When Steve Noviello of Dallas, Texas found out that someone had apparently stolen and used his credit card number, he had the same reaction of shock and anger that millions of other Americans have had when they’ve become victims of identity theft. Unlike most of those other millions, however, Noviello was in a position to do something about it — and the resulting video went viral on Tuesday.
Noviello is a news reporter for a Dallas TV station, KDFW — better know as My Fox 4. But he is not just any TV news reporter. Noviello reports the consumer beat. One of his main jobs is to root out and expose frauds committed against consumers by businesses, and by crooks.
The video of Steve Noviello (pictured below) cornering the accused identity thief can be viewed on this page, above.
Rather than just call his credit card company and get the charge reversed then move on, Noviello called the Hilton Garden Inn in Richardson, Texas — the hotel where his credit card provider told him that the card number had been used.
After some digging, the hotel told him that, yes, his card number had indeed been used — by the woman who had been staying for the past three days in room 239, a woman named Farah Parks.
Apparently, Parks — or someone else with access to Noviello’s card number — had also used the card for a Walmart shopping spree.
At the hotel, the scam worked by Parks allegedly presenting a counterfeit credit card with her name on it, but Noviello’s credit card number. When the hotel clerk attempted to run the card, the magnetic strip could not be read by the hotel’s card reader. So the clerk entered the number by hand.
Noviello went to the hotel armed with his iPhone and its built-in video camera, and waited for police to show up and arrest Parks. When they did, he recorded himself questioning the woman, who denied using Noviello’s card, but acknowledged that she had used a card with her own name on it, saying, “I actually got it from someone else.”
When Noviello asked Parks to be more specific and tell him where she got the card, the woman replied, “I’m not gonna talk about that.”
At one point, Noviello tells Parks, “You picked the wrong guy.”
But Parks replies, “I didn’t pick you.”
While little else is currently known about Parks, she teels Steve Noviello in the video, “I’ve just made some bad choices in my life. I’m aware of that and I apologize.”
[Image: Fox 4 News Screen Grab]