Hardee's worker busted for stealing credit card numbers at Green - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Hardee's worker busted for stealing credit card numbers at Greenville drive-thru

Courtesy: Butler County Jail Courtesy: Butler County Jail

A Greenville woman is accused of stealing credit card numbers from customers at a Hardee's fast food restaurant. Investigators say she then used the information to buy thousands of dollars worth of clothes, shoes and jewelry online.

Tanya Powell, 41, of Greenville, was arrested Monday and charged with fraudulent use of a credit card and unlawful possession of credit cards. Her son, Ladairus Powell, 20, was also arrested for fraudulent use of a credit card.

Greenville investigators say Tanya Powell has been working at the Hardee's on Fort Dale Road for the past two months.

In recent weeks, there were several people who reported to Greenville PD that there were fraudulent charges placed on their credit cards. Those cases had been under investigation as investigators worked to narrow down their purchases. Then, the most recent victim came to police last week to report the same thing.

Police asked for shipping information from one of the merchants a fraudulent charge was made through on the victim's credit card and it led them to Powell's home. Now, police are investigating her in connection with several cases.

"She did admit to taking credit card numbers from work and taking them home. Once we interviewed her son, he also stated that his mom would bring the credit card numbers home and he would then go online using his smart phone and surf the web looking for different things they wanted to purchase. She would read out a card number for him to enter in," said Lt. Justin Lovvorn with the Greenville Police Department's Investigative Division. "Apparently, she had a few that she would bring home and try them until one would go through and they were able to make a purchase."

Lovvorn believes Powell was snapping pictures of the front and back of customers' credit and debit cards when they handed them over to pay for their food at the Hardee's drive-thru. Lovvorn says Powell was a manager-in-training and was allowed to have her cell phone on her.

According to police, Powell and her son purchased around $3000 worth of items and could face additional charges in they are linked to other cases. They've already been charged in two cases, Lovvorn told WSFA. He added that Powell was worked on her own at Hardee's and that she was placed on suspension pending an internal investigation by the fast food company. 

Tony Garrett, the director of the Central Alabama Crimestoppers says identity theft happens whenever someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.

"It's a serious crime that we see often at Crimestoppers. It affects the victims' finances, credit history and reputation," he said.

CrimeStoppers recently dealt with the case of Christopher Wingard. In May, the Autauga County Sheriff's Department, Millbrook Police Department, and Prattville Police Department were all involved in a manhunt to capture the wanted felon, who was featured on the CrimeStoppers Action Line. Wingard stole his relative's identity for financial and other reasons. Not only did he profit financially, he acquired traffic tickets and criminal warrants using his relative's name, Garret said. The relative was even arrested because of him. Wingard was eventually captured.

A grand jury that recently convened in Montgomery County indicted six people for trafficking in stolen identifies. To be charged with the crime, a person has to be caught with at least five stolen identities. District Attorney Daryl Bailey could not discuss the specifics of the cases but he spoke to the growing problem of identity theft in the area.

"Unfortunately, Alabama and Montgomery are leading the country in this type of crime. It is a very popular crime that is being committed today. The citizens of Montgomery need to do what they can to protect themselves by checking their credit reports, by making sure that they're checking their bank statements to try to prevent this," Bailey said.

"My office takes this very seriously and we have dedicated a lot of resources to getting the word out and prosecuting these cases and making sure that these people who are convicted of these cases get some serious prison time," he added.

Crimestoppers urges the public to visit the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Consumer Information website to learn more about identity theft and how to protect yourself.

 -You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can't explain.

 -You don't get your bills or other mail.

 -Merchants refuse your checks.

 -Debt collectors call you about debts that aren't yours.

 -You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.

 -Medical providers bill you for services you didn't use.

 -Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you've reached your benefits limit.

 -A health plan won't cover you because your medical records show a condition you don't have.

 -The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don't work for.

 -You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.


Immediate Steps

If you take action quickly, you can stop an identity thief from doing more damage. Follow these three steps as soon as possible:

1. Place an Initial Fraud Alert with the 3 Credit Reporting Companies

3. Create an Identity Theft Report

- Submit a report about the theft to the FTC. When you finish writing all the details, print a copy of the report. It will be called an Identity Theft Affidavit.

- Bring your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit when you file a police report.

- File a police report about the identity theft, and get a copy of the police report or the report number. Your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit and your police report make an Identity Theft Report.

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