Identity Theft

12-Year-Old Used Stolen Credit Cards to Fund Puppet Show

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People are passionate about weird things, and if anything proves that, it’s Kickstarter (see: World’s Largest Jockstrap). A 12-year-old American boy was so into a U.K. puppet/animation video series called “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared,” he used hacked credit card information he found online to donate 35,000 pounds (nearly $60,000) to help the series reach its 100,000-pound goal.

Becky & Joe, the filmmaking team behind the series, realized something was up when they looked at the donations: The Kickstarter users supporting their project had names like “fg fg” and used made-up languages, reports Dazed and Confused Magazine, a U.K.-based pop-culture publication. In a private message to the campaign, a donor confessed he found the credit card information on a fraud site and decided to use it to fund the project.

“He could have spent that money on anything, and he chose to put it to four weird puppet films,” said Becky Sloan, according to the magazine. “In a way, it’s nice he wanted to see it that much — but it did cause a lot of trouble.”

Credit card fraud is, of course, a crime, but it doesn’t seem like the 12-year-old hacker has gotten into much trouble yet. Online credit card marketplaces aren’t difficult to come by — heck, there are videos promoting it on YouTube — and they’re often the destination for information stolen in data breaches, like the massive one that hit Target shoppers last year and the one recently discovered at P.F. Chang’s restaurants. So if a kid wants to fund his favorite online entertainment outlet, it’s not surprising he figured out a way to make it happen. It’s probably a better strategy than stealing Mom’s credit card and risking getting grounded when she sees massive charges to Kickstarter on her bill.

Then again, he wasn’t really successful. The fraudulent donations were thrown out, and the “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” campaign wasn’t fulfilled. That’s the good thing about credit card fraud: Consumers aren’t held liable for unauthorized activity (for the most part), but you still don’t want to let thieves run amok with your credit. It’s a good idea to check your card transactions regularly (even daily), and monitor your credit for signs of fraud, like a sudden drop in credit scores (you can check your credit for free through Credit.com). This may be a particularly wise habit to develop if you have teenagers with a raging passion for weird things and a love for the Internet — otherwise, you may end up unwittingly funding a life-size Robocop statue in Detroit.

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Image: iStock

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