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Officers Make Major Fraud Bust; Recover the largest number of counterfeit credit cards yet in a retail fraud case

Boise Police have arrested two women from Texas in what officers are calling one of the most significant cases of retail fraud yet uncovered in the Treasure Valley.

Officers with the BPD Organized Retail Crime Unit found the women in possession of 424 counterfeit and fraudulently purchased credit and gift cards, the largest number seized by officers in a single local retail fraud case.

"We've seen an increase in these cases involving people come from out of state. even out of the country, coming to Idaho to steal from our local stores using account numbers from unsuspecting credit card customers. This case shows just how aggressive these thieves are," said Ed  Fritz, supervisor of the Boise Police Crime Prevention Unit.

In addition to the large number of financial cards, the suspects were found with a significant amount of merchandise believed to have been purchased with fraudulently purchased gift cards or counterfeit cards using compromised account information. When they were arrested, officers also found the suspects with a package of merchandise ready to mailed out of state, likely for resale elsewhere. 

Arrested: Brooke Ashley Darby, 28, Ft Worth, TX

Charged: Burglary (F), Fraudulent Possession of a Financial Transaction Card (F)

Arrested: Charmaine Danelle Montgomery, 23, Ft Worth, TX

Charged:  Burglary (F), Fraudulent Possession of a Financial Transaction Card (F)

Suspect booking photos are on .

The source of the credit information the suspects were able to access remains under investigation. See below for what credit card consumers can do.

Retail Partners help make the case: As in past cases, the suspects  were using counterfeit cards with stolen account information to purchase goods and gift cards.  Officers were made aware of suspicious activity Tuesday by employees at local retail stores who recognized red flags and called police.

Further investigation Wednesday led to locating and arresting the suspects at the Boise Airport shortly before 1:00

p.m. Officers believe the woman had been in the Boise area engaged in fraudulent activity since Monday.

Investigators with Meridian Police and the Ada County Sheriff's Office were also instrumental in working with local retailers and Boise Police on this case.

Why the increase in counterfeit credit card activity?

Investigators believe added security features that will be required on credit cards in the US beginning this fall will mean a decrease in the kind of fraud Boise and other cities have experienced. Officers believe those with access to compromised credit accounts are trying to benefit from them with increased criminal activity that will likely continue through the summer until the new security features are in place.

What Can Consumers Do?

Investigators have found the stolen credit card numbers have come from several sources, mainly data breeches and skimming, activity that’s occurred anywhere in the world through any variety of means.

Boise Police Crime Prevention experts have the following advice for consumers:

  • Be careful to control your personal financial information - don’t give your card number out to anyone over the phone, through a phishing email or any number of scams that have been happening for years and continue to happen, sadly because unsuspecting people have fallen victim.
  • Check account statements regularly – at least monthly. If you find suspicious charges, contact the credit card issuer immediately.
  • Different financial institutions allow customers to sign up for alerts, for examples, high dollar charges, foreign charges, charges made through a third party, etc. Those alerts can be very helpful in identifying a fraudulent charge. Check with your credit card issuers for what may be available to you.
  • Check your credit at least once a year. It is free once a year for consumers.

Use credit cards when possible and avoid using debit cards. Losses are often covered by credit card companies, but losses directly from a debit card account may be much more difficult for a victim to recover.

Category: Credit

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