So it's time for another look at unusual credit card crimes making the news, and, boy, we have a great story to start off with…
And the winner of the dumb crook of the month award goes to…
Four teenagers. I'll give them a minor break and won't put their names down in print, although three are 19-year-olds and have been identified in local media. One is a 17-year-old girl, and her name hasn't been released.
These four teenagers used a woman's missing credit card to buy some movie tickets, according to various local media outlets in the Anne Arundel County, Maryland area. Apparently, this woman lost her card, and they found it, and they figured the "finders keepers" rule applied. I think that's what I would use as a legal defense. In fact, I've always wanted to practice law, so if any of these teenagers are reading this, call me.
But the teenagers aren't considered dumb crooks for using the credit card to buy movie tickets and snacks (grand total: $57.75, for four movie tickets, soda and popcorn. Maybe the theater owner should be arrested for high concession prices). No, their moment of stupidity came when they went to a photo booth and paid $15 to take a bunch of photos, including one showing the teen crooks -- get this -- holding the stolen credit card.
And then they helpfully left the photos and the credit card at the movie theater.
A photo of the four teens in the photo booth was plastered across local media and the Internet, but maybe their friends, family, classmates and acquaintances kept quiet, figuring these kids were just being silly teenagers and didn't really mean any harm? No such luck, for these four. Within hours, the police station's phones were ringing off the proverbial hook.
Just how many fake credit cards do you need?
Many personal finance experts will tell you that you shouldn't have too many credit cards. It can make lenders nervous to think that you might go crazy one day and use all of them up to their limits and then not pay. You want to look like you're a responsible consumer, not a potential shopaholic.
Well, I had never considered this before, but the nice thing about being a credit card thief is that you can have all the fake credit cards you want, and it won't affect your credit score. So there is that going for crooks. You can spend as much as you want, and have as many cards as you want, and it'll have absolutely no effect on your credit score.
I mention this because the Lansing State Journal recently ran a little piece about a 20-year-old Detroit woman who was taken away by policy after she left a store with 50 to 60 credit cards, none of which apparently were actual real. At first, I thought, "Wow," but then I realized that was nothing when I came across a report that The Republican, a paper that serves western Massachussetts, put out.
In Enfield, Massachusetts, police arrested three crooks hailing from Brooklyn who were caught with 147 fake credit cards.
They were trying to use some of the cards, evidently unsuccessfully, at a Target store. More fun facts: They allegedly slugged a Target employee who confronted them and suggested that they might be crooks, and when the police caught up with them, in the men's car were purchases from Target stores, items like underwear and socks. Altogether now: Really? You're going to risk jail by stealing credit cards, and that's what you buy?
Hell hath no fury…
Anyone -- male or female -- who is divorced and not had this happen to them can now breathe a sigh of relief -- and if you're on good terms, you might want to even call and thank your ex-spouse for not destroying your credit report. The Citizens' Voice, the paper for Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is reporting that a Donna Kelley, 46, was frustrated with her ex-husband, who she divorced in 2009, over a disagreement about some property.
So she opened six credit card accounts in his name and spent $7,123 on five of those six accounts.
She apparently didn't get around to using the sixth card. Police say that Kelley confessed to opening the accounts with her ex-husband's social security number, date of birth and an email address she created in her ex-husband's name.
Instead of opening up credit cards in your ex's name, why not t.p. his or her house instead? It's juvenile and might open you up to charges by the authorities if you're caught, but it's a lot less damaging. Or you could always sneak into your ex-spouse's home and put his or her hand in a bowl of warm water, like kids do at sleepovers. Sure, there might be some legal issues there, too, like tresspassing charges, to deal with later… but the point is, if you're going to steal a credit card, it's best if you do it in a way that you don't become the police detective's immedate and only suspect.
Still, at least Ms. Kelley didn't take a photograph of herself with six stolen credit card accounts. We have to give her that.