Friendly volunteer victim of credit card fraud

By Chris Jackett
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Being a good Samaritan can have its price, and a city resident found that price to be about $620 during the Memorial Day weekend.

As a volunteer at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn, the man met a 36-year-old Westland woman at the hospital about 2 p.m. May 28. Police said she apparently told him some sort of hard-luck story that caused him to feel sorry for her, at which point he offered her a ride to his residence at about 5 p.m. so she could use his telephone and Internet.

He left his wallet alone in the room with the woman for two minutes while he went to change clothes in the next room. Upon returning, the man noticed the woman was on a travel Web site, but did not notice anything out of place.

About 6:30 p.m., the man transported the woman to a hotel, the Red Roof Inn, 24130 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn, and the two parted ways.

A few hours later, at about 1:30 a.m. May 29, the man checked his credit card balance and noticed a few fraudulent charges. Among them was a charge for about $600 to reserve a room for nine nights – from May 28 through June 6 – at the hotel he had just dropped the woman off at, as well as a $20 charge for pizza and an attempted $100 cash advance that was denied.

Upon noticing the charges, he realized that his credit card, which he had earlier in the day May 28, was missing from his wallet.

The Allen Park man contacted the Dearborn hotel, which told him the Westland woman had checked in just before 7 p.m. May 28.

Because the man did not have the credit card number and the hotel was unable to provide the name on the card the woman had used because she used the Web site, the hotel could provide just two receipts showing the reservation was made through the site, as well as the last six digits of the credit card.

When officers arrived at the hotel, they were informed the woman had taken a cab to an unknown address on Gaity Street in Dearborn Heights.

A hotel employee was shown a photo of the suspect and positively identified her as the woman staying in the room reserved after the Allen Park man dropped her off.

(Contact Chris Jackett at cjackett@bewickpublications.com)

Tags: