A spoof can be described as a good-humored deception. However, AL.com, describes how one man’s crime spoofed 110 victims and their financial institutions by pretending to be someone he wasn’t. He stole their personal information and activated or reactivated credit cards in the names of the unsuspecting victims, ultimately costing their financial institutions more than $656,000. (I doubt any of the victims or financial institutions found much humor in the situation.)

The story states that over a five-year period, a Montgomery man directed co-conspirators to steal mail that contained credit cards and other personal information from the U.S. Postal Service. These “runners” would deliver the stolen mail to the ringleader’s home where he then used an online service to retrieve basic information about the addressees.

After obtaining general information about his victims, the 39-year-old would then contact some other criminally-minded friends nearby in Georgia who would access credit reports from an information services company, gleaning victim information such as birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers. The personal information was then sent back to the ringleader, who activated or reactivated credit cards in the names of the victims by using a “spoof” service that masked his phone number and voice. (That’s pretty scary that a service like that even exists.) The fraudster also made fake IDs for himself and co-conspirators in case they had to provide proof of identification while using the victims’ credit cards to purchase items or obtain cash advances for themselves.

Following a five-day trial, the criminal was found guilty of bank fraud and wire fraud, plus aggravated identity theft. He is facing a maximum sentence of 20 to 30 years in prison for the fraud charges, plus another 12 years for identity theft. (I guess the Federal Government ended up calling the “Spoof Man’s” bluff. Let’s hope he’s good natured about his very long prison term.)

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