*I guess its clear that some people simply adore their Apple products. The iconic retailer has taken over the tech marketplace with iPhones, Mac computers, and anything else a tech-savvy person could possibly want. Plus, once you buy their products, all you have to do, if you run into trouble with it, is walk right in to any Apply store and a one of their techies will be happy to assist you.
But one customer the company is sorry they ever laid eyes on is 24-year-old Sharron Laverne Parrish Jr. The man loves Apple products so much that he allegedly scammed the company – not once, but 42 times, according to Tampa Bay Times’ Patty Ryan.
Bryan Halliwell and investigators associated with Apple and Chase Bank, filed a Secret Service criminal complaint that says Parrish allegedly tricked Apple Store employees in 16 states starting around December 2012 into accepting fake authorization codes to purchase $309,768 worth of Apple goods.
Parrish, who lives in River Grove in east Tampa, Florida, is also accused of playing out his scam at several stores in his home state, including Orlando, Boca Raton, Wellington, and the Brandon location twice.
The authorization code scam is breathtakingly simple.
Here’s how it works: Parrish allegedly visited Apple Stores and tried to buy products with four different debit cards, which were all closed by his respective financial institutions. When his debit card was inevitably declined by the Apple Store, he would protest and offer to call his bank — except, he wasn’t really calling his bank.
According to the complaint, he offers the Apple Store employees a fake authorization code with a certain number of digits, which is normally provided by credit card issuers to create a record of the credit or debit override. (Business Insider, like the Tampa Bay Times, refuses to publish the number of digits “so as not to inspire anyone.”)
But that’s the problem with this system: as long as the number of digits is correct, the override code itself doesn’t matter.
“It does not actually matter what code the merchant types into the terminal,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey said publicly after a similar case occurred there in February. “Any combination of digits will override the denial.”
The action is said to technically be a form of wire fraud for which merchants can be liable for charges if they override a credit or debit card denial using this method. Citing court records, The Tampa Bay Times said Parrish initially forced a transaction at the Apple Store in Brandon, in which he used a fake authorization code to make a purchase of $7,753.22.
“Because Apple employees overrode the initial declination against the instructions of Chase Bank, Apple — not the financial institution — suffered the loss as a result of this fraudulent transaction,” Halliwell wrote in the criminal complaint.
Parrish is said to have attempted this scam on a car rental company and a Seattle hotel. He is currently being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail.
No comments from Tampa’s Secret Service field office. Apple was contacted to learn if they plan to make changes to the current policies with regards to overriding credit or debit card denials. No response yet.
More to come…