Secrets of a Former Credit Card Thief
We’ve all heard the standard tips about preventing identity theft and credit card fraud. But what would a real identity thief tell you if he had the chance? A recent interview with creditcards.com talks to a thief one on one and reveals the secrets behind credit card theft.
Dan DeFelippi, who is 29 years old, was convicted of credit card fraud and ID theft in 2004. He tells consumers that: You can never be too careful.
DeFelippi, Learned at an early age how to create fake Id’s and he said it went down hill from there. He mostly made fake credit cards with real credit card information he bought online. He would then make fake Id’s to go with them and purchase big ticket items at Best Buy or Circuit City. He would turn around and sell them on Ebay for cash. DeFelippi says committing credit card fraud is still “ridiculously easy to do,” he says. “Anyone with a computer and $100 could start making money tomorrow.”
CreditCards.com: How did you get started?
Dan DeFilippi: When I was in middle school and high school, I was into what I would call innocent hacking. I wasn’t trying to be malicious or make money. I was just interested to see what I could do. In college, I started selling fake IDs to make a little extra money. I was pretty active in online chat rooms where people would talk about this stuff, and I began to realize there was a whole world of credit card fraud where I could make a lot of money with very little effort. From there, it was just a huge downward spiral.
CreditCards.com: You said you bought credit card data online. Tell me about that.
DeFilippi: Every credit card has magnetic stripe on the back with data on it. There are people out there who hack into computers where that data is being stored. There are also people like waitresses and waiters with handheld skimmers who steal the data that way. Then they sell the data online. I’d pay $10 to $50 for the information from one card. Then I’d use an encoder to put that data on a fake card, go into a store and purchase stuff.
CreditCards.com: Do identity thieves like some credit cards better than others?
DeFilippi: Well, a lot of American Express cards have no set limit, so you’d be able to buy a lot more. However, the downside is that a lot of merchants require more security for American Express than for other cards. They may ask you to enter the four-digit code on the front of the card or your ZIP code. That information usually isn’t in the magnetic stripe information. So if a card is skimmed, if someone has its magnetic stripe information, they would still need the number on the front or your ZIP code to commit fraud.
John Sileo is the award-winning author of the identity theft prevention book Privacy Means Profit and speaks on information control, identity theft prevention and data breach avoidance. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more, contact him directly on 800.258.8076.