A rap collective from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, allegedly took the old adage, “write what you know,” to heart when they set down lyrics for a single released this spring about credit card fraud.
The group, Pop Out Boyz, has been indicted in Manhattan on grand larceny charges, “accused of stealing more than $250,000 worth of luxury goods from Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue over the last year,” The New York Times reported. Their song, “For a Scammer,” was inspired by experience, argued prosecutors quoted in the article.
“Watch the money do a back flip, early morning up at Saks Fifth,” one vocalist raps. “You see it, you want it, you have it.”
The song underscores a growing concern in New York City, where identity theft and credit card fraud are on the rise.
“The cards are easier to get now with the development of some of these dark websites,” Capt. Christopher Flanagan, the commander of the Financial Crimes Task Force for the New York Police Department, told The Times, “and as one person learns how to commit a fraud, they spread that knowledge to others.”
The Pop Out Boyz are accused of using sites like Uniccshop and Rescator to pilfer data from retailers’ and other businesses’ security breaches, The Times reported. Some of these sites are so sophisticated, they resemble online retailers, with shopping carts, customer service and a checkout process.
There’s no surefire way to avoid falling victim to credit card fraud, given the prevalence of data breaches and credit card skimming, so it’s important to monitor your financial accounts regularly for unauthorized charges. You should also consider setting up fraud alerts. If something looks awry, be sure to give your issuer a call to dispute any charges and have the card replaced. And, if you ever have reason to believe your personal information has been compromised alongside your plastic, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores, which you can get for free on Credit.com. Signs of deeper identity theft include a sudden drop in scores, unfamiliar addresses and mysterious lines of credit.
You may also look into a credit freeze, which denies potential creditors access to your credit reports, meaning they also can’t open a new account. This can be useful when a scammer is trying to open accounts in your name, preventing identity theft before it occurs. You can also read our tips on what to do if you’ve been a victim of identity theft.
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