Texas: convicted ID thief strikes again

League City, Texas resident, 36 years old Sharif John Reid pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of aggravated identity theft and access device fraud. The suspect has been on supervised release since April 2010 for another identity theft conviction from 2007 for the amount of $1 million.
Reid was arrested at Apple store when trying to make a purchase using fraudulent credit card and fake Florida driver’s license. He had 38 stolen credit and gift cards on him upon arrest. Police suspects 2 sources of stolen identity: 1. card skimmer in an undisclosed business place in Austin, TX (skimmer is a small device to read magnetic strip information from credit, debit and gift cards, thieves attach it to a legitimate card swiper so that the information is read at the same swipe as the purchase), 2. identity merchants, web based stores selling credit card numbers along with credit limit and holder’s information. Then the suspect was producing gift cards at home using plastic card printer with an embossing device which gave the cards legitimate look. Reid will be sentenced on April 23, he faces up to 22 years in in prison if convicted.
Identity theft in the form of stolen credit and gift cards has been a growing problem in recent years. Similarity in schemes would suggest a system wide changes but those might be hard to implement in industry of such size. It’s always best to monitor credit card accounts and credit profile as it’s free and fairly simple. Certainly better idea that finding own name on the list of identity theft victims in the news.

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