back to article FBI nabs AWOL soldier for stealing Paul Allen's debit card

An alleged US Army deserter has been charged with stealing the identity of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to run a bank fraud scam. Brandon Price, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, allegedly conned Citibank call centre workers into changing Allen’s address to that of Price’s modest home – as well as changing the phone number …

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Anonymous Coward

Stuuning detective work there

He's AWOL, and they didn't find him until he used his *own address* to order the new card? Not the sharpest bayonet in the squad, but no wonder it took the US army so long to find Bin Laden...

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Re: Stuuning detective work there

Unless there's a compelling reason to find an AWOL soldier (eg, he left in a tank) the US Army doesn't go to extreme lengths to track down the guy. Usually when they're caught, they'll get a dishonourable discharge and loss of pay/pension. I think the logic is that if someone is that keen to leave that they'll break the law, (1) why try and keep him around, and (2) why waste money finding/prosecuting/punishing him.

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FAIL

Re: Stuuning detective work there

Uninformed AC is uninformed.

1) As already noted, a deserter is hardly a national security crisis.

2) There are so many different ways a deserter can get caught, there's no point in making a serarch - once the deserter's name is in the system, anything from a domestic disturbance to a traffic stop will get them caught.

3) Life SUX when you're in deserter status - can't get credit (unless you steal it!), can't register a vehicle, can't do ANYTHING where your name will enter into official notice. Most deserters turn themselves in, just to end the misery.

4) The US Army was never in charge of the Bin Laden hunt in the first place - they were merely a tool of those actually in charge: Intelligence and Criminal Prosecution agencies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stuuning detective work there

> There are so many different ways a deserter can get caught

True. They could ring his doorbell?

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Big Brother

Re: Stuuning detective work there

>True. They could ring his doorbell?

Sure. But why bother? Sooner or later, he'll cross paths of some local authority, and he's cuffed. There absolutely no point in wasting cash making a special visit.

Being on the lam, the *vast* majority of deserters actually lead rather blameless lives so as to NOT attract attention - so they're hardly an active threat.

Why change what works (very efficiently, albeit slowly)?

(Pulling CDO at NAVSTA Philly, I've had to lock a few of 'em up after they had a traffic stop, or their sister-in-law ratted them out to the cops, or similar. My effort and the (Federal) government's expense? Negligible.)

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Facepalm

Is this guy the dumbest fraudster ever? He changes the registered address to his own house, has the card sent to his house on the same day as the address change without thinking this might start ringing some alarm bells, then uses it to directly pay off a loan in his own name, without any intermediate steps to try and hide where the money's coming from. What a moron.

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Silver badge
Headmaster

RE: "Is this guy the dumbest fraudster ever?" Hmm...well, up to a point.

I have to pose a question however. Given that he is indisputably (very) "limited" how is it that the fraud worked for even one nanosecond and what does that say about the bank?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: "Is this guy the dumbest fraudster ever?" Hmm...well, up to a point.

You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that the fraud 'worked'. He was caught and no money was lost. Ergo the fraud didn't work.

If what you mean is that he should never have been able to successfully impersonate Paul Allen to the call centre and get the address changed to his then... well, maybe.

It may well be that the call centre were immediately suspicious and bank security decided to issue a fake card (Paul's name but different number) in order to trap this person. That may sound like overkill for someone clearly at the lowest-level of the criminal food-chain, but knowing this person and linking associates can build a useful pattern.

Regardless, of motives, if bank security chose to do this then they won't be going out of their way to say so, hence the story as it appears.

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Silver badge

While that is true,

I'm not with CitiBank on the "we caught him" spin.

They ran a similar report of Fox News last night (yeah, the Murdock channel, get over it). The guy was running around with the card for a couple of weeks before they wised up and arrested him. Which would make either Paul Allen or CitiBank customer service, or both, even dumber than him.

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FAIL

Epic failure

10/10 for impersonating a rich famous dude

0/10 for using the card in such a way that he got caught immediately. Duh!

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Happy

Re: Epic failure

If he had bought a gazillion dollar yacht with it the bank probably would not have batted an eyelid :)

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Anonymous Coward

Prison will do him good

What goes around...

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Silver badge

Bah!

This is why computer languages are better than English when it comes to scaredy-cat legal beartraps.

WITH ALLEGEDLY{

body of article with a bajillion "alleged"s removed for reading clarity

}

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Bah!

"(...) scaredy-cat legal beartraps."

So, if you were arrested and charged with a crime (let's go for broke and say kiddy-fiddling), you would be happy with all the news articles referring to you as "child molester <Stevie'sRealName>...", rather than pointing out that you're only accused and haven't been convicted yet...?

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Anonymous Coward

You can't fix stupid

This guy was a loser from the word go.

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But the real question is...

... WTF would Paul Allen have a debit card?

Debit cards are for people with lousy credit ratings, or who are blissfully unaware of the security implications of the difference between them and credit cards (or both). How does that apply to Paul Allen?

It's like "Susanne Klatten's Trabant recovered after high-speed chase".

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Anonymous Coward

Some folks aren't concerned about debit cards

Many banks limit liability if someone uses your debit card so they are a convenience with a reasonable risk for many people.

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