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A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

timothy posted about a month and a half ago | from the fool-me-42-times-won't-get-fooled-again dept.

Crime 419

redletterdave (2493036) writes "Sharron Laverne Parrish Jr., 24, allegedly scammed Apple not once, but 42 times, cheating the company out of more than $300,000 — and his scam was breathtakingly simple. According to a Secret Service criminal complaint, Parrish allegedly visited Apple Stores and tried to buy products with four different debit cards, which were all closed by his respective financial institutions. When his debit card was inevitably declined by the Apple Store, he would protest and offer to call his bank — except, he wasn't really calling his bank. So he would allegedly offer the Apple Store employees a fake authorization code with a certain number of digits, which is normally provided by credit card issuers to create a record of the credit or debit override. But that's the problem with this system: as long as the number of digits is correct, the override code itself doesn't matter."

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Wow ... (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557649)

But that's the problem with this system: as long as the number of digits is correct, the override code itself doesn't matter.

Who the hell came up with that idea?

That's no security in any meaningful sense of the word.

I'm betting some lobbyist made it so that the banks didn't really need to do anything concrete, just look like they were.

If that's all that's required, the banks deserve to be getting ripped off.

Re:Wow ... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557695)

Except they're not, Apple was. TFA states that since they accepted it even after it was denied, Apple's on the hook for it.

Re:Wow ... (1)

Krojack (575051) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557873)

If the override code is submitted back to the bank and they accept it then it's on the bank not Apple.

1. Run card... denied..
2. Run card again with override code.. accepted..
3. Leave store with items.

Re:Wow ... (4, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557923)

As the bank didn't provide an override code and have no record of providing an override code, why should they accept liability?

Re:Wow ... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558151)

Because, apparently, the banks system accepted the transaction.

Re: Wow ... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558291)

No, no one ever contacted the bank. Apple's Point of Sale software was configured to accept any number based on length() of the number string. They held the number until the end of the day or some other convenient time, when they'd process it with the banks. That was stupid, and the scam is common. Retailers are starting to learn to call and verify immediately (before clearing tge transaction), not to wait until the end of the day.

Re:Wow ... (5, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557943)

It's not a security code, it's a reference number. The transaction isn't formally authorised by the bank until the end of the day when they receive that reference number and tally it with the corresponding phone call from the retailer. *Then* the transaction is authorised. (Assuming said phone call included verbal authorisation of the transaction.)

That the Apple Store didn't know this is how the system works means it was completely open to abuse.

Re:Wow ... (4, Interesting)

netsavior (627338) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557767)

The truth is that credit card interest is the highest profit gig in the whole world. Because of this, Visa/Mastercard and all the myriad banks that work with them have a vested interest in making credit/debit card purchases VERY EASY.
Visa wakes up, takes a dump, then wipes its ass with $300,000 dollars. It is nothing compared to the billions they make in clearing fees alone.
Vendors are not even allowed to do things like require an ID, (I know they do, but it is against the vendor agreement), even though it would make purchases a lot more secure, because EASY trumps everything, EASY makes billions. Secure override codes... Who cares?

Re:Wow ... (5, Informative)

naughtynaughty (1154069) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558161)

Visa/MC and the banks have security measures in place, merchants who follow the process aren't liable for loss from fraudulent cards. Asking for ID provides no additional protection to merchants and to the extent they rely on it instead of established Visa/MC processes it can lessen security. But you are correct that making customers spend an extra 30 secs digging out their ID and having some clerk eyeball it and hand it back is not easy and in fact that 30 secs times all the legitimate transactions is more costly than the RARE case of credit card fraud that could be prevented by asking for ID (which is easily circumvented). The problem here is not the authorization code but that Apple didn't follow the proper procedure of contacting the bank for an override code themselves. There is no need for a secure override code.

This is an Apple/retailer fail (4, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557793)

From TFA:
>> merchants can be liable for charges if they override a credit or debit card denial in this fashion

>> In (another) case...after defrauding Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, and several other retailers out of $557,690 in the same manner, which is known as a “forced sale” or “forced code.”

I think the operational problem here is that store managers have the authority to override denials to boost their own sales numbers...while the risk for bad credit decisions may fall on the owners.

Re:Wow ... (5, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557841)

The way it's supposed to work is that the store calls the issuer and requests an override code, and then keys it in themself. The bank can then tally the auth code against the store's call at the end of the day and process the charge. I have never seen a situation where the customer calls up the bank themselves.

Re:Wow ... (5, Insightful)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558117)

If you printed your own card and put a number for an issuer that you controlled I don't see what the difference is.

Re:Wow ... (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558147)

That would take at least five minutes' more effort than this guy had to put in. Good idea though, I might try that one myself.

Re:Wow ... (5, Informative)

the_skywise (189793) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557935)

It's not a unique security code - it's a TRACKING NUMBER. This whole part of the process is designed specifically to work around an issue where the computer records might be incorrect or the computer system is in error and an actual human has to issue an authorization code.

The actual fault in the system is that the Apple Employees let Sharron make the call and GIVE them the number. Instead THEY should've called Chase directly and gotten the code.

Re:Wow ... (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558175)

Oh, blame the lobbyist? Is your "Free Market" soul hurt? This is a process by the Credit Card companies and the Banks. Lobbyists have next to nothing to do with it. Apple screwed up by not contacting the bank themselves. Apple screwed up by allowing a bully customer to steamroller them. Most companies don't even allow their employees to do this process because doing so says you're absolutely sure you've followed the process, and will accept the charges. It's typically only done on big ticket purchases were the bank won't authorize anything above a set limit unless all the verification steps are done.

in fairness... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557677)

It might have been 300k retail sales but it only cost Apple 500 bucks.

Re:in fairness... (-1)

gnupun (752725) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558181)

... it only cost Apple 500 bucks

If you believe IP == worthless, then yes.

Re:in fairness... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558267)

... it only cost Apple 500 bucks

If you believe IP == worthless, then yes.

No, Apple believes Chinese children are worthless [qz.com] .

Re:in fairness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558313)

Get real. Apple will reproduce $500 worth of hardware and sell it to make up for it. Commenter is correct. It cost apple next to nothing. How much could they possibly lose when the products were likely sold to ghetto ass people at a significant discount... Much like "piracy," many of the people who bought the products were probably never going to give their money directly to Apple to begin with. Also, They'll reproduce, and their children will buy Apple products and recommend them to their friends etc.. I'm pretty much making all this up seriously, GET REAL. Apple didn't lose shit.

Cry me a fucking river about IP.

Re:in fairness... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558241)

...but it only cost Apple 500 bucks.

500 bucks plus the lives of three Foxconn employees, the services of one street-cleaning crew and a large, counterfeit bottle of [Chinese-knockoff] Simple Green all-purpose cleaner (not quite as effective as the real thing but still more than adequate for getting reasonably fresh bloodstains off of sidewalks). ;)

So this wasn't scamming Apple at all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557683)

This was just using the lousy bank system as it was intended to be used.
Bankers are not people. Kill em and make the world a great service!

Brilliant... (1, Insightful)

Kyokugenryu (817869) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557703)

Brilliant tactic, but dumb enough to use it 42 times? He had to know he was pressing his luck the FIRST time, why would he keep going?

Re:Brilliant... (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557771)

Presumably he was treating it as a source of income rather than a source of Apple hardware.

Re:Brilliant... (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557773)

Because.... 42?

Re:Brilliant... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557907)

Brilliant tactic, but dumb enough to use it 42 times? He had to know he was pressing his luck the FIRST time, why would he keep going?

Well, dishonest people are essentially stupid - it is their dishonesty that proves their stupidity, even if circumstances create -to them and/or others- impressions of "brilliancy"...

Re:Brilliant... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558115)

So by that argument all rich people are stupid? :http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/28/rich-people-cheat-lie-break-law_n_1306167.html

Well, they got what they deserved (1)

thieh (3654731) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557711)

Fool them 41 times, shame on the scammer. Fool them 42 times, shame on them. But c'mon, the fact that no system exists to check this means lawsuits are coming to towns.

And now.. (1)

justcauseisjustthat (1150803) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557717)

He'll be serving 5-10 yrs. Brilliant.

Re:And now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557779)

Free room, board, medical and dental insurance, fitness center, entertainment, reading material.

Probably better off in prison than on the streets.

Re:And now.. (3, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557857)

Don't forget the free sex!

Nice to know... I'm off shopping now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557731)

With this new information, I think I'll go shopping ... anonymously, of course.

$7142.85 (3, Informative)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557749)

That's over $7142.85 per "scam". How the fuck do you spend that much money at a fucking Apple store?!

Cult of Personality (2)

FutureRobertOverlord (3751905) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557783)

Have you never been to an Apple store? They charge $20 for a freaking USB to iPod cable. Think different (like everyone else).

Re:$7142.85 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557797)

Buy a laptop? :o

Re:$7142.85 (1, Informative)

ogdenk (712300) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557883)

You aren't far off, a couple high-end 17" MacBook Pros would easily get there pretty quick.

Re:$7142.85 (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557869)

I once went to the Apple website to price my ideal server. It cost well over $10,000.00. It was more like 18 thousand IIRC.

Re:$7142.85 (0)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557975)

Which, coincidentally, is the same price you would pay for an "ideal server" from any other OEM.

Re:$7142.85 (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558045)

Did I say the price was out of line with the industry? I must have missed that.

Re:$7142.85 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558127)

Fanboi alert!

Man - way to jump to defend Apple from a claim that wasn't made.

Re:$7142.85 (2)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557977)

... Apple ... ideal server ...

*head asplodes*

Re:$7142.85 (-1, Flamebait)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558061)

Next time, take it out of your as and you won't have that issue. Say what you want about Apple, they make great hardware.

Re:$7142.85 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558197)

Say what you want about Apple, they make great hardware.

Most people seem to have this perception. Having owned a number of Macs, the collection of burned up power supplies I accumulated over the years (often due to crappy designs with improper strain relief on the cabling) would tend to argue against this, as would the PMU issues I often encountered with the MacBooks.

Re:$7142.85 (-1, Flamebait)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558255)

"Most people seem to have this perception."

There is a reason for that. It's called reality.

"the collection of burned up power supplies I accumulated over the years (often due to crappy designs with improper strain relief on the cabling)"

Yes. The whole laptop sucks because you don't know how to use a cable without damaging it.

Re:$7142.85 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558203)

By "they make great hardware" you mean they use the same hardware as pc and put an artsy apple on it.

Re:$7142.85 (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558229)

Spoken like a person who never owned a Macbook. I am a Linux guy, and I am by no stretch of the imagination an Apple fan, but misinformed hatred is just a form of ignorance.

Re:$7142.85 (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558251)

Nobody questions their quality, just their price for performance. Apple has always sold lower performance hardware at a premium over other kinds of systems. But they have a totally different business model and they sell the Apple branded way of doing things to users who don't mind paying for it.

Re:$7142.85 (-1, Flamebait)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558287)

Actually, some people do question their quality. We call those people uninformed, or in a word that gets people hot under the caller because they don't know what it means: ignorant.

Re:$7142.85 (3, Funny)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557893)

A couple of iPhone cables, iTunes gift cards, iPod socks. Pretty soon it adds up.

Re:$7142.85 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558023)

You buy large LCD displays and 12-CPU Mac Pros with slots full of SSDs.

Re:$7142.85 (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558281)

Surely they don't have all those in the store? Remember this guy had to walk out with hardware in hand because by COB they would figure out they'd been had, so making any special orders would be a no-go option. No, I'm sure he had to buy "in stock" stuff from the store.

Re:$7142.85 (1)

Thruen (753567) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558081)

Seriously? They sell computers. I'm more curious how he didn't spend more in there, you could spend more than that on just one computer there with all the options.

Re:$7142.85 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558245)

Presumably because making a purchase for more than that would be uncharacteristic for a typical Apple customer. He almost certainly chose the amount carefully to make sure that it was the upper end of what someone would spend in an Apple store, but not something so unusual as to raise suspicions of being a rip off.

Re:$7142.85 (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558089)

A 6-core mac pro plus an apple thunderbolt display plus a high end macbook pro for when you are on the road could get to that kind of money pretty easilly without looking too suspiscious (assuming you look rich)

Re:$7142.85 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558105)

You buy one product per store.

(plus 0ne Informative) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557759)

shift of blame. (2, Interesting)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557765)

Once upon a time, the retailer would have to take the blame for this because it is the retailer who is supposed to make the call to the financial institution on the retailer's own phone line, not using the cardholder's phone or trusting the cardholder's ability to dial the number.

Unfortunately, the retailers are successfully using the police to cover for the incompetence of their staff.

Re:shift of blame. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557871)

Yes, and once upon a time when someone stole your horse because you were passed out drunk in the saloon you and a few buddies would go and shoot the offender.

Regardless of lax security or polices, this guy stole from them you dipshit. Hence police involvement. What the fuck are you talking about, your stupidity is confounding me.

Re:shift of blame. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557881)

Well, it takes two to tango: the Apple Store to somehow fail to train their employees in the most basic principles of performing a card transaction, and this guy to exploit the error.

Re:shift of blame. (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557937)

No matter how stupid Apple was to fall for this, and how much they disregarded good practice, this is still definitely fraud.

Why wouldn't they call the police?

Re:shift of blame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557993)

Once upon a time, crime was still crime. This guy was perpetrating a fraud, but we're not supposed to care because it was against Apple?

Fuck this FELON, and fuck anybody who tries to diminish the bank fraud he was committing just because they are biased against Apple.

Re:shift of blame. (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558119)

Fraud is fraud. They aren't going after the banks, just arresting the actual criminal.

This scam is nothing new. I fell for it once 20 years ago when I was 18. The customer told me I needed to use the number printed on the card to get an authorization code. Being 18 and not knowing any better, that's what I did. Everything seemed legit during the phone call, I punched it in to the card system, and the scammer walked away with a very nice laptop.

Now that I know how the scam works, I could easily spot it and have the guy arrested. Asking the typical register jockey to do so? Not likely. I'm actually a little surprised that override codes are still a thing. The last time I worked a register (about 13 years ago), a declined card was a declined card, no exceptions.

Arrest the Credit Card Issuers? (0)

PackMan97 (244419) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557769)

It sounds like the real scammers are the credit card issues that have a system in place to override that has ZERO security in place.

Re:Arrest the Credit Card Issuers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557879)

a lot of times legit charges get denied due to some fraud alert when travelling or some other algorithm being tripped
you need a system to override it if you call your bank and prove who you are

Re:Arrest the Credit Card Issuers? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557905)

No kidding, any system which comes down to "I have a number, trust me" is pretty flawed.

Obviously, Apple was doing something wrong since they're on the hook for it, but you'd really think there would have to be some validation inherent to this.

This sounds like it boiled down to "declined, declined, declined, OK, go ahead". That's crazy.

Re:Arrest the Credit Card Issuers? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557973)

It's more like "well, I don't have any money, but I swear that my bank just sent a cheque to your bank covering the transaction, here's the reference number".

Re:Arrest the Credit Card Issuers? (1)

naughtynaughty (1154069) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558207)

Yep, Apple was doing something wrong, they got social engineered into not making the call to the bank themselves. The validation is calling the bank yourself and not letting some scam artist pretend to call the bank and then hand you the phone or read off an alleged authorization code.

Re:Arrest the Credit Card Issuers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557997)

Not really since it's completely at the discretion of the store manager and employees whether or not to use it. I'd say it's worse than taking a credit card with a name on it that doesn't match the gender or surname of the person using it, since in this particular case the risk draws attention to itself rather than requiring you to be proactive (albeit, proactive in a way that should be standard policy).

Re:Arrest the Credit Card Issuers? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557999)

The credit card issuers do have some security in place - they confirm the identity of the card-holder with various questions. However, in this case, the credit card company weren't contacted and were obviously unable to confirm or deny the card-holder's identity.

Re:Arrest the Credit Card Issuers? (2, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558013)

It sounds like the real scammers are the credit card issues that have a system in place to override that has ZERO security in place.

The security is supposed to be that the retailer is supposed to call the bank themselves to verify it. Which they didn't do.

Stealing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557777)

Doesn't this guy have job? Too lazy? WTF? Be a decent American and work like everyone else! I will never understand criminal minds. Maybe Apple should have called the bank or Visa or Mastercard instead.

sorry for the rant but I hate how people steal using debit cards.

Re:Stealing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557809)

Be a decent person, get off your ass and work.

Sorry for the rant, but I hate how people abuse the public welfare system, getting free money, free medical, free food, while keeping their drug dealer and cellular provider paid in full.

Turn off the baby factories, chemically sterilize the recipients until they get a job and off of welfare.

Re:Stealing (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557847)

lowlife as he may be, running this still took some moxy and guile. he could easily fit in with a sales team somewhere (pharma perhaps?). he might need to lower his ethical standards a bit, but that's something they teach on the job methinks.

Re:Stealing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558157)

Literally Hitler.

And I'm not abusing the word "literally"...

Re:Stealing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558259)

The worst people I have ever met were all employed and contributing members of society. Drawing a line between the poor and decency is horribly bigoted and you should be ashamed of your ignorance. Good day sir.

apple store (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557805)

I walked in once ... and couldn't figure out how to buy something so I left !

42 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557823)

So the ultimate question to life and everything is: "How many times was Apple ripped off by an single individual?"

What a strange title. (4, Interesting)

Atzanteol (99067) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557843)

Does the fact that the guy was 24 have any bearing on the story what-so-ever? Why not say "scam artist" or something more generic?

Re:What a strange title. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558305)

Maybe because Eric Garner was 43. There are so many lessons here, it's hard to pick just one. My take away is that it' still better to fuck with billion dollar corporations than it is to fuck with a cop.
  Cigarettes kill.

It probably wasn't hard to track down the thief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557853)

How did he think he was going to get away with it when he was using is own card?

Exploited procedural loophole (5, Informative)

John3 (85454) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557861)

Based on TFA this scam has been done before to other retailers. When a merchant receives a "decline" they can optionally call the bankcard processor to obtain a verbal authorization code. The merchant can then "force" the sale to go through using the authorization code they received over the phone. The two huge procedural holes that Apple (and the other retailers) left open are:

1: The clerk is the one that should be calling for an approval code, and the call is made not to the cardholder's bank but rather to the bank that processes the cards for the retail store. It doesn't matter what the customer's bank says (or in this case the fake bank) since the approval/authorization code must come from the retailer's bankcard processor.

2: At my store a manager override is required to "force" a bankcard approval. So even if the clerk makes the call and gets a voice approval code a manager/owner must also provide a password to allow the approval to go through. Apparently Apple has no such security check in place and clerks tan type a manual code into the POS system to force the sale to go through.

Amazingly simple scam, but also amazingly simple to prevent if the stores involved had even rudimentary procedures in place.

Re:Exploited procedural loophole (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557911)

Wish I had mod points. The stores were the dumb asses to allow their cashiers to just punch in any code the customer told them.

Re:Exploited procedural loophole (1)

captain_nifty (132748) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558039)

A simple work around is to alter the phone number on the card to a number you control.

Then the retailer could call the number receive the code from your accomplice and provide a valid false code.

Re:Exploited procedural loophole (1)

tomlouie (264519) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558075)

> 1: The clerk is the one that should be calling for an approval code, and the call is made not to the cardholder's bank but rather to the bank that processes the cards for the retail store. It doesn't matter what the customer's bank says (or in this case the fake bank) since the approval/authorization code must come from the retailer's bankcard processor.

Read again, the clerk should be calling the store's bank, not the customer's bank.

Re:Exploited procedural loophole (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558169)

Every time I've done it, it has been the customer's bank on the other end of the line.

Re:Exploited procedural loophole (3, Informative)

John3 (85454) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558163)

A simple work around is to alter the phone number on the card to a number you control.

Then the retailer could call the number receive the code from your accomplice and provide a valid false code.

The retailer doesn't call the number on the card, the retailer call's the merchant service center. For example, customer has a Chase Mastercard and when Apple tries to post a transaction the card receives a decline. Apple would never call Chase, but instead calls their provider (which at my store is First Data Merchant Services). Apple's provider in turn electronically contacts Chase and then provides an approval code back to the clerk. The customer (or scammer) never has an opportunity to change the phone number unless they physically get behind the checkout counter and overwrite the numbers that are posted for the retail clerks to use. So it doesn't matter what phone number is on the card, that number is for the customer's use and not for the merchant's use.

What does his age have to do with it? (1)

hubie (108345) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557875)

I can see putting it in the summary, but what relevance is his age to put it in the headline? If not 24, what age am I supposed to expect for someone who would pull off this kind of scam?

Re:What does his age have to do with it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558263)

what relevance is his age to put it in the headline?

Well, they have to put something now that it's just assumed that thieves are black.

I worked in retail a long time (2)

singularity (2031) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557877)

I worked retail for a long time, including an Apple Store. I cannot remember the policies at Apple when I was working there, but most places will not take a verbal approval code.

If the person on the other end of the phone (generally you get to them by calling the 800 number on the back of the card) has the ability to run the transaction, they have the ability to clear whatever prevented the card from going through the first time. They would have to - they have to clear the hurdle before they can run the transaction themselves.

So policy at most places is that the telephone operator clears the issue (usually it is a daily spending limit that card issuers never mention) and then the store runs the card again. There was no procedure for manually entering a verbal approval code.

My memory of Apple Retail (this was '04-'06), however, is that they had almost every contingency covered. The POS machines all had USB modems attached so that in case the Internet went down at the store, credit cards could still be processed. We even had the old CH-CHUNK imprint devices when everything went pear-shaped. I do seem to remember having the ability to enter a manual authorization code for a credit card transaction. It is Apple Retail - there are supposed to be no hurdles keeping a Specialist from keeping a customer happy.

What a dipshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557899)

If I'm reading this correctly, it was his own accounts that were closed? Yeah... they'll never catch you brohan.

Re:What a dipshit. (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557979)

The bigger dipshits are the cashiers who were stupid enough to fall for it.

Who were they calling? (1)

crow (16139) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557983)

So they weren't calling the bank, but obviously they were calling someone. Did the store employee actually speak with someone, or did he manage to fake the call entirely? Presumably he had an accomplice who was pretending to be the bank. Did they track down and arrest that person? I didn't see it in the article.

Palindrome (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47557991)

At 42 he'll only do it 24 times. Slowin' down.

Re:Palindrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558247)

I think you fucked up while making your palindrome.

Lack of security with Credit/Debit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558001)

I found out the hard way that so long as a crook has your CC/Debit #, and there's at least 1 dollar in your account any automated gas station pump across the country will automatically override your overdraft protection and allow the transaction. No pin required. Gas stations are suppose to post a warning on the pumps about this, but most don't and I had to take a local one to small claims court because they didn't have notifications on theirs in order to convince the bank it wasn't me purchasing $300 worth of gas.

Re:Lack of security with Credit/Debit (1)

naughtynaughty (1154069) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558243)

Why would you take the gas station to small claims court for accepting a stolen credit card that was yours? You dispute the charges with your bank and get the money back. It is never the merchant that overrides your overdraft protection and allows the transaction, it is your bank.

At the risk of asking the obvious (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558063)

How many digits is that code...?

Re:At the risk of asking the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558143)

Six. Numeric.

Re:At the risk of asking the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558277)

7 digits, numeric.

Probably a pothead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47558239)

There's a certain level of greed and selfishness common to criminals and drug addicts at play here.

Any idea how they caught the guy? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558303)

Was he using cards with his own name, or should he simply have called it quits the 41st time?
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