Scam suspects caught on security video in Downtown Renton. Screenshot from Renton Police Facebook post

Scam suspects caught on security video in Downtown Renton. Screenshot from Renton Police Facebook post

Renton Police warn businesses of point-of-sale scam method

Suspects have gotten access to point-of-sale systems and given themselves refunds.

Renton Police are warning businesses of a scam that has been gaining popularity after multiple establishments have been targeted.

On June 4 at around 7:32 p.m., two young male suspects reportedly entered a business in the 800 block of South 3rd Street in Renton and ordered several food items off the menu. When it came time to pay, one suspect reportedly told the cashier he couldn’t use Apple Pay because his phone screen was broken and asked if he could enter his card number manually into the point-of-sale (POS) machine.

The employee became concerned after reportedly observing the suspect entering what appeared to be several different numbers into the machine. The employee then took the device from the suspect and called the store manager up to the counter, at which point both suspects fled on foot from the location.

After reviewing the POS activity, it was discovered the suspect had conducted several ‘manual refund requests’ on two different credit card numbers, for a total of $1,050.00. The involved employee told police the suspects were not using Apple Pay, because she was able to briefly observe both suspect’s phone screens which appeared to show a listing of several credit card numbers.

Police say this scam has been enacted more than once in Renton, with the methodology being the same and involving similarly described suspects.

Police have advised that at no point should a business allow a customer to manually enter credit card information into their POS device. Due to the high risk of this request possibly being used to commit an unauthorized transaction, it’s advised to direct customers, who are unable to pay via a physical card or cash, to a nearby ATM so they can obtain cash for their purchase.

Police say if there are indicators suggesting the subject may be attempting to commit fraud by utilizing the business’s POS device, business employees should cancel the sale and call 911 immediately to report.

“If you own or manage a business, or if you know of someone who does, please share this information with them,” Renton Police said via a Facebook post. “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.”

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