Palm Pilot Credit Card Scam

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See bottom of letter for story
this e-mail is based on.

You all know I don't send out warnings often. But this
one sounds a little too realistic to ignore. It came from a
reputable newsletter via the editor here on AOL. I'll paste
a revised (mostly just spell-checked, LOL) copy of
his statement under this note from me.

Be careful and safe!

With the busiest shopping days coming, I like to warn you.
I witnessed and was part of, an arrest at my local mall yesterday.
I was shopping with my daughter and eating dinner with her. I had
a view of the push cart vendors, near the food court. I noticed
a person purchasing an item from one vendor. The vendor went
around the other side of the cart. He looked around,
which caused me to watch him closer. He pulled out a
"Palm Pilot" and swiped the person's credit card, then returned
the PP to his jacket. Then, he went and swiped it again in the
cart's machine.

Bells went off in my head! I got my daughter and waited
for the purchase to finish. I waited for the shopper
to leave and then after a safe distance, I caught up with her.
I told her what I'd seen; the vendor swiping her credit card
a second time. We went to the mall office and asked for
them to call the police. We watched over the mall camera
as the police arrested the vendor and took the
Palm Pilot out of his pocket.

Believe it. I was reading the NY Daily News this morning
and a story about this very thing. So, as a public service
to all of you and your friends and readers, please be warned
of this as we turn to the 21st century and the advancement of
methods of crime.

The new and fast method of stealing credit cards is the Palm
Pilot. The device could store thousands of credit card numbers
and could be downloaded and sent anywhere in the world and used.
This new form of high tech credit card fraud is starting to
become wide spread. I just witnessed this myself.

So always have the vendors in your view and watch them like a hawk.

There was a real incident that occured similar to this.
However, credit card scams happen all the time. The use
of Palm Pilot technology is the only thing that makes
this incident unique.

Cashier uses Palm Pilot in credit card scam
November 24, 1999
Web posted at: 11:34 AM EST (1634 GMT)

NEW YORK (AP) -- A sharp-eyed tourist from Greece buying sunglasses at
Bloomingdale's foiled an alleged credit card scam that may have affected a
large number of shoppers.

Police Commissioner Howard Safir said Tuesday an investigation is continuing
to determine how many credit card numbers are stored on a Palm Pilot that is
believed to belong to Tania Ventura, a 26-year-old cashier at the swank
Manhattan department store.

The scam was discovered Monday when the tourist, a financial analyst whose
name was not released, noticed his card was swiped twice when he purchased

"He asked what this was about, and he did not get a sufficient explanation,
so he complained to the manager, and the manager then called us," Safir

After swiping a credit card through the store's credit card device, Ventura
allegedly swiped it a second time through a credit card scanner attached to
her Palm Pilot, Safir said.

"This device is capable of storing thousands of credit card numbers, and
obviously, this individual was involved in stealing people's credit card
numbers to sell or use for fraudulent purposes," Safir said.

Ventura was charged with criminal possession of forgery devices, unlawful
duplication of computer data, criminal possession of computer material and
criminal possession of stolen property -- all felony charges. She could face
up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Safir urged shoppers never to let credit cards out of their sight once they
give on to a cashier. This is the first time police have seen the practice
in New York City, Safir added.

Bloomingdale's spokeswoman Bonnie Brownlee said the company is cooperating
fully with the police. She declined to comment further because the case is
pending in court.

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