Instead of developing an intricate electronic card skimmer, or pulling off an elaborate online scam, a cashier in Japan used the most undetectable tool imaginable to steal the credit card info of over 1,300 customers: his immaculate and instant photographic memory.
Yusuke Taniguchi, a 34-year-old part-time cashier working at a mall in Koto City, Japan, was born with a memory that puts the rest of us—who often struggle to recall our passwords—to shame. There’s some debate over whether or not Taniguchi has a photographic memory, which allows details to be accurately recalled months after they’re observed, or an eidetic memory, which allows them to be accurately recalled for a few minutes afterward, given he kept a physical notebook with all the information in it. What’s for certain is that in the time it took to cash out a customer, Taniguchi was able to memorize their name, credit card number, expiration date, and security code for later nefarious use.
According to SoraNews24, police said that Taniguchi admitted to using the fraudulent credit card information to buy goods that he would later sell at a pawn shop to cover his living expenses.
It sounds like a scheme that only a genius could pull off, but it appears Taniguchi’s above-average mental prowess was limited to his memory. In addition to the notebook which allowed police to tie him to countless illicit purchases made with the stolen credit card info, he also had them shipped directly to his apartment, which is how police were able to apprehend him after he purchased a couple of pricey shoulder bags online valued at over $2,500 that he intended to sell to a pawn shop.
The scam, if you can even call it that, is a good reminder that even being vigilant in protecting against credit card skimmers isn’t enough to completely protect you while making credit card purchases. Features like being able to quickly tap to pay for purchases help keep the details listed on your plastic card away from prying eyes, but regularly monitoring your purchase history is just as important when it comes to ensuring you’re not a victim of theft.