Susie and Chris Linford of Anchorage, Alaska, became the victims of identity theft when their debit card number was stolen a few weeks ago. They were contacted by their credit union, which informed them that their identity theft protection had kicked in and they would not be responsible for the fraudulent $5,000 online shopping spree the thief had gone on. In fact, their money was returned, and they were issued a new account number. Then they filed a police report and figured the nightmare was over. But while the Linford's story seemed to be a run-of-the-mill identity theft case, it does not end there. The next day, packages they had not ordered began arriving at their home.
The thief who had cloned the debit card had apparently used the Linford's billing address as the shipping address as well. So a series of unexpected deliveries continued to arrive -- sometimes multiple shipments a day were being dropped off at the Linford's home.
The first package contained a car stereo and radar detector. Then, there was a baseball bat signed by former Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and an autographed, framed portrait of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Later, four expensive North Face jackets, and martial arts equipment were delivered. Last, the Linford's received a linen scrapbook and an expensive women's coat.
The couple assumed that the thief had been buying Christmas gifts because the items were so varied. They're still not sure why their own address was used for shipping, because it certainly did not benefit the would-be thief.
The thief also used the Linford's debit card to pay for a subscription to USA Today, and to pay off a phone bill. Additionally, the thief attempted to join a book-of-the-month club. All of this damage was done using the debit card number in under an hour.
Even though the Linfords will not be held responsible for the merchandise, Susie feels it's only right to find the seller of each item and return it.
- Financial Fraud Prevention