AUSTIN (KXAN) - A driver pulled over for speeding on Sunday has been arrested and faces more serious charges.
Court documents state Bernard Akwar, 24, of Houston, is charged with driving with an invalid license and with having a fake Texas driver's license and Social Security card.
Akwar and Chimene Onyeri, 24, of Houston, who was in the vehicle with Akwar at the time, are accused of having 17 fraudulent gift cards embedded with stolen credit card numbers.
When police stopped Akwar in the 3000 block of Ranch to Market Road 2244, they found he was driving with an invalid license. Police found Akwar also had a fake driver's license and Social Security card. The numbers on both returned to a person other than the one written on the cards, and lacked security features present on a valid one.
The vehicle Akwar was driving had a temporary tag where the rear license plate should be affixed. The tag read, "Texas Dealer Owned by UGC Autos." Police found its number did not connect to UGC Autos.
The police later identified the vehicle Akwar was driving as a rental from Enterprise.
In the vehicle, officers found several gift cards and a credit card reader. They found the numbers displayed on the cards did not match the numbers encoded on the magnetic strip when scanned.
When police contacted the owners of the stolen credit and debit card numbers, they were unaware of the event. They went to their respective banks to change credit card numbers.
One credit card number was used to make more than $600 of purchases on the day Akwar and Onyeri were arrested.
According to the Major Crimes Division of the Travis County Sheriff's Office, such cards can be swiped and used like an actual credit card.
In addition to the stolen credit card numbers, police found hospital records in the vehicle displaying identifying information of a woman.
In order to avoid credit card fraud, Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to :
- Sign your cards as soon as they arrive.
- Carry your cards separately from your wallet.
- Keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
- Keep an eye on your card during the transaction, and get it back as quickly as possible.
- Void incorrect receipts.
- Destroy carbons.
- Save receipts to compare with billing statements.
- Open bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly, just as you would your checking account.
- Report any questionable charges promptly and in writing to the card issuer.
- Notify card companies in advance of a change in address.
And do not:
- Lend your card(s) to anyone.
- Leave cards or receipts lying around.
- Sign a blank receipt.
- Write your account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope.
- Give out your account number over the phone unless you're making the call to a company you know is reputable.
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