Clerk Steals 1,300 Credit Card Numbers From Customers by Using Photographic Memory

A cashier in Japan pulled off an incredible criminal stunt using his unique photographic memory. The clerk was able to memorize over 1,300 complete credit card numbers, and use them to scam customers out of thousands of dollars. This week, he was finally caught.

The cashier is named Yusuke Taniguchi, and he worked at a mall in Koto City, Japan -- not far from Tokyo. The 34-year-old found a way to make his part-time job far more lucrative, memorizing the number of every credit card used in his store, according to a translated report by Sora News.

Taniguchi's memory was so precise that he was able to memorize the 16-digit number, the security code and the expiration date of the credit card all in the brief time it took it make a transaction. After that, he would write down all the information in a small notebook for later use.

Police eventually found the notebook after arresting Taniguchi. They were reportedly able to track him by the purchases he was making online. Taniguchi would use the cred cards to have goods delivered to his address, leading authorities straight to his home.

The purchases that finally brought real attention to Taniguchi were two luxury bags, valued at 270,000 yen. In the U.S., that translates to about $2,500.

In spite of Taniguchi's criminal activity, many people were still in awe of his memory when the reports began to circulate. According to Sora News, commenters lamented that he did not find a more practical application for his talent.

“Wow, there really are people who can do that?” one reportedly wrote.

“He must be the type of person with a memory like a video recording,” added another.

“Isn’t there any job where he can use that talent?” wondered a third commenter.

Taniguchi most likely possessed what experts call an eidetic memory, known in pop culture as a photographic memory. It typically grants people with the ability to perfectly recall images from memory after seeing it only once. Where most people might need a mnemonic device or other trick, people with eidetic memories can recall images without any association.

Experts claim that eidetic memories are typically found in a small number of children, but they tend to outgrow it by adulthood. Taniguchi represents an exception, and victims of fraud may be thankful that his talent is not more common.

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Identity theft and credit card breaches have been in the headlines a lot recently, from the Equifax incident in January to the Facebook phone number scandal last week. Most recently, MoviePass users were exposed when their payment information was left in an unencrypted database, according to a report by CNET.

There is no word on what comes next for Taniguchi.

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