Police arrest five in Net credit card fraud probe

Dumpster diving

Sussex police have arrested five people suspected of involvement in a scam in which goods were bought online using information harvested from purloined credit card receipts.

Detectives believe the gang obtained the victims' credit card information from till roll receipts dumped in a rubbish bin by a garage in Eastbourne, Sussex. Investigations led to a raid on a house in Eastbourne where property worth £8,500 (including TVs, stereo equipment and even a bed) was recovered.

Detective Constable Bill Simons told us the gang could have netted as much as £40,000 through the scam. Police have released five people on bail after preliminary questioning about the offences, and a warrant has been issued for another person wanted in connection with the alleged crimes.

Although the amount involved in the fraud and relatively modest, the case illustrate a wider problem of crooks obtaining credit card receipts via 'dumpster diving' which is probably a more serious problem than credit card details stolen from insecure sites, despite all the publicity accorded to the latter.

The issue could be eased if retailers used systems which blocked out at least some numbers on credit card receipts, or systems to destroy spare counterfoils after use. Many of those defrauded in the Sussex scam had failed to notice any problem, so it is recommend that consumers keep regular tabs on transactions (and destroying receipts after they've been checked against bills). ®

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