This seems like it was a profitable grift until they got caught.
We’ve seen all kinds of car theft schemes, but one where a group of eight people allegedly stole victims’ identities to then steal rental cars is one of the more creative recently. They allegedly got away with over a million dollars in vehicles before authorities caught on to the scheme, so it was profitable for a bit.
It’s not detailed out exactly how, but authorities say the group captured victims’ credit card information and identifying details, enough to go rent cars in their names. They targeted just one national car rental company which wasn’t named. Then they just never returned the vehicles, selling them instead.
Authorities say the group tried to primarily rent SUVs, likely because those command a much higher price on the open market. Members of the group would fly to airports on the East Coast and Midwest, then present fake driver’s licenses and credit cards to rental agents, driving away with their ill-gotten vehicles.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Missouri, two residents of Atlanta and six of New York have all been indicted on a single wire fraud conspiracy charge. Additional charges individuals are facing include more wire fraud and/or aggravated identity theft. We’re surprised nothing like grand theft auto is thrown in there as well.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how criminals use people’s stolen identities,” said Special Agent in Charge Jay Greenberg of the FBI St. Louis Division. “Perpetrators can easily and cheaply buy an endless supply of personal and credit card information. While the company in this case was the direct victim, innocent people were initially accused of theft because their stolen identities were used to commit the fraud.”
We’ll see if these eight reach a plea deal or decide to go to trial over the accusations.
Image via Pixabay