What were the identity thieves hoping to accomplish?

Our credit card number was stolen last month (only the number; not the card itself). We only noticed it when the credit card company’s automated system called to report suspicious activity on the card. It turned out that over about three days, a couple dozen charges, with a total worth of maybe $300, was made with the card number. All the orders were online only.

Here’s the thing: the orders were for completely random stuff, like beauty creams, a tie-of-the-month club, CD music service, AOL, etc. The charges ranged from $1 to around $90. Even stranger, the vast majority of the products landed on our front porch.

What were these ID thieves hoping to accomplish with this? They took our credit card number, made a bunch of bogus orders for a small amount of money (the credit card had an available balance much larger than a few hundred bucks), and didn’t even try to take most of the stuff themselves. I can at least understand the motivation behind stealing a card and going on a shopping spree. My parents had a card stolen before they ever received it, and the thieves bought about $5000 worth of electronics with it. But this…this I don’t get.

We had to make a couple of trips to the post office to return as much of the product as we could (some of the stuff didn’t even have a return address), spend a lot of time on the phone to clear up the charges, and god knows what else will happen down the line.

If it’s just a small number of transations, maybe they are tests to see if the number is good.
My sister runs a website that takes donations. Someone keeps making $5 donations from stolen credit cards. It’s assumed that they are testing the cards, prior to selling off the numbers.

The tie of the month club makes me thing it’s some kid that got hold of the number, and is playing pranks.

I thought of that, too, and I haven’t ruled it out. I’m still not certain how they got the card number, either. I suppose they might’ve gone through the recyclables and found a receipt that we overlooked to shred. But I’m more inclined to think they stole it from one of the companies we do business with, because they would’ve needed the CCV number for at least some of those orders.

That’s exactly right. I work for a company that sells various products online, and I’m in charge of processing the internet orders. Ninety percent of our fraud orders are for a four-pack of batteries or something easily as ridiculous.