Let me tell you a story. Once there was a girl whos name was Tania. She moved into a new flat and needed some appliances to furnish it. She needed a freezer, a microwave and a dryer. Tania worked in an administration role for a small, non-profit charity organisation, so she couldn’t afford to buy new appliances. She decided to rent them. While she was at it, she figured she might as well hire a new home entertainment system as well. After all, what’s a flat without a flash stereo?
So Tania moved into the flat and Mr Rental arrived to drop off all her new appliances. How exciting! She wasn’t too concerned about paying for them as she was getting the first two weeks free anyway. She’d worry about money after that. Right now she had some TV to watch and some drying to do!
Meanwhile, across town, another girl, Sarah, was sitting in her work cafeteria with her friend Ross. They were reading a flyer for an amazing raffle that was being held by a charity to raise money for troubled kids. The prizes were fantastic and it was for a good cause, so Sarah decided to buy 10 tickets. She filled out the form and mailed it in, along with her Visa card number. She didn’t think about it again, as is usually the case with raffles, and got on with business as usual.
Two weeks came and went and a bill arrived in Tania’s mailbox for the rental that was now due on her appliances. Tania was still broke and was a little nervous about what to do next. She threw out the bill and hoped that by the time they got hold of her, she’d have some money. That wasn’t the case. She started to get emails and phonecalls. In order to buy herself some time, she spoke to the rental company and told them that she’d drop in some cash at a prearranged time. She didn’t.
An email arrived in her inbox telling her that if she didn’t get in touch that day to organise paying her account, the company would assume that she wasn’t going to and they would collect their goods. Poor Tania. What a mess. But no problem, it was easily sorted. She emailed Mr Rental and apologised for having her phone switched off. She had been very busy. She was also very sorry for forgetting to pay, but she would supply her Visa card number and they could debit all she owed straight away. So she did.
Apparently though, Tania was confused. She didn’t actually have a Visa card. Luckily though, Sarah did. She had been kind enough to supply that number when buying her raffle tickets for the charity that Tania worked for. In all her confusion, Tania somehow supplied Sarah’s Visa number to Mr Rental to pay for all her gear. A month later, when her account was due again, she was able to tell Mr Rental to use her Visa again. What a stroke of luck. It sure took the heat off when someone else was paying.
Unfortunately for Tania, she made a couple of stupid mistakes. Before deciding to carry out her credit card fraud, she had filled out a contract with Mr Rental giving her name, address (for delivery of the goods), phone number, employer, drivers license number and the details of two security references (her mother and a friend). That was mistake number one. Mistake number two was her choice of victims. Sarah has two credit cards. She primarily uses her Amex. The Visa is only for emergencies or vendors that don’t accept Amex, of which there are about 2 per month. So the Mr Rental transactions weren’t hard to spot.
Now Sarah has all the supporting documentation from the fraud squad and it’s an hourly battle not to email Tania to tell her this story.
What a stupid, stupid b*tch.