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Identity Fraud For Dummies

, , , , | Right | June 25, 2018

(I work at a sporting goods store that sells a variety of things: guns, athletic clothing, exercise equipment, etc. Our store’s biggest seller is shoes, and it happens to be both soccer and baseball season, so there’s been a barrage of parents coming in to find cleats for their kids. I’m standing by the main cashier stand talking to my manager when I answer a call:)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Store]. This is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

(A lady in her 50s or 60s answers.)

Caller: “Hello, [My Name]. I have a question.”

Me: “Of course, ma’am. I’ll try to answer it for you.”

Caller: “I’m trying to find some cleats for my grandson, but I live quite a ways outside of [Town]. If I gave you my credit card numbers over the phone, could you process a purchase for me?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. Corporate policy forbids us from authorizing any transactions over the phone.”

Caller: “I understand. Well, do you suppose you could at least try to find some cleats for me?”

Me: “Absolutely, ma’am. Do you need soccer, football, or baseball?”

Caller: “Baseball. I’m hoping you have [Brand #1] cleats in a size five and a half for kids.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I’ll go back and look. Give me just a moment.”

(I put the caller on hold and sift through the dozens of boxes of baseball cleats. After a few minutes of searching — even going into the back room to check through any excess stock — I’m unable to find anything that meets her standards. I pick up the phone in our stock room and continue the call.)

Me: “Ma’am? I’m sorry, but I don’t have any [Brand #1] cleats in a five and a half in stock. I do have [Brand #2] and [Brand #3] in that size, if you’d like.”

Caller: *sighs* “Oh, darn. He really wants the [Brand #1] cleats.”

Me: “I’m sorry. If you’d like, I can call another store and see if they might have any.”

Caller: “No, it’s all right. I suppose I could send my daughter-in-law down there and have her look at them.”

Me: “That’d be fine.”

Caller: “All right, I have another question. If I gave my daughter-in-law my credit card, could I send her down there so she could make the purchase?”

Me: “Unfortunately not. Our policy states that the cardholder must be present if we’re going to run a credit purchase.”

Caller: “Well, what if I filled out a check with all of my information, signed it, and made it out to [Company]? Could I give the check to her, and she could pay for it?”

(At this point, I’m slightly stunned. By now, most people would get the message that they need to physically be in the store if they want to do a credit or check purchase. But, for some reason, this lady just won’t quit trying to find ways around our policy.)

Me: “Um… I apologize, ma’am. I’m only a part-time employee, so I don’t have the authority to answer to that question. I’ll transfer you to a manager, and they can help you out with that.”

(I transfer her to one of my managers, and then head back up to the cashier’s stand. I get up there just as my head manager hangs up the phone.)

Head Manager: “Were you handling a call about a lady asking about a check payment?”

Me: “Yes!”

Other Manager: “Was that the same lady?! [My Name]’s been on the phone with her for the last ten minutes!”

(I relayed the entire conversation to my head manager, who just laughed and shook his head. The lady practically gave me three different options for how someone could steal her identity. If she was so determined to find cleats without leaving the house, why didn’t she just buy them online? Sometimes, I really worry about people.)

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