Ding dong, something’s wrong.

The Victim: Mary Barnett

The Crime: Credit card abuse

Date: Monday, Feb. 4

Time: Several incidents in January and early-February

Location: 1400 block of Bella Vista

It was just a normal afternoon when Mary Barnett went to answer the doorbell at her Casa Linda-area home. She wasn’t expecting a delivery, but there on her porch were several pieces of children’s furniture. The incident was certainly out of the blue and had her wondering what was going on. Barnett contacted the company and learned someone had used her credit card to purchase the items and had them shipped to her address. The company sent her labels to return them, and also warned that the suspects may have tried to intercept them at her home. Barnett also learned there were charges on her card from Netflix. She found the entire scenario a bit unnerving.

“I had only used the card one time that month. I don’t know how it happened,” she says. “How they got my address, I don’t know. It was weird.”

Barnett says that she quickly canceled the card and got a new one, and that the more than $4,000 in illegal charges were removed from her account.

Dallas Police Sgt. Keitric Jones of the Northeast Patrol Division says that identity theft is the largest crime there is now and that most credit card numbers are obtained by electronic theft, trapping devices, or retail and restaurant employees.

“It is recommended to use a credit card instead of debit card,” Jones says. “They are not tied directly to your bank account and can’t wipe you out until you dispute the charge. Bank statements should be looked at every few days online.”

As for shipping items to the cardholder’s address and trying to intercept them, as in this case, it is far more likely that an identity thief will attempt to change the victim’s address or open new accounts with the information they obtain, Jones says.

“If you find yourself the victim of identity theft, immediately contact and cancel all your credit cards and notify your banks of the theft,” Jones says. “They’ll issue new cards and immediately deactivate the current ones. You should also contact all the major credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. Also, contact the local police department to file a report.”