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Durham Police Issue Scam Alert

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DURHAM — Durham police investigators are warning residents about a scam involving identity fraud and the use of stolen credit card numbers.

On Wednesday, detectives arrested 39-year-old Carmen O'Neal, also known as Carmen Starling, after a sting operation at Alltel on Hillsborough Road. Police say O'Neal tried to activate several lines of service by using fictitious identification and stolen credit card numbers.

O'Neal was arrested for a similar scam at GTE in 1992. O'Neal sold the newly activated accounts to friends, who never got bills for the services, investigators said. Instead the charges showed up on bills sent to the real owners of the stolen credit card numbers.

O'Neal was charged three weeks ago with obtaining property by false pretense for allegedly using false identification to rent a dishwasher and a window air conditioner. She has also been charged with four counts of uttering forged checks and additional counts of obtaining property by false pretense for using a stolen credit card number to purchase a 36-inch television set.

Investigators said the credit card numbers can be "captured" or stolen during a legitimate transaction by the credit card owner and then the stolen numbers are used to make purchases.

Investigators made the following suggestions to prevent becoming a victim of these scams:

  • Always scrutinize your credit card bills to verify transactions
  • Periodically check your credit history
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