Crooks convince victims to give up personal information

Posted at 6:47 PM, Sep 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-13 18:47:53-04

It sounds like common sense, but you should never give your personal information to someone you don't know over the phone.

This simple mistake costs people hundreds of thousands all because the phone calls sounded pretty convincing.

Surveillance photos inside of a bank show a con man named Joseph Dees getting a cash advance on a stolen credit card.

His co-conspirator, Courtney McFeater, is seen leaving various stores after making big ticket purchases.

Here`s how they did it: First, they would search the Internet for office managers or someone working in a busy doctor`s office or real estate agency. Dees would then tell the victims that he was calling because they didn`t show for jury duty.

“He would say, ‘We can take care of this problem right now. You`re delinquent for jury duty, but we just need some information over the phone,’” says a U.S. Postal Inspector.

He would proceed to ask for social security numbers, date of birth, mother`s maiden name and current address.

With that information, the suspects could call a credit card company and simply ask for a replacement card to be sent to an address to which they had access.

“After cards are delivered, they would use different cell phone numbers to call and activate the cards and then use the cards until they were shut off,” says the Postal Inspector.

Victims told Postal Inspectors the suspect was very convincing.

“He was very convincing and very calm and if they didn`t want to give out their information. He would somehow keep them talking and convince them to give out personal information on the phone,” says the Postal Inspector.

That is the lesson.

"If someone calls you, never give out personal information to them because you don`t know who is on the other end of the phone call,” the inspector says.

The suspects in this case all pleaded guilty and received different sentences between 2 and 6 years. They are all currently in jail.

Postal inspectors say in all, there are about 50 victims. One of the best ways to combat credit card theft is to order free yearly credit checks.