Identity Theft

Boyfriend Allegedly Used Dead Woman’s Debit Card to Buy Beer

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A Wisconsin man is under investigation after his girlfriend was found dead in her apartment two weeks ago, about three months after she was last seen by neighbors. Peggy Pamperin, 50, had not been seen since May 18, and her mummified body was found when her landlord came to her home to inquire about her unpaid rent from the previous two months, the Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN 12 reported.

During that time, the boyfriend (who has not been named by the media, as he has not been charged with a crime) apparently used Pamperin’s debit card, regularly buying beer at a cigarette shop, according to a cashier. He allegedly told a server at his regular bar that his girlfriend let him use the debit card.

A search warrant reviewed by WISN 12 said there were $1,200 in transactions on the card between July 8 and Aug. 5, when it was declined at a gas station. Pamperin’s body was found decomposing under a blanket and papers on Aug. 13, and neighbors reported seeing the boyfriend enter and exit the apartment in the weeks before Pamperin’s body was discovered.

The boyfriend was arrested for violating a no-contact order with Pamperin, but no criminal charges have been filed against anyone in the case of Pamperin’s death, WISN 12 reported. Investigators have not yet determined Pamperin’s cause of death.

As far as the alleged debit card card fraud goes, it’s not unusual for someone to get away with using a card that clearly doesn’t belong to him or her. Cashiers often don’t ask for an ID or compare receipt signatures with ones on the back of cards. While that may be convenient for a husband to go into the store with his wife’s debit card or an employer to give his worker a credit card to make a lunch run, it also makes it easy for people to get away with making unauthorized transactions.

Given that a store or your bank may not spot fraudulent activity right away, it helps for consumers to regularly check transaction activity on their credit and debit cards, to minimize the potential damage a thief can do to your finances. If you’re worried about credit card fraud, monitoring your credit scores can also be helpful. If a thief runs up charges on a card you rarely use, for example, your credit utilization would jump up. You can track your credit utilization and your credit scores every month for free on Credit.com.

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