(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — When Chris and Susie Linford of Anchorage, Alaska, found out that their bank account was drained of nearly $5,000 without their knowledge, they were stunned.
“We had our debit card on us the whole time,” said Mrs. Linford, who believes the thief may have stolen their information remotely. Fortunately for the couple, their credit union, Credit Union One, quickly detected the fraudulent purchases and refunded their money. But the surprises didn’t end there.
In the weeks after the theft, the Linfords began receiving an odd assortment of Christmas gifts at their front door — a veritable hodge-podge version of the 12 days of Christmas that directly corresponded with the thieves’ $5,000 shopping spree. Among other things the Linfords received:
Mrs. Linford speculates that the thieves failed to change the shipping address when using the stolen information to order items online, either that or they planned to come by the house and pick up the goods before the Linfords noticed. An idea that Mrs. Linford says, would have been especially foolish: “I work from home and we have a very large dog, bad plan.”
The barrage of gifts slowed down after the Christmas season but has picked up again recently as vendors continue to send items that were on back-order when the crooks purchased them. Including Mrs. Linford’s personal favorite so far: “yesterday our little hacker sent us some virus protection software.”
Because of the nature of the crime, the Linfords were told that they do not have to return the items to the merchants, but that hasn’t stopped Mrs. Linford, who has been contacting each seller individually to return the ill-gotten goods. Otherwise the seller would have to pay out of pocket.
“We were told you’re welcome to keep it, but I thought no that’s not right,” Linford told ABC News.
With both the money and the items returned to their rightful owners, the case seems to have been put right. But as Linford points out there are still a few people out there suffering because of it. “I’m sure the thieves family’s are a little disappointed, they didn’t get their Christmas gifts.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Adam Forsgren, EastIdahoNews.com Columnist
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News