Florida man allegedly scammed Apple Stores out of $309,768 in products

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Photo: Jürgen Ulbrich, Apfellike

Most Apple Store thieves we’ve seen prefer to go with the classic smash and grab technique, but according to federal court charges, one fraudster in Florida broke his Apple heist into 42 separate scams by using a simple but major flaw in Apple’s credit card processing system to plunder $309,768 worth of products from Apple’s retail locations.

A Secret Service criminal complaint has charged Sharron Laverene Parrish Jr. from Tampa, Florida of tricking Apple staff in 16 states to accept a meaningless credit card override code that allowed him to bypass declined sales on his credit and debit cards.

To pull of his scam, Parrish would rack up bills of over $7,000 in new products, and then when the sale was declined he would pretend to call his bank to make sure he had funds and then gave sales clerks a fake code to punch in, authorizing a forced sale.

Apparently the merchant authorization code isn’t all that special and any combination of digits will override the denial. Making matter worse for for Apple is the fact that it’s liable for all of the fraudulent sales, as it was Apple employees who entered the override code against the instructions of Chase Bank.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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