Saks Fifth Avenue hit by insider job
At least 50 customers were affected by a insider job at the super luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store. Local and federal authorities yesterday broke up an identity theft ring made up of Saks Fifth Avenue employees who allegedly stole customer information and used the stolen identities to buy $400,000 worth of designer bags and shoes that were resold on the black market for malafide profit.
Authorities said that the identity theft ring was operating out of Saks’ flagship midtown store and its ringleader was Tamara Williams. Tamara Williams stole the identity information of about 50 customers, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said Monday. Tamara then distributed the stolen identity to four of her associates.
Tamara gave her associates, the personal details and social security numbers from more than 50 Saks customers. Using these stolen credentials her associates embarked on a luxury spending binge. They bought designer label products from Saks itself. For the uninitiated, the Saks Fifth Avenue caters to the high and mighty of Manhattan and the store sells only designer products, so a price tag of $2,000 / €1,580 for a pair of shoes or $10,000 / €7,920 for a handbag is not uncommon. Authorities also stated that Tamara herself ‘preselected’ the brands that her associates would buy. The brands that Tamara ‘preselected’ were kinds of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Christian Louboutin.
The gang made a total of 91 purchases and each time they manually entered the stolen credit card information into the Saks computer system. Tamara also instructed her associates to return the ill-gotten items in exchange for gift cards that were then resold outside for profit.
However it is said that crime never pays, and the identity theft gang which was operating since April 2014 was busted when Saks security got wind of what was going on and alerted authorities. Saks Fifth Avenue took help of the Secret Service and Homeland Security investigators to bust the case, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said. The reasons for taking help from the top investigative agencies would be that the affected victims could be high and mighty from USA.
Tamara and her gang of four filched goods and made profits in the region of $400,000 / €317,000 since many of the products were worth thousands of dollars themselves. Saks has not named any of the 50 clients whose identity was stolen during this escapade. This is the second insider job to surface, yesterday AT&T, in a statement revealed that it may have lost unknown quantity of customer information to a similar insider job.