Thanks to public for helping us find woman using stolen credit cards

Thanks to public input, deputies have identified a woman caught using credit cards stolen from inside three cars in Eagle late last month.

Those people who had their cars broken into and wallets or purses stolen since Sept. 22 got reports that someone used their stolen credit or bank cards.

We put out a picture of a woman seen using those cards at local stores on social media sites and pretty soon we had enough info that we are able to identify her. Detectives tracker her down and  interviewed her. Charges against her are pending.

We’d just like to say thank you so much to everyone who helped in this case.

Here’s a picture of the woman using stolen cards local retailers earlier this month.

Thief1

All three car burglaries appear to be crimes of opportunity.

On Sept. 22, a resident of in the Eagle/Beacon Light roads neighborhood forgot to lock her truck while it was in the driveway of her home that night. When she went out to her car in the morning, she discovered her wallet was missing.

On Oct. 1, it appears someone went into an open garage in the Floating Feather Road/Ballantyne Lane neighborhood overnight and took a purse left inside a car.

The third break in happened on Oct. 7 in the Island Woods subdivision west of Eagle Road. Someone broke into an unlocked car overnight and swiped a backpack that had credit cards inside.

The best way to avoid being a victim of a crime like this is to lock your car every time you get out of it, no matter where it is. It’s also an excellent idea to never leave purses, wallets, or anything else that holds financial transaction cards in a car whether it’s locked or not.

Advertisements

Don’t leave your wallet or purse in a car if you want to avoid broken windows — and identity fraud

A persistent group of thieves known as the “felony lane gang” have been going through parking lots in the Treasure Valley — including health clubs, stores, public parks, and even churches — over the last several months. They break car windows to get at wallets, purses, backpacks, or other bags that may have credit cards, bank cards, and check books.

That’s the first way people are victimized. The second round of damage can happen only hours later when those thieves use the stolen checks and credit cards at local banks.

The FBI has described the Felony Lane Gang as “a group of thieves based in Florida, that travels across the United States stealing identities and checkbooks from unattended cars. With the stolen checkbooks and driver’s licenses, the gang cashes checks using the drive through lane of banks. The farthest lane from video cameras and tellers have been dubbed the ‘felony lane’ because of the ease with which false identities can be used to cash checks.”

The scam works like this. Thieves drive around parking lots until they see a purse or backpack. They park the car and someone walks up with a metal window-punching device. They break the glass, snap up the bag from inside the car, and leave in a matter of seconds.

FLG1

Once they get the driver’s license of a female victim, they try to match the picture of that ID with a woman they use in the scam, oftentimes using a wig. That woman then drives to a bank, goes in the farthest car lane from the window, and attempts to cash a check.

The thieves have a good idea of how much money they can cash a check for without have to go inside – in some cases as much as $2,000. They also steal local license plates to keep the cars inconspicuous.

It can be difficult to catch the ringleaders of the scam, who generally aren’t in the cars when the actual check fraud occurs.

In mid-August, ACSO deputies arrested two women, Danielle Cook, 28 and Jennifer Gallagher, 31, for attempting to cash fraudulent checks at a bank in Eagle.

Both women were wearing wigs and were in a car later determined to be stolen from Florida. Gallagher told deputies she came to Boise from Fort Lauderdale area just days before.

They were charged with two felony counts each of grand theft and burglary. Those charges were dropped late last month when both women were indicted in federal court on similar charges.

Deputies arrested a 25-year-old man and 37-year-old woman from Georgia in June in connection with the same scam.

Octavious Walker is charged with felony counts of burglary, and conspiracy to commit grand theft. Walker is being held in the Ada County Jail on a $1 million bond. His jury trial is set to begin Nov. 17 in Ada County 4th District Court.

Carolyn Paige Griffith, who was seen wearing a wig and driving the car through the “felony lane” at several area banks while trying to case fraudulent checks, is charged with the same crimes. Her trial is set to begin in December. Griffith was released from jail in July after posting a $150,000 bond.

ACSO deputies and Boise Police arrested Walker and Griffith June 11th – the day after three cars were broken into across the Treasure Valley.

Walker and Griffith tried to use stolen ID’s and checks from those car burglaries to withdraw thousands of dollars from Treasure Valley banks.

Officers were able to catch them at a local hotel, where they found evidence linking them to the car burglaries and the check fraud case, including financial papers and a spring-loaded window punch.

“Tax Evasion” phone scam pops up again in Ada County

Here’s a tip that’ll help keep local residents from being victimized by the latest phone scam going around the U.S.

Internal Revenue Service employees will not call and tell you to place funds for payment on a pre-paid credit card or any other electronic money transfer system because your spouse is wanted for “tax evasion.”

Several people in Ada County have reported getting these calls since the beginning of September.

IRS officials put out a warning Sept. 5 that this phone scam has resurfaced all over the U.S. and want people to know it is bogus.

The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

This scam is the latest in a series of phone scams where criminals call homes and businesses and pretend to be law enforcement officers, court officials, government agents, or utility employees who demand money for bogus reasons.

The scammers then tell their victims to go to a store, get a pre-paid credit card (like a Green Dot), load it up with money, and then call a phone number with the card information.

Giving out sensitive information over the phone — both personal and financial — can put people at risk for fraud.

Go here to get more information on this scam and how to contact the IRS if you’ve received one of these calls.