece I’ve read today…or in a long time! 😀 I love JV’s remark that “it wasn’t about how much the person ‘stole’, but it was about the fact that they tried to steal at all.”

    A week or so ago, someone stole the little glass cross I wear with my choir robes — right out of the freaking church! It wasn’t worth much but was made by a dear friend, and it hung on a ribbon I had earned by sticking with the choir for a few years. I have a pretty good idea who took it — a teen-aged kid — but of course can’t prove it or even prove the bauble was actually stolen and not misplaced.

    Maybe if a JV counterpart catches this kid in the act before too much longer, a promising Criminal Career will be cut short.

  6. Hats off to your coworker! That’s great investigative work, as well as persistence to make sure that the situation was not swept under the rug.

    Interestingly, I’m looking into a charge that I literally just noticed on my card statement today. Over $200 charged by someone who I asked to stop billing to my card over year ago. I reached out the them via email and had a conversation with the credit card company. We’ll see what happens.
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  7. I’d agree with JV entirely because too often, the targets of identity thieves are left with no recourse and a huge mess on their hands. It’s great that of all the things to use the stolen number on, it was a delivery place, thus requiring a destination address. Too often the fraudulent charges I’ve seen aren’t charges that I can follow up on to hunt down the perpetrator.

  8. I’m very impressed by the detective work! I am of the same mindset that it’s the principle of the matter. I’ve fought the insurance companies many times even if the charge wasn’t a huge amount. To me, if my insurance is supposed to cover a service (whether it’s $20 or $100+ out of pocket), they need to honor their responsibility. I know many people who end up paying because they didn’t want to fight it. It’s just not right!

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