Credit Card Scams: Celebrities Targeted

Wouldn’t you think Ben Stiller is famous enough to be immune to losing his identity to a thief? Not so! Credit card scams can bring anyone to their knees, even Hollywood’s most famous!

Many celebrities have recently been the victims of a credit card scam that seems too easy to be true. All it took was the suspect calling the credit card companies using the stars’ personal information, claiming the cards had been lost. He requested the replacement cards be sent to a Chicago address and in a matter of days was able to begin his shopping spree. Eventually, a skeptical undercover agent from the US Postal Inspection Service was able to think like a spy and detect the fraud after he hand-delivered the cards to the suspect.

Now this week Adedamola Olatunji, 29, a Nigerian-born man who allegedly used Stiller’s card to run up charges on iTunes and an on-line dating service, was indicted on forgery, mail fraud, theft, aggravated identity theft, computer fraud and other felony charges.

Olatunji allegedly told investigators he tried to purchase several thousand dollars worth of merchandise with the card to send to a friend in the United Kingdom, the source said. The scam is a way to work around companies’ refusal to ship items to Nigeria and other countries where fraud is a big-time business.

The suspect gathered personal information on the stars and used social engineering skills to get past the bank’s procedure to verify that the cards were being ordered by the actual cardholder. If it can happen to famous folks, it can happen to you. One step you (and Ben) can take to protect yourselves is to check your credit report at least 3 times a year.  Read it carefully and look for any unknown credit checks or new credit cards. If something looks suspicious, call the bank or credit card company immediately to alert them to the fraud.

An even more effective protection is to place a freeze on your credit so that no accounts can be opened in your name without your unfreezing your credit.

John Sileo became America’s top Identity Theft Speaker after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, the FTC, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076.

1 reply
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