Theives Not Related to Ron Paul Campaign Caught – Paul Campaign Returns Funds Totaling $3000.00…

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Overseas theives have been identified as the donors to Ron Paul’s campaign using stolen credit cards according to Frost Bank.

Investigators at Frost Bank discovered that the stolen cards were being used to make $5 contributions to the Ron Paul presidential campaign, in an apparent attempt to test the cards, as previously posted on this blog. Frost Bank refunded money from nearly 100 customers and canceled all 500 of the credit cards that had been stolen from the bank. The Paul campaign has told news sources it has refunded all stolen funds back to the bank from the stolen cards, which amount to about $3,000, considerably more than the figure of $60.00 originally being tossed around and flippantly dismissed by Paul supporters.

Kerri Price, assistant director of communications for the Paul campaign, noted that the donations from the stolen cards represent “a very small percentage of money that was brought in.” She also stated that, “We don’t know anything about the criminals that did this.”

In fact…no one does.

The tactic of ‘test charging’ used by these criminals as confirmed by investigators, is a fairly common tactic among identity thieves, also previously noted on this blog.

Another Ron Paul spokesman, Jesse Benton, emphasized, “Ron Paul does not have anything to do with this.”

This is clearly the case, now that all facts have been presented and confirmed.

As I indicated in my last post and several times in the comment thread – no one ever accused Ron Paul or his campaign of being thieves. That is simply foolish. No serious presidential campaign would ever engage in such activity. But the question put forth in my last post on this issue still remains…who are these people and are any of them possibly inside or close to the Paul campaign? No one is explicitly or implicitly saying they are, but the question does need asking. Were they just fanatical, misguided supporters? Grass roots campaigns are virtually impossible to police, and as of today, no one knows how these thieves got these numbers, where they got them from, or why they were used to donate funds to Ron Paul. The Paul campaign claims they know nothing about these criminals, and I tend to believe them, but others aren’t so easily convinced.

One of the Frost Bank customers, Christine Horton, who had her I.D. stolen is quoted as saying, “He’s getting money, stolen money…Whether he’s affiliated with it or not, I have no clue. But it’s too fishy.”

Horton’s suspicion may be relevant.

Why steal credit card information and donate it to Ron Paul’s campaign? Is the status quo, pro big-government establishment, or perhaps another campaign, as suggested in the comment thread by Paul supporters, willing to commit fraud and be jailed for a felony simply to discredit Ron Paul – using stolen credit cards to do it? Is the anti-Ron Paul element that dedicated to pushing Ron Paul down by any means possible? Maybe so, but the whole ordeal seems odd to me.

Maybe the issue here is simply people not paying attention as usual. How many of the tens of thousands of donors actually check the URL carefully for accuracy before providing their credit card information to the Ron Paul campaign? Were these people duped into visiting a ‘phishing’ site by criminals and that is how their numbers were stolen? Do they have a person inside Frost bank? What assurance do any donors have that the Ron Paul campaign or any other presidential campaign for that matter, does not store credit card information in a database on someone’s laptop that could be stolen at anytime?

While the paul campaign has one of the most comprehensive privacy policies of any campaign and does scan its donation site with Hackersafe to ensure there are no intrusions, these aforementioned scenarios are all valid and open to discussion.

People must realize that presidential campaigns, and if you have ever worked on one you would know, are pretty loose knit operations. For instance, presidential campaigns are not subject to the same rigid credit card security regulations that online retailers like Wal-Mart.com or Borders.com are subject to. Those businesses must carry a substantial credit card security yoke to remain industry compliant. A political campaign site? Not so much. In fairness to the Paul campaign, this is not the first and certainly will not be the last incident of this kind in the world of political campaign contributions.

I only hope that the Ron Paul crowd knows what they are doing. That originally reported $60.00 that Ron Paul supporters were casually dismissing just days ago, morphed into $3000.00 pretty quickly, and could have evolved into something much larger still, given the right set of circumstances.

I remain steadfast in my advice. Be careful when donating to Ron Paul or any political campaign when using a credit card. PayPal, pre-paid debit cards, and money orders are valid and safer alternatives.

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Posted on November 8, 2007, in 2008 Presidential Election, Conservatives, Law, Media, Politics, Republican Party and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I own a webstore and I can tell you first hand that alot of fraud comes into our site. We are constantly having to refund money to customers who credit card information has been stolen. The way we detect the fraud is by the transaction code and if it matches the billing address and shipping address that the customer claims. If it does not a call to the customer is in order to verify the telephone number and if all of that checks out a call to the credit card company for verification of any other red flags. The problem with a political site is that there is not shipping address needed to verify with the billing address. So thieves will target these sights. More so for a site that is popular like Ron Pauls so the theft can go undetected for a longer period of time. So I am convinced that every campaign will have some transactions like this. Ron Paul being the most popular and most opposed by the establishment politicians makes him a target for news stories of this nature while the other candidates same fraud accounts will go unnoticed.

  2. One more thing is that people should feel comfortable donating to Ron Paul. The theft comes from a phising technique mostly from bank and paypal spoof emails. You need to be very cautious when opening emails claiming to be from your bank or online financial accounts. This is where the thieves will make an email appear to be from your financial institution saying you need to update your records. When they find out your password and user name they can log into your account and find out other financial information like when is the last time you paid your bill. Then they can send you an email again saying your credit card was declined and you need to update the credit card information. Now they have your address, credit card, user name etc to complete credit card theft. With the credit card number and a machine used to magnetize credit cards theives will take those credit cards and use them at gas stations and other retailers that do not look at ID. Before they do that they use the websites to verify that a hold has not been put on the card to prevent their arrest when using the card.

  3. The Ron Paul campaign accepts Paypal. I have absolutely no concern about using Paypal to pay for my campaign contributions.

  4. If there is anything that we should be protesting to KTVT is their editorial bias and possible lack of ethics. Why was the focus of the piece on the Ron Paul campaign (that was the unwitting beneficiary of the misuse of the cards) rather than on Frost Bank (who issued the cards)?

    I think it is possible that some nutcase(s) did fraudulently use the credit cards of 500 people to make donations to Ron Paul. But you know and I know and, more importantly, KTVT knows that the Ron Paul campaign had nothing to do with the fraudulent use of those credit cards other than to be the unwitting recipient of around $3000 which the campaign has already refunded. But the effect of the article was to smear Ron Paul and to overshadow and downplay the significant accomplishment of the Ron Paul campaign in securing $4.3 million in donations in a single day, which is more than any of the other Republican candidates have achieved in a single day.

    Why isn’t KTVT investigating the apparent breach of security at Frost Bank which allowed the 500 cards they issued to be fraudulently used? Is Frost Bank getting a free pass on this incident because Frost Bank advertises on KTVT?

    This piece did not cause me to question the ethics of the Ron Paul campaign and/or to value less the accomplishment of the Ron Paul campaign in securing $4.3 million in donations in a single day as may have been the intent of KTVT. Instead, the piece just confirmed again that the KTVT News Department does not report the news but primarily airs highly biased editorial opinions. That the piece did not thoroughly investigate the apparent breach of security at Frost Bank, which advertises on KTVT, confirms the lack of ethics of the management of KTVT.

  5. More fishy is the fact that Mr. Frost, owner of the bank, is a Giuliani donor/supporter.

  6. Jared,

    Very comprehensive response. Good comment. Thanks.

  7. disinter,

    Really? Can you provide info to that effect that is valid? I’d love to post that info on this blog. But it must be genuine. That would go a long way to explain why criminals are donating to Paul. It just seems kooky to me…almost like that want the guy to look bad.

    It’s no secret I don’t agree with Ron Paul on many issues and I do question many things he has to say about civil rights, etc., but no one should be set up like that. It has happened to me and that is just plain cowardly and immoral.

  8. Of course the stolen stuff doesn’t imply anything about Ron Paul.

    As to why use a political campaign, it is analogous to donating blood for a free HIV test. No physical presence required, and you can blend in with the crowd of donators.

  9. Why should *I* be careful? MY CARD IS NOT STOLEN..

    Geesh.

    Honestly if you can’t see what happened here I feel sorry for you. This was an attempt to put the words ‘stolen’, ‘bogus’ and ‘fraud’ into the same article with the words Ron Paul.

    The public isn’t falling for it anymore.
    This is the second time Giuliani supporters have tried to smear Paul.

  10. NH,

    What do you mean? Are you suggesting Giuliani supporters are behind this? Or…are they just riding the wave?

  11. vsync,

    I guess. But if these guys just wanted to blend in…why Paul? This guy’s campaign is a high profile as it gets on the net? It’s almost like they wanted to get caught. There must be another angle.

  12. Nigeria is where alot of the credit card fraud comes from. There is not any type of treaty with Nigeria so the FBI can not do anything about it. A theory that I have is that the credit card companies actually have computer rooms set up in Nigeria and hiring these people to run fraudulant purchases on the internet to collect chargeback fees from merchants at $30 per pop as well as make the processing fee higher because there is not a card present. Plus now they are trying to see insurance for identity theft. If there was no theft they would not collect any of these fees or have a market for identity theft insurance.

  13. colbert gravel kucinich paul nader [conyers?] united for truth elicit fear smear blacklist.

    honesty compassion intelligence guts…

  14. Has anyone asked Frost Bank why this only happened with customers of their bank, and exactly how anyone overseas would have gained access to customer debit card names, numbers, expiration dates, and the three digit security code that can ONLY be found on the back of the physical credit/debit card? In my opinion, I highly doubt that anyone overseas had this information; but, rather, someone likely used an overseas Internet proxy to access and place the donations. Anyone, anywhere can use an Internet proxy to access almost any site, and that’s exactly the method that would be used by someone attempting to sabotage and use private information fraudulently (unless they are totallllllly stupid).

    As for Who’s-Who at Frost Bank:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp

    FROST, KELLEY L MRS
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78209
    STUDENT

    3/23/2007 – $500 – Giuliani, Rudolph W
    ——————————————
    FROST, PATRICK B MR
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78209
    FROST BANK/BANKER

    3/23/2007 – $500 – Giuliani, Rudolph W
    ————————————–
    FROST, TOM C MR
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78209
    CULLEN/FROST BANKERS/BANKER

    6/23/2003 – $2,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————–
    EVANS, RICHARD W MR JR
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78209
    CULLEN & FROST BANKERS INC./BANKER

    7/30/2003 – $2,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————————-
    EVANS, JIMMIE RUTH W MRS
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78209
    CULLEN/FROST/BANKER

    6/27/2003 – $2,000 – Bush, George W
    ————————————————
    EVANS, RICHARD W JR
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78209
    CULLEN FROST BANKERS INC

    3/31/1999 – $1,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————–
    GREEN, PHILLIP D
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78216
    CULLEN/FROST BANKERS INC

    4/12/1999 – $1,000 – Bush, George W
    ———————————–
    ALVAREZ, CARLOS MR
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78232
    THE GAMBRINUS COMPANY/OWNER

    7/9/2003 – $2,000 – Bush, George W
    —————————————
    ALVAREZ, CARLOS
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78232
    THE GAMBRINUS COMPANY

    4/14/1999 – $1,000 – Bush, George W
    ————————————–
    ALEXANDER, R DENNY
    FORT WORTH,TX 76109
    INVESTOR

    6/24/1999 – $1,000 – Bush, George W
    —————————————
    EDWARDS, CRAWFORD MR
    FORT WORTH,TX 76109
    EDWARDS GEREN LTD./RANCHER & FARMER

    6/30/2003 – $2,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————
    EDWARDS, CRAWFORD
    FORT WORTH,TX 76109
    EDWARDS GEREN LTD

    3/31/1999 – $1,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————
    JENNINGS, KAREN E MS
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78212
    S.B.C. COMMUNICATION/EXECUTIVE V.P.

    8/26/2003 – $2,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————
    KLEBERG, RICHARD M III
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78127
    INVESTMENTS

    3/25/1999 – $1,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————–
    KLEBERG, RICHARD M MR III
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78217
    S.F.D. ENTERPRISES/PRESIDENT

    7/9/2003 – $2,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————
    MCCLANE, ROBERT S
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78209
    INVESTOR

    3/19/1999 – $500 – Bush, George W
    —————————————
    MCCLANE, ROBERT S
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78209
    INVESTOR

    9/28/1999 – $200 – Bush, George W
    ————————————————-
    STEEN, IDA C MRS
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78205
    SELF-EMPLOYED/INVESTMENTS ADVISOR

    6/27/2003 – $2,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————————-
    STEEN, IDA CLEMENT
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78205
    INVESTMENTS

    6/26/2000 – $5,000 – Republican National Cmte
    ——————————————–
    WILKINS, HORACE MR JR
    SAN ANTONIO,TX 78256
    RETIRED

    6/30/2003 – $1,000 – Bush, George W
    ——————————————–
    WILKINS, HORACE MR JR
    SPICEWOOD,TX 78669
    RETIRED

    11/24/2003 – $1,000 – Bush, George W
    —————————————

    https://www.frostbank.com/cgi-bin/ecomm/portal/frost/frames/investorRelations.jsp?p=news&session=0

  15. Has anyone asked Frost Bank why this only happened with customers of their bank, and exactly how anyone overseas would have gained access to customer debit card names, numbers, expiration dates, and the three digit security code that can ONLY be found on the back of the physical credit/debit card? In my opinion, I highly doubt that anyone overseas had this information; but, rather, someone likely used an overseas Internet proxy to access and place the donations. Anyone, anywhere can use an Internet proxy to access almost any site, and that’s exactly the method that would be used by someone attempting to sabotage and use private information fraudulently (unless they are totallllllly stupid).

    As for Who’s-Who at Frost Bank:

    http://egocentral.invisionzone.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=18193&view=findpost&p=134285

    http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp

    https://www.frostbank.com/cgi-bin/ecomm/portal/frost/frames/investorRelations.jsp?p=news&session=0

  16. Go Colbert! As wacky and wierd as he is, I’d vote for him.

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