This blog series is dedicated to telling the real-world stories of the most serious cases of stolen identities – and just how devastating these crimes can be on organizations, individuals, and families. This week’s recap shows how an identity thief was able to rack up more than $169,000 in credit card fraud under the name of Hollywood actress, Demi Moore.
About the ID Theft Victim
Moore is a Hollywood actress who’s had roles in a variety of films and television shows. Some of her more successful movies include A Few Good Men, Indecent Proposal, and G.I. Jane. She recently made an appearance on Comedy Central’s Roast of her ex-husband, Bruce Willis.
A Stolen Identity Unleashed
In March 2018, David Matthew Read, a 35-year-old man from Los Angeles, impersonated Moore and reported her no-limit American Express card as stolen. He then intercepted the replacement card from a FedEx location before it could be delivered. Over the next 25 days, Read went on a number of lavish spending sprees both online and at luxury retail stores like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. All-in-all, the charges exceeded $169,000 before Moore noticed and reported the theft.
Read has a prior history of theft and fraud and had been picked up by police after purchasing a Mercedes with another person’s information. He was then identified as the culprit in Moore’s case after federal investigators obtained surveillance videos of him shopping with her stolen card.
We Are All Vulnerable
A case like this shows that even high-profile celebrities can be successfully targeted by fraudsters. In cases like this, typically the credit card company would alert the card owner to unusually high purchases. However, such fraudulent charges, like the one’s Moore experienced, have a reduced liability as many credit card issuers and financial institutions have identity crime insurance and will cover the charges associated with credit card fraud once proven fraudulent.
Proactively Monitor Your Financial Transactions
Credit card fraud is a growing problem that hurts both consumers and merchants. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) found that credit card fraud increased 23 percent last year alone. With a stolen card, fraudsters can set up online loyalty accounts, make down payments on larger purchases, and use your personal information to pivot into other forms of identity theft.
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