Article: What Can $15,001 Of American Girl Purchases Teach Us About Credit Card Fraud?

Jun 20, 2017
Identity Theft, Research, Credit Cards, Current Events, Article

This is how it all began, innocently enough (from MarketWatch; 7 minute read):

I was at my desk the other day when my phone buzzed out a warning: My credit card had just been charged $1. No such dollar had been spent by me, but I didn’t think much of the notification. Typically, such unexpected charges have perfectly legitimate explanations given my various subscriptions and recurring monthly charges, all of which come at different and unexpected times.

How does a $1 charge turn into $15,000 worth of American Girl dolls? Read the article and find out!

Questions for your students:

  • How did the writer discover this fraud? Did he have an early warning system set up? What was it?
  • What is the average amount of items purchased when a credit card fraud occurs?
  • How has the introduction of chips in credit cards changed the way that credit card fraud is committed?
  • How did the experts think his credit card number ended up in the wrong hands? What were a few of the theories?
  • How much of the $15,001 in charges is the writer responsible for?
  • What did you learn from this article that you can use to protect yourself?


Teach your students how to navigate this treacherous world of identity theft by completing this NGPF Lesson on Identity Theft



About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.