I was quite startled a year ago when my Meijer Credit Card statement came, and it said my balance was somewhere north of $1,600.
Most puzzling was that I didn’t HAVE a Meijer Card.
The Tale of the Statement was even more eye-brow arching: All of the charges were on a single day, at various Meijer stores that dot cities along Interstate 94 in southern Michigan, from Saline to South Haven.
Meijer is a superb retailer, and as much a part of Michigan as The Mitten itself. They are scrupulously honest, forthright, clean, and filled with quality products at fair prices. They take great pride in their mid-west roots, and prominently feature outstanding regional products. For decades (before political correctness descended like a wet blanket on the broader culture) the Meijer mascot was a little cartoon Dutch Boy with wooden shoes named “Thrifty”.
I KNEW this set-to had nothing to do with this venerable company. I called their fraud-prevention department, where I was put in touch with an investigator. He confirmed the charges were indeed fraudulent, and they would be reversed.
in the intervening minutes of phone-silence, where all I could hear was tap-tapping on the keyboard, I finally broke radio silence, and asked the fellow about HOW this fraud was accomplished. He seemed very chatty, and eager to talk about how this particular crime was committed. Most of the time, he admitted, the folks calling about thousands of dollars of fraudulent charges in their names are rightly torqued off by the crime, and just want it revealed and expunged— pronto. But, as there was no other activity than this ONE day flurry, it was clear what was going on.
Plus: he was grateful that such a clear-cut case had dropped in his lap. It gave him exact time-stamps of the transaction in isolation. He knew from this, they could check security systems, and probably even get photos and license plates.
He explained: According to his information, my wife had applied for and received a Meijer credit card (she’d evidently done so years before during a promotional period to get a percentage-off on a purchase), and at that time, they issued a card in my name. If they ever mailed it to me, I probably tossed it; my wife and I use only a couple of cards to amass reward points with the bank.
BUT: The account number remained, a data artifact sitting there, waiting to be plucked.
I shop frequently at Meijer, though with our regular Visa— including purchasing gas at their stand-alone gas stations.
The investigator explained: I was hacked by a roving “gang” that perpetrates the crime by following in behind unsuspecting fuel purchasers, and “skimming” —his word—my information from the card-reader at the pump. It won’t have my Visa card number in this information: but it DID have my name, and the fact I’m a Meijer customer.
These “gangs” travel in stripped-down panel vans, equipped with computer terminals, card readers, scanners and gift-card recorders. There are usually at least three people involved in each “gang”.
They’ve criminally accessed certain databases at retailers like Meijer, and can scan these databases once they have a name of a likely customer. They now had mine. Once they did, they found the account number, loaded it with the other relevant data, and swiped it onto the gift card. Now, they were off to the races…
They started at the east end of the state, and drove west, “buying” items at one store (usually in the $1-$200 range), and returning it for cash at another. They, of course, had receipts, and weren’t questioned. They would also “purchase” gift cards, use THEM, and return the items, and get the extra in a cash transaction.
Evidently, the Investigator told me, he was tracking FOUR such gangs operating in Michigan and Chicago, and he felt fairly certain which one this was. He also said it’s a multi BILLION dollar international problem…
But, yeah: temporary pop-up vote-counting depots in major crime-infested Democrat Machine cities are error and fraud-free. Uh-huh. Nothing to see here. Move along.
A brave young lady who worked as an IT specialist for Dominion Voting Systems gave a sworn video deposition in which she describes many instances of fraudulent vote-counting activities in Wayne County at the old Cobo Hall. Among other things, though, was this little tid-bit: The WiFi icon at the bottom of each vote-tabulation machine she interacted with was “on” and indicating it was in working order.
In an era where every schlub can be hacked by roving gangs of IT experts in non-descript vans can steal $1,600 from you in seconds after you leave the gas pump, are we to believe the inaccessibility of voting machines on public WiFi? Really?
Think of THAT the next time ReCaptcha asks you to confirm you aren’t a “robot” when all you want to do is look at some Emergency Kitten videos.