RENTON, Wash. — Renton Police are warning businesses and managers about the rising popularity of thefts committed through point-of-sale machines.
On Sunday at around 7:30 p.m., two young Black men, who may have been speaking Somali, entered a business in the 800 block of South Third Street in Renton, where they ordered several food items off the menu.
When it was time to pay, one man said he was unable to use Apple Pay because his phone screen was broken and asked if he could manually enter his card number into the point-of-sale (POS) machine.
The employee agreed but began to worry when the suspect entered what appeared to be several different card numbers into the terminal.
When the worker took the POS machine from the suspect and asked the store manager to come to the counter, both men ran away.
A review of the transactions on the machine showed that the suspect had completed several “manual refund requests” using two credit card numbers for a total of $1,050.
The employee said the suspects were not using Apple Pay because she briefly saw both men’s phone screens, which appeared to list several credit card numbers.
“This scam has been enacted more than once in our city, with the methodology being the same and involving similarly described suspect(s),” Renton Police said in a Facebook post on Monday.
The first suspect is described as a young Black man about 5 feet, 8 inches, to 5 feet, 10 inches tall with a thin build. He was wearing a surgical-style mask, a blue LA Dodgers baseball cap with the foil sticker still attached, a black, long-sleeved T-shirt with a black and white graphic of Kanye West on the front, and distinctive yellow, blue, and white shoes.
The second suspect is described as a young Black man about 5 feet, 8 inches, to 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build. He was wearing a surgical-style mask, a red baseball cap with the foil sticker still attached, a black T-shirt, red sweatpants, and black shoes.
Renton Police are warning businesses against ever letting a customer manually enter card information into a POS device. If a customer cannot pay with a physical card or cash, direct them to an ATM. If it’s believed that the customer is trying to complete an unauthorized transaction through the business’s POS machine, cancel the sale and call 911 to report the attempt.
“If you own or manage a business, or if you know of someone who does, please share this information with them. We believe this type of scam has been proven successful and there may be several groups of people traveling throughout the region targeting businesses this same way,” police said in a Facebook post.
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