A metro woman said credit card thieves used the American Red Cross as a pawn to steal her money.
"Since when did thieves become philanthropists," Taryn Goodwin asked jokingly.
Thieves stole Goodwin's credit card information, racking up $135 in charges in April including a $10 donation to the American Red Cross.
"I felt kind of bad about even making a fuss about it because at first, I wanted to think maybe my husband made a donation with my card on my behalf, but I thought, well it's my business account so it didn't make sense," Goodwin explained.
Several of the unauthorized charges were in California and Goodwin's bank froze the account.
Goodwin said when she called the Red Cross donation line for the OKC area, they told her she was not alone.
"They actually acted like this had been happening quite frequently for them, and that is was just basically a crook's way of validating the card, making sure it had money on it," Goodwin explained.
Oklahoma City police said this is a common practice in which crooks validate the stolen credit card first.
The smaller the transaction, the less attention it draws.
"They will make a smaller purchase with it first to make sure the card is still working and there are no alerts on it to see if it works, then they'll make a larger purchase," OCPD Captain Dexter Nelson said.
Goodwin said she fully supports the Red Cross, but the intention of this particular donation lead her to request a refund.
"If I were to not dispute that charge, I felt like I would have been accepting responsibility for it along with the other charges," Goodwin said.
She said she is glad her bank flagged the suspicious activity before the purchases got any larger.
The American Red Cross obviously had no part in this crime and released this statement from regional CEO Janienne Bella:
"The American Red Cross accepts support from generous donors in Oklahoma and communities across the county. When credit card and online donations are processed and clear, the organization has no indication the card may be lost or stolen unless we are notified by the cardholder or credit card company. If the card was a canceled and inactive card, then the transaction would be rejected and not processed. If individuals notice an unauthorized charge in error and would like a refund, the Red Cross will honor that request."