U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have discovered five unemployment benefit cards bearing other beneficiaries’ names in the possession of a traveler returning from Jamaica at Philadelphia International Airport. CBP is not releasing the man’s name because he was not criminally charged. An investigation continues.
CBP officers selected the traveler, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen, for a secondary examination after he arrived on a flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica. During the examination, the traveler extracted five Visa Debit cards from his jeans pocket. Officers realized that all five cards displayed names that differed from the traveler’s name. The traveler was uncooperative and alleged he found the cards on the ground in Philadelphia.
CBP officers contacted the bank listed on the Visa debit cards and learned that the cards were unemployment benefit cards. Three cards held balances, but had not yet been activated. CBP officers detained all five cards.
“Financial fraud and theft takes many forms, but they all have one thing in common – it causes severe hardship to its victims. The theft of the financial benefits from these cards is especially painful during this pandemic with many people struggling to pay bills and feed their families,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “This is an instance where our border security mission helped our State partners identify and prevent financial crimes and other illicit enterprises that are taking place in our communities.”