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Brilliant Scam To Cheat Apple Out Of $300,000

florida authorization code card reader. forced sale terminal

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#1 Hum

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 23:52

TAMPA — A man ran up a $7,753.22 bill at an Apple store.

When his debit card was declined, he pretended to call his bank. He gave the store clerk a fake authorization code to punch into the card reader.

And that's how the man, 24-year-old Sharron Laverne Parrish Jr. of Tampa, scammed one of the biggest high-tech companies in the world — not once but 42 times — totaling $309,768, according to federal court records.

A Secret Service criminal complaint charges Parrish with wire fraud, alleging that he tricked Apple clerks in 16 states into accepting meaningless override codes. He is accused of hitting the Brandon store twice, along with stores in Orlando, Wellington and Boca Raton.

Parrish, who lists a home address in the River Grove area of east Tampa, was held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail.

The scam was made possible through a practice known as a "forced sale," "forced post" or "forced code."

A credit or debit card gets declined, a customer protests that funds should be available and a merchant calls the card issuer, looking for authorization to proceed.

If the issuer approves, the merchant gets an authorization code, creating a record of the override.

But that code isn't special.

"It does not actually matter what code the merchant types into the terminal," the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey stated publicly in February after a similar case there. "Any combination of digits will override the denial."

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#2 wrack

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 00:08

Talk about security!



#3 Secular Humanist

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 00:15

wasn't so brilliant if caught. If you got away with it sure.



#4 perochan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 00:17

pretty smart. he should have stopped at 41 times lol.



#5 Pam14160

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 00:47

Another stupid criminal for "Jay Leno's Stupid Criminal list." . . . :shifty:



#6 Dot Matrix

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 00:56

Ahhh. Makes me almost miss working retail.... NOT.

 

 

Working at a big name home improvement warehouse, the first thing they always taught us - Never accept a declined card. Ask for another form of payment. The first red flag should have been the $7k price tag. I don't care if you're Bill Gates, no one is going to a brick and mortar store, and buying that much worth of electronics.



#7 Enron

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 00:59

Why not just use Jedi mind tricks?



#8 Denis W.

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:00

Yeah, running up $7K of goods in an Apple store is highly suspect. Even the Mac Pro isn't that much!

 

That does seem like a bad loophole though where the denial codes aren't checked. Guess the onus is on the retailer to refuse it outright if the card is denied.



#9 JJ_

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:37

Damn, so this guy kept spending 7gs per pop.. Surprising that alone didn't trigger alarm bells.

#10 The_Decryptor

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:52

"It does not actually matter what code the merchant types into the terminal," the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey stated publicly in February after a similar case there. "Any combination of digits will override the denial."


Who on earth came up with a system this bad? How did they not think to check with the bank whether the code was correct (Since the system is already talking with the bank to perform the transaction it could verify the code)

#11 +LogicalApex

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:56

Who on earth came up with a system this bad? How did they not think to check with the bank whether the code was correct (Since the system is already talking with the bank to perform the transaction it could verify the code)

There really isn't a solid safety net outside of outright banning overrides from occurring...

 

As if the bank isn't a large national bank... How do you determine that the code is actually from the bank? Take the phone from him? He could have another actor playing the bank on the other side of the line. Call the bank? He could print his own cards with a fake number on the back... Etc...



#12 wrack

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:00

The_Decryptor, on 29 Jul 2014 - 11:52, said:

Who on earth came up with a system this bad? How did they not think to check with the bank whether the code was correct (Since the system is already talking with the bank to perform the transaction it could verify the code)

Also sometimes transactions are denied when the link to the bank cannot be established. In that case, same process need to happen. Call the merchant and get the code and put it on the docket and approve the transaction.



#13 Dot Matrix

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:25

I feel like there's a "Genius" Bar joke waiting to be made in here somewhere...



#14 Brian M.

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:29

Rule number one for retail is never accept a manual override. Over here, if it's not chip-and-pin, walk away and ask for another method of payment.

#15 Yazoo

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:32

how does this work? The merchant is calling the bank for a code not the fraudster, is the merchant in on the scam?