The computer company called to confirm shipping.

Tom Tansil is a small businessman, repairing computers from his Merriman Park North home, with a few usually scattered throughout his house. He enjoys working for himself, and his website,, brings him plenty of work. “I make computers work the way they’re supposed to,” he says.

But on Nov. 12, Tansil was on the receiving end of a call about his own computer order.

“Hewlett-Packard called me to confirm my purchase and I was like, ‘I didn’t order anything from you,’” he says.

The company said someone had purchased a computer for $854 using his credit card. Tansil had actually ordered a small part from the company a few months earlier, but believes a site he used may not have been secure. Someone may have also gotten his credit card information another way. Immediately, he began damage control.

“That’s the only time I’ve used that credit card online,” he says. “HP called me, and I called the credit card company and canceled the card.


“And then I called Equifax, and then I called the police.”

Hewlett-Packard canceled the order, and because of Tansil’s quick actions, there were no additional charges on the card. As added measures, Tansil put out fraud alerts on all his credit cards and pulled copies of his credit to review as well. Had the company not called him, the criminal may have gotten the computer and charged more items.

Lt. Gloria Perez with the Dallas Police Northeast Patrol Division says Tansil’s responses were exactly what residents should do if they are the victims of identity theft or credit card fraud. She recommends reporting fraud to authorities immediately, and notifying all banks and credit card companies.

“Check your credit report periodically from the three major credit bureaus,” she adds. “Identity theft is on the rise. It is very important to safeguard all personal information.”

Perez offers a few preventative measures: minimize personal information left in your wallet, purse or vehicle; check your mail daily; shred any documents with personal information including pre-approved credit card applications; be aware of telephone and internet solicitations seeking personal information; and lock financial documents, credit cards and blank checkbooks in your home.