Identity thieves target Walmart customers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "Shoulder surfing" is a new way for con-artists to steal your personal information.

Walmart surveillance video shows Jennifer MacVittie using her phone on a victim.

"They traveled the country really exploiting Walmart's check cashing procedures," U.S. Postal Inspector David Anderchak said.

They are Robert and Jennifer MacVittie. The husband and wife duo stole more than $400,000 from the retail giant.

"To cash a check at Walmart, it is all based on your Social Security number. You sign up with Walmart to get the check cashing privileges," said Anderchak.

And once you sign up, all you have to do to cash a check is enter your Social Security number.

The MacVitties would travel to Walmarts in city after city and wait for people to approach the customer service desk area to cash a check.

"Typically, Jennifer would stand a short distance behind the victim, on an angle, and use her smartphone to zoom in and videotape the entry of the Social Security number," said Anderchak.

This is called "shoulder surfing." In a 12-15 month span, the team stole more than 900 Social Security numbers.

"He would enter the victim's Social Security number. He would cash a counterfeit check," said Anderchak.

Walmart investigators worked with postal inspectors to track down the MacVitties. They were caught in Las Vegas where they had gambled away most of the money they'd taken.

Postal inspectors have some simple advice for all consumers. "Create a barrier, whether that's with your hand or that's with your body, and be aware of your surroundings," said Anderchak.

Fortunately, the victims in this case did not lose any money. Walmart incurred the $400,000 in losses. The MacVitties now face wire fraud and ID theft charges, and await sentencing.
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