Police have reported that the cards were stolen during one of the recent corporate security breaches, but they have not given more specific information.
The criminals were caught purchasing numerous gift cards with the stolen information, which police believed they planned to sell before leaving the state. There's no clue yet as to why the individuals decided to travel to Boise to make the purchases.
"Detectives believe the suspects all traveled to Boise from Georgia to commit the crime," said the Boise police in a statement to the public, "then planned to sell the gift cards and pocket the cash."
On Sunday, the police became aware of the possible crime, and at the time of the arrest the individuals had succeeded in buying $15,000 worth of gift cards.
"We have to thank some alert local store employees for realizing the gift card purchases were suspicious and calling police," police Detective Wade Spain told the media. "We all pay higher prices and fees because stores and banks need to cover their losses from these types of crimes."
All the individuals are being charged with felony burglary.
Criminals have been known in the past to use stolen information to buy high-value gift cards. Once they purchase these cards, the thieves are unlikely to be caught, since the gift cards themselves are not attached to any person and function more like cash than credit cards. The opportunity to catch the identity theft is therefore at the moment the criminals purchase the gift cards.
If you're worried about your personal information ending up in someone else's hands, then it's time to invest in identity theft protection so you have peace of mind knowing that you can be notified if certain activity that may indicate fraud takes place in your name.
Do your best to avoid credit card theft by monitoring your bank account statements frequently and regularly, so you can notify your bank immediately should you have a question. Appropriate password use is also key. Here are some tips for making the most of password protection:
- Long: The longer your password is, the more difficult it will be for hackers or their computer programs to guess it.
- Random: Don't create passwords with information a thief could glean from the internet. For instance, birthdays, hobbies and pets' names are all common password subjects that criminals will be trying out. Instead, use random letters and numbers that don't obviously correspond to real words.
- Unique: Use a different password for each account you access. Having the same password for all your systems puts you at greater risk, since a cybercriminal would only have to hack into one account to gain access to all your personal information.
It can be confusing to keep track of many different complex passwords. If you're having trouble with this aspect of cyber-security, you might want to try password management software to help you out.