Former Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss said she was the victim of identity theft last fall when someone used her county-issued credit card to charge thousands of dollars to an online business.
The funds, which Kniss recalled as being $4,000 to $5,000, were returned to the county after the merchant suspected the charges were fraudulent and took action, Kniss said.
Kniss said she learned of the charges when the business owner, whose name and business she said she did not remember, telephoned her about 10 days after the charges were made.
"It was something to do with electronic trading," she said.
"This very honest guy called me and said, 'I recognize your name, and I know who you are, and I don't think these charges were made by you.'"
Kniss verified that she had not made the charges.
"That's why we have so many concerns about these cards," she said Wednesday.
"It's just too easy -- somebody cloned my card and they were successful."
Had the business owner not called her, the fraudulent charges eventually would have been noticed by staff members in her office, she said.
Within days of when the business owner called, her office bookkeeper noted the unusual charge and mentioned it, Kniss said.