Sears Associate Steals A Customer’s Credit Card, Then Gets Caught When He Uses His Personal CRM Card To Get Points

Written by Evan Schuman
October 5th, 2011

If there’s one thing a Sears associate—especially one who logs lots of cashier time—should understand, it’s how CRM works. But according to police in Heath, Ohio, at least one didn’t, and he’s behind bars as a result. Well, that, plus he stole a customer’s credit card and used it to make purchases at gas stations—where he also used his loyalty card to make sure that he got points for every purchase. Oops!

The tale of 19-year-old Sears associate Zachariah S. Grigsby, though, gets even more strange. It all started on August 12 when Grigsby, who worked at the Sears at Heath’s Indian Mound Mall, was processing a customer who used his Discover card, said Heath Det. Sgt. Craig Black. The customer accidentally left his Discover card at the POS station. (Note: It’s not like there are a ton of places to use a Discover card—outside of Sears—these days, but I digress.)

Grigsby is accused of pocketing the customer’s Discover card, and then using it to make purchases at three area Speedway gas stations. It was during the third Speedway visit, Black said, that the Sears associate remembered he has a Speedway loyalty card—”Speedy Rewards”—and decided to use it to maximize his points and rewards.

Police said that the total of his gas station purchases—for cigarettes “and other small items” but no gasoline—was less than $50. That third visit—the one where he used his loyalty card—was “less than $20,” Black said.

That CRM use, of course, immediately tied Grigsby’s real identity (you can’t lie on a loyalty card application. You can get in trouble for that) to the stolen Discover card. Police could then match the face from the gas station surveillance videos to a name.

Coincidentally, it was when Grigsby’s CRM usage identified him to police that the Sears records turned up, revealing who the cashier was who handled the Discover customer. When the names matched, the case started to close, Black said, especially when Sears surveillance video confirmed the guy behind the POS was the same one at the gas stations.

By the time police went to talk with Grigsby, they learned that he had already been fired from Sears (for an unrelated situation, Black said) and that he had quickly left his home with no forwarding address. The trail went cold.

Fortunately, the associate who helped police early on by using his CRM card opted to help them yet again. Typically, people hiding from police try to keep a low profile. As you can already tell, this case is far from typical. Black said that Grigsby got into some sort of dispute with a new neighbor—involving telephone harassment—and Grigsby called the police to file a complaint against this person.

Fortunately for Grigsby, the officer who took the report didn’t know that detectives were looking for him. Unfortunately for Grigsby, Black happened to be reviewing that day’s logs and spotted the name.

The now-former Sears associate was interviewed, shown the surveillance images, and said he had indeed taken and used the card, Black said.

Greed is a wonderful thing. Indeed, where would the art of stealing be today without it? But to use your actual loyalty card to get points for a less-than-$20 purchase? Those must have been some glorious redemption offers.



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Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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