Rebecca’s black Coach bag had a stuck zipper, so she didn’t close it as she shopped at Kohl’s one weekday morning. A pickpocket took the opportunity to steal her Visa and bank cards. In the hour before she realized they were gone, the cards were used to make $11,628 in purchases–two MacBook Pros at the Apple Store in Briarwood and a pair of expensive cameras at Best Buy. She reported the theft in time to thwart an attempt to buy six iPods at Target.

“It’s a faceless crime,” says Mike, Rebecca’s husband, who asked that their last names not be used. Or it was, until Target let Mike look at its surveillance photos of the couple who tried to buy the iPods. “They’re not kids,” he reports, “probably thirty to fifty; the male was Caucasian, the female, hard to tell…dressed fairly nicely.” While Rebecca and Mike didn’t have to pay for the stolen items, they were stunned to learn that not one salesperson asked the crooked couple for identification. So when their new Visa cards arrived, they didn’t sign them. Instead, on the signature line, they wrote an instruction: “See ID.”