FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --You can't always prevent credit card fraud from happening, but, you can create some obstacles and make it tougher for someone to get your personal information.
"This particular case is kind of the oldest trick in the book," said David Birch, US Postal Inspector.
Postal inspectors said Joshua Stephens pulled a bait and switch of sorts on six financial institutions in a credit card scam.
"He would apply for various accounts as the account holder, then he would get debit cards associated with those accounts and then he would take those debit cards and make various high dollar purchases," said Birch.
Once Stephens bought the items, he would report he never received the card and it had been stolen.
"Something doesn't seem right with this," said Dawn Blackmon, Pima Federal Credit Union.
A credit card from Pima Federal Credit Union was one of the banks Stephens said was stolen.
"They filled out fraudulent paperwork stating that they had never received the card. and the card had been stolen from the mail," said Blackmon.
Investigators quickly realized that was not the case. Surveillance tape from the retailers involved showed Stephens himself making purchases with the credit cards.
"He was using these purchases for-- was to augment his business and making high dollar purchases and save him that expense and put that back on the taxpayer and back on the financial situations," said Birch.
In all, more than $10,000 in losses. Investigators want consumers to know this is not a victim-less crime.
"Sometimes there is a misconception that their insurance will cover that, and there is no insurance coverage for fraud," said Blackmon. "Any losses that are incurred by a credit union directly affect our members, what services we can offer to our members, and also participation in our communities."
Stephens was convicted of bank fraud and served just under a year in prison.
He was also ordered to pay restitution.