Identity Theft

Teens Allegedly Use Stolen Credit Card to Rent $12M Vacation Home

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It’s good to enjoy a vacation from time to time — that is, it’s good as long as you didn’t break any laws to get there. The whole “stealing is illegal” thing didn’t seem to faze two California teenagers, who are accused of using a stolen credit card to rent a $240,000 sports car and $12 million vacation home, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Whoever owns the allegedly stolen card has a heck of a credit limit: It cost $13,000 to rent an orange McLaren sports car and $27,000 to book the vacation home. Amazingly, it wasn’t the credit card use that led police to the joy-riding teens — police tracked them down after the sports car, though it had apparently been rented by the pair, was reported stolen. The car and the vacation rental had been charged earlier in the week.

Mohannad Halaweh and Nhimia Kahsay, both 19, were pulled over in Roseland, Calif., on June 4, and both were arrested. Halaweh faces charges of possessing stolen property and credit card fraud; Kahsay is expected to face charges related to the incident, but at the time of his arrest, he was booked on outstanding fraud warrants.

It’s hard to imagine $40,000 of luxury rental expenses going unnoticed, but that’s what happens when no one is keeping an eye on card activity. Credit card fraud and identity theft can be very damaging – here are just a few examples — but the good news is it’s very easy to watch out for such things: Many card issuers offer the option of setting spending alerts. It’s also incredibly easy to check card activity, given the availability of smartphones and mobile banking apps.

Monitoring your credit is also a good way to spot potential fraud. Check your credit scores regularly, because a sudden change is a sign of possible unauthorized activity. You can do that for free, too, by getting a snapshot of your credit data and monthly updates from Credit.com.

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