Fast food, social media and stolen credit cards don't mix

By , CardRatings contributor
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Time for another look at unusual credit card crimes in the news, and I'd like to give a special shoutout to four Northern California crooks. Doing something as spectacularly foolish as what you guys did makes these columns so much easier for me to write…

Dumb Crook of the Month award goes to these guys

The Associated Press recently reported that four burglary suspects were arrested in Rocklin, Calif., for stealing various items, like wallets and GPS units, out of four parked cars. And when the victims get their belongings back, and want to know who to thank for catching the crooks, they should thank -- the crooks.

You can work up quite an appetite robbing people blind, and so after three adults and one minor allegedly broke into these cars, they stopped at Carl's Jr. and bought a lot to eat.

And they bought so much, and took so long in the drive-thru, that they kindly took their stolen credit card and offered to pay for the customers in the line behind them. If there's one type of criminal element you have to like, it's the generous kind, even if they are being generous with someone else's money.

A Carl's Jr. employee told The Sacramento Bee that the suspects bought five $6 burgers, five orange cream shakes, three barbecue chicken quesadillas, one bacon Swiss chicken sandwich, two double western sandwiches, two fried zucchinis, two teriyaki burgers with added bacon -- well, you get the idea. They purchased a lot of food.

So, anyway, a Carl's Jr. worker eventually brought out the food, and the three men and minor, for whatever reason, decided to put all of their food on the trunk of the car -- sure, why not? -- and then took a photo of themselves, posing with the food, and holding a receipt for their purchase.

Then they put it on the photo-sharing website, Instagram. Oh, the fun that a prosecutor is going to have with this.

The well-fed crooks went on their merry way, and the following day, the credit card victim reports the theft to the police. Soon after, the authorities interviewed the Carl's Jr. employees, who said that, you know, they did seem kind of odd -- and, by the way, while we were watching all of this go down, the crooks took a photo of themselves and their food and put it on Instragram.

And, yes, they were caught and arrested.

Because, helpfully, in the photo, the vehicle's license plate was also visible.

Kids will be kids?

This is really only worth noting for the amount spent, but the Lincoln Journal Star recently published a brief about a 74-year-old woman in Lincoln, Neb., whose bank noticed some strange charges on her account. The Nebraskan confirmed that she hadn't made the charges, and the bank said that once she filed a police report, the charges would be released.

The perpetrator is now apparently facing felony charges, although hopefully they'll be dropped soon and everything will be sorted out. One would like to think this is an innocent mistake because the perpetrator is only 10 years old -- and the woman's grandson. He apparently got hold of her credit card and started playing the online game, Minecraft, and apparently spent a lot of money on game features.

Just how much Minecraft-related money did this boy spend? $800.

Meanwhile, in Chesapeake, Virginia

Police are still looking for a person who stole a wallet -- and then used a credit card from it -- about a month ago at a shopping mall. This is a pretty standard crime, but what stands out is that the guy lifted the wall from a baby stroller while the parent was looking in another direction.

Granted, it's not quite as mean as literally taking candy from a baby, but close enough.

Yet another scam, this time in Vermont…

Criminals have been calling Vermont Electric Co-op customers, threatening to shut off the electricity if the homeowner doesn't pay the bill right away. The caller then demand the customer's credit card information. Tricky, since the VEC does sometimes call to set up payment plans. If you're behind on the bill and a call like this almost sounds legit, you can always hang up and call the electric company back -- not at any number your probable con artist has given you -- and then pay them.

Don't trust your caller ID

The IRS recently put out an alert that scammers have been posing as IRS employees, calling taxpayers and telling them that they owe money -- and need to pay it now.

It's believable because these scammers have it rigged so your caller ID will make it look like the IRS is calling.

The trick is, they call, they tell you to pay up -- and they ask for your credit card number.

But the IRS never calls and asks for credit card information, so don't give it to them. Even if you do owe the IRS a small fortune.

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