Two alleged members of the credit card fraud gang that cost jewelers more than $1 million in losses have been arrested, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.
The dual arrests came in separate incidents in Greensboro, N.C., and Houston after jewelers were alerted to the scam by JSA bulletins disseminated by the North Carolina Jewelers Association and Texas Jewelers Security Hotline.
In one instance, a retailer became suspicious of a customer and then saw his picture on the bulletin. After the suspect applied for a credit card, he was told that the company’s computers were down and left the store. The jeweler wrote down his license plate number, and the man was later arrested at another jewelry store.
Despite these arrests, JSA president John Kennedy advises jewelers to be on the lookout, noting that other gang members are still out there.
The group was made up of Asian men who typically apply for a store card with a fake driver’s license. The licenses bear the name of a real person with high credit garnered through identify theft. After the card is approved, the gang members would then buy a high-end watch with the phony card, sticking jewelers with the bill.
The fake licenses were so sophisticated that they would be nearly impossible for most jewelers to detect, says Kennedy.
“Some cops might be able to spot them, but I don’t think that a civilian could,” he says. “Still, jewelers should examine any documents carefully.”
He notes that GE Capital has been very cooperative with the investigation and covering jeweler chargebacks, but not every credit card company has.
“Jewelers should check the contract with their in-store credit program to see if they have coverage in identity-theft situations,” Kennedy says.