Credit Card Crime

Reporter: Andrea Burns

No guns, no threats but make no mistake, these are robberies.

Police believe these people used stolen credit cards to buy plasmas, mobile phones, alcohol and food.

Small business owner Pauline McCarthy is still furious her wallet was stolen from her bag while she was doing the food shopping. She lost all her ID.

Within minutes, police say these women used one of Pauline's cards to spend $5000 in one store on electrical goods; plasma TVs, mobile phones and a camcorder. In another store, another $1000. This time on a lap top and 5 MP3 players.

Detective Matt Surman is investigating.

"Generally what we find in these kinds of offences is that they buy items they can dispose of easily, either by hocking them at a pawn broker or by selling them through newspapers".

These are the two women police want to identify. The first is 20 to 30 years old, of average height, medium to large build with dark hair she wore in a bun…

*Aboriginal

*20-30 years

*165-175 cm

*Medium to fat build

*Dark brown/ reddish hair

The second woman's aged in her late teens or early 20's, around 175 cm tall, medium build, also with her dark hair in a bun…

*Aboriginal

*18-28 years

*175cm

*Medium build

*Dark brown / reddish hair

Here another case with two women involved. The card they're using was taken from the bag of a 73 year old woman. At a nearby ATM the pair go back time and again to withdraw $800 cash from her bank account.

The women police want to speak to are aged 20-30 with long hair. The first one appears pregnant…

*Aboriginal

*20-30yrs

*Long hair ponytail

*Appears pregnant

At service station after service station, these two men managed to rack up around $1000 worth of stolen goods. Their weapons of choice were credit cards they'd stolen from a vehicle parked overnight in the driveway of a home.

This thief casually hands over the card, forges the signature, laughing and chatting with the service station worker.

Here his accomplice's at a different servo, choosing item after item. So much, he can hardly carry it. All paid on someone else's plastic.

Police want to talk to these men. One's aged late teens or early 20's, with a goatee beard. His offsider around the same age, a fair complexion and short dark hair…

* Maori/ Aboriginal descent

* Late teens/early 20's

* Short goatee beart

* Caucasian male

* Late teens/ early 20's

* Short dark hair

This man is using a credit card stolen overnight out of a parked car. This service station was just one of several stores where the card was used to run up a $2500 bill.

Police hope this man's t-shirt will identify him. He's aged 20-30 of medium build and dark hair. The t-shirt's black with a white motif on the front and a number 60 on the right sleeve…

*Caucasian male

*20-30 years

*Medium build

*Short dark hair

*Black t-shirt, white motif on front

*Number 60 on right hand sleeve

Thieves took a little over an hour to rack up $3500 worth of purchases on a card also left in a car at the beach.

Surveillance cameras caught this pair using the card over and over. It was cancelled when they tried to buy over $400 worth of groceries.

The man's aged 30-40 of medium build. The woman's around 30 years old, also of medium build.

Fraud Squad's Detective Sergeant Greg Hart says it's not just the inconvenience of having your credit card stolen. All that ID is also valuable currency.

He says get a pin number for your credit card. If crooks don't know the combination they'll have trouble using it and just as you secure your home, you should also secure your credit.

Police suggest simple things to do so you're not the next victim...

Keep cards close

Shred personal paperwork

Lock your letterbox

Pin number

Never leave your pin around

Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000