Suspected Retail Scammers Busted In Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa, CA (April 10, 2008) – A Costa Mesa man and woman have been arrested on several counts of fraud and theft after allegedly targeting local large chain retail stores with bogus checks and credit cards.
            Shirley Sager, 33, and Scott Raffa, 39, were arrested by Costa Mesa Police March 25 at the Radio Shack located at 2075 Newport Blvd. after Radio Shack employees reported recognizing Sager from previous incidents of fraud, said police.
            Upon arriving and searching Sager, police reported finding tools in her possession that could be used to create bogus credit cards.
            An additional search of Raffa and his vehicle resulted in his arrest after police turned up more tools that purportedly could be used to make fake credit cards. Raffa also possessed what police believed to be stolen property from a residential burglary in Anaheim that was used to make a fake check.
            According to Police, the pair is believed to have used the suspect cards to buy large ticket items such as video game consoles and computer equipment from large chain stores in Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Tustin. The number of retailers affected could not be released because the investigation is ongoing but several potential victims have been identified, said Costa Mesa Detective Eugene Kim.
            Police cautioned local retailers to be on the lookout for the phony cards which don’t work when scanned or swiped but are accepted when the card’s numbers are entered manually.
            The cards are described by police as not having raised numbers like typical credit cards, but instead being flat which makes them easier and cheaper to create. The cards also have a clear plastic layer that reveals a blank card when peeled back.
            Additionally, retailers should be wary of suspicious looking checks that customers cannot immediately verify, warned police.
            Sager and Raffa are suspected of using stolen identities to create the phony checks and cards. By demagnetizing the magnetic strips on the cards, the cards wouldn’t scan properly, forcing cashiers to enter the card information manually and resulting in a successful purchase. New names were also applied to the fake cards, according to police. 
              Specific charges against Sager include suspicion of burglary, identity theft, credit card fraud and giving false identification to police. Raffa is suspected of burglary, identity theft, credit card fraud and check fraud.


Skip to content