Invalid debit cards used to steal $350,000 of Apple devices

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iPad Pro
Crime doesn't pay. Well, in the long-term, at least.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

A Sacramento man has plead guilty to scamming Apple Stores across the United States out of hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of several months.

33-year-old Marcus Israel Butler carried out his scam, involving debit card fraud, in Apple Stores in Sacramento, Modesto, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, North Carolina and Alaska.

His scam involved attempting to buy Apple products, including iPhones and Macs, with an invalid debit card. The total spend per store averaged at around $6,000. When the card payment failed to go through correctly, Butler then gave the staff a number to call, which took them through to a person also involved in the scam. This individual presumably pretended to be a representative of the bank, and gave an authorization code allowing the payment to proceed.

It’s not exactly clear how this was done, but the scam nonetheless worked — and Butler was able to accumulate $350,000 worth of Apple devices over a short space of time. He entered his guilty plea in late December, and will be sentenced at a later date.

A target for criminals

Apple Stores and products have often been the source of attacks from criminals due to the high value of their stock, and the fact that they are easy to resell. While $350,000 is a lot of money, it’s also not the most that criminals have gotten through fraud schemes involving Apple Stores.

Back in 2015, four former Apple Store employees, plus a dental office receptionist, were charged with an Apple-related scam worth $700,000, using ill-gotten Apple gift cards. There have also been plenty of other thefts, typically involving smash-and-grab robberies.

Perhaps the most notable theft of Apple products took place in 2012, however, when $1.5 million worth of iPad minis were from New York’s JFK airport.

Source: KCRA