A Florida man has been charged with federal wire fraud for racking up $309,000 in illegal credit card transactions, with many of them carried out at Apple Stores.
Sharron L. Parrish Jr. visited different Apple Stores — including those in Brandon, Boca Raton, Millennia and Wellington Green — and spent up to $7,400 in each one; adding up to a total of 42 purchases.
According to the Secret Service, Parrish’s strategy involved showing up at these brick-and-mortar stores and handing over a credit card, whose account had been closed. When the Apple Store employee would swipe the card and have it declined, Parrish would pretend to phone his bank, and come back with a six-digit reference number from a supposed customer service agent.
He would then give this fake reference number to the Apple Store employee, and instruct them to “force post” the transaction using it, since this will push the payment through regardless of the number used, which is essentially random.
This practice is against Apple Store policy for two reasons. Firstly one version of Apple’s retail employee training manual instructs that the employee — not the customer — must be the one to call up a credit card processor if there is a problem with a transaction. Secondly, if a credit card is declined Apple Store employees are told to return the card in question to the customer and “politely and discreetly request another form of payment.”
Since the Apple Store employees did not abide by these rules, and chose to manually override the payment rejection, Apple will suffer the loss, rather than the bank, credit card company, or other financial institution.
Secret Service agents ended up tracing the card to Parrish, and then confirmed it was him who was using them by obtaining surveillance footage from the Apple Stores.