A New York woman was arrested Sept. 13 when she was found to have dozens of credit cards in her possession, none of them bearing her name, the MetroWest Daily News reported. Rosemarie Jimenez-Torres, 20, told police she was holding onto the cards for a friend.
The manager at the Framingham, Mass., Motel 6 where Jimenez-Torres was staying reported to police he found the bag of cards when he went to Jimenez-Torres’ room — he thought she had left without checking out. Her things were still in the room, and upon finding the bag of cards, the manager called the police. She allegedly had 73 credit cards in three names, but Jimenez-Torres told police she didn’t know where they came from, just that she was planning to give them to her friend that day.
Police arrested her on charges of uttering a forged credit card, and Jimenez-Torres pleaded not guilty Monday in Framingham District Court.
For all you know, there are a few credit cards bearing your name floating around in a duffel bag somewhere. It’s certainly possible, given the prevalence of data breaches and the sale of that stolen data. Hackers sell credit card data online, either to people who don’t know how to snatch it themselves or don’t want to spend the time doing so, and that information is often used to manufacture fake payment cards.
Card issuers haven’t consistently been re-issuing cards compromised in large data breaches, like the Home Depot and Target incidents, unless there’s fraudulent activity on the card. That strategy makes sense: Pre-emptively replacing the more than 60 million cards compromised in the Home Depot breach and the 40 million from Target would cost a lot of money. Some banks and card issuers have done it, but it’s not the norm.
It’s highly likely your credit or debit card could become compromised at some point in your life, so take time to regularly check your account activity for fraud. Setting up transactional monitoring alerts is one of the easiest ways to do this — most issuers offer it for free, and you can set it up to alert you every time a transaction hits your account. You’ll instantly know if someone is using your card without permission, so you can prevent further damage.
Monitoring your credit scores and reports could also alert you to possible identity theft if, for example, someone is able to open new credit cards or loans in your name. You can check your credit reports for free once a year, and you can get a credit score update for free every 30 days on Credit.com.
More on Identity Theft:
- How Can You Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?
- What Should I Do If I’m a Victim of Identity Theft?
- How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life