Chicago Apple Stores targeted in traveling fraud scheme

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2016
Six people from New York were arrested and charged last week for their part in an "organized criminal enterprise" that allegedly sought to defraud a Chicago area Apple Store using stolen identities and credit cards.


Deer Park Apple Store.


According to the Lake County sheriff's department, the New Yorkers, ranging in age from 18 to 41, would fly in to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, rent a car and travel to a nearby Apple Store with intent to attempt a fraudulent purchase, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The suspects were arrested and charged last week after authorities, acting on a tip regarding an impending criminal operation, increased patrols and surveillance at a local Apple Store in Deer Park. More than $10,000 worth of stolen Apple products were recovered as part of law enforcement efforts.

In a statement, the sheriff's office said each of the six people allegedly attempted to commit fraud at the same Deer Park Apple Store over a period of five days. On Wednesday, 21-year-old Nicole E. Cannon tried to make a purchase using stolen identification and credit card information at the location, while Gisselle Diaz, 41, did the same on Friday. On Sunday, Corbett Ortiz, 26, Quinton Ortiz, 18, Melinda Aquino, 21, and Frank Aulet, 20, all allegedly attempted to make fraudulent purchases at the store.

All six face multiple felony charges including burglary, possession of a counterfeit credit card, use of a counterfeit credit card, unlawful use of a fraudulent ID to commit theft, identity theft and forgery.

Thanks to their concentration of high-ticket items, Apple Stores have long been the target of criminals looking to make a quick buck. In June, for example, thieves posing as Apple Store employees stole more than $16,000 worth of iPhones from Apple's SoHo outlet in New York. The imposter gambit has been a popular one as of late. Earlier this year, Apple's Upper West Side store was hit twice in as many months by thieves who made off with dozens of iPhones worth tens of thousand of dollars.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,906member
    Throw the book at them, then ship them off to work in a Samsung factory in Korea.
    sockrolidlkrupplolliverbadmonkjony0
  • Reply 2 of 10
    I imagine it wasn't cash. 

    Was it:
    - swiping a cloned card? (Most likely)
    - or via NFC Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Android/Google Wallet? (Possible)
    - dipping a stolen legit card? (Least likely)
    edited July 2016
  • Reply 3 of 10
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,572moderator
    I really wish someone reporting these stories would do the work to determine whether a stolen Apple iDevice could ever be activated.  One would think Apple would know which exact devices, right down to their unique identifiers, were stolen, and would simply refuse to activate them, or activate them and immediately begin tracking them and call in law enforcement to retrieve them.  Would be an interesting article to learn about this process, if it exists.
    chialolliverbadmonkzoetmbSpamSandwichdysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 10
    I really wish someone reporting these stories would do the work to determine whether a stolen Apple iDevice could ever be activated.  One would think Apple would know which exact devices, right down to their unique identifiers, were stolen, and would simply refuse to activate them, or activate them and immediately begin tracking them and call in law enforcement to retrieve them.  Would be an interesting article to learn about this process, if it exists.
    They can be quickly sold by the thieves, then the unsuspected buyer would find out later they were stolen goods.  Meanwhile, the thieves made their money.
  • Reply 5 of 10

    They can be quickly sold by the thieves, then the unsuspected buyer would find out later they were stolen goods.  Meanwhile, the thieves made their money.


    This.

    There are a great many people who will look at a "bargain" price for an iPhone (or TV, or car, or jewelry, or other high ticket item) and not even consider the possible source.

  • Reply 6 of 10
    Creeps
  • Reply 7 of 10
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,329member
    They must be cloned, not stolen credit cards because otherwise the cards would not validate when the sale went through.    But I also agree with those who feel that Apple must know the serial numbers of those units and should refuse to activate or activate and contact law enforcement. 

    And why fly to Chicago from NYC?   Why absorb that expense?   If they had cloned credit cards, they would have worked in any Apple store.  That implies to me that they had inside help.   

    And while this was discussed earlier, I really don't understand how anyone "disguised" as an employee can walk out of an Apple store with a bunch of stock, especially considering the fuss made over Apple checking employees' bags on employees' time.   How do they even get into the stock rooms?    And that's aside from the issue that I believe most if not all of the NYC stores do use a security tag system, so those units should have rang the alarm.    
    edited July 2016 dysamoria
  • Reply 8 of 10
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 836member
    If these were cloned cards and the purchases were made with chip or an NFC method then Apple would not be hit for the charges. If they were swiped and Apple offered chip validation then again Apple would be not responsible for the payment. I'm pretty sure that the Apple store won't allow a swipe unless the bank/CC company requires it for that transaction. If the theft were successful then the financial company with the least security would have eaten this one.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,713member
    zoetmb said:

     I really don't understand how anyone "disguised" as an employee can walk out of an Apple store with a bunch of stock, 
    When you go to a large Apple Store, there are sometimes nearly a hundred employees on duty. The employees don't even know everyone who works there and they don't have ID badges hanging around their neck anymore. An imposter could walk in the back and grab a bunch of stuff and even put it on a cart. In malls and big cities often times an Apple employee will take a cart full of product out to the curb so the customer can get their car out of the parking garage and drive by to pick up their purchases. I've done that a few times in LA. If the imposter looks like an employee, the security guard at the entrance may just give them a pass. However, this case is different. They were using credit cards to buy the products. Almost all credit cards in the US have chips now, which are difficult to clone, but there are a few people still carrying swipe only cards which are easily cloned.

    I have used the Apple Store app to buy small items and then just walk out the door, no bag, no receipt, no questions asked. Makes me a bit nervous though, if perhaps someone might think I was stealing something.
    edited July 2016 dysamoria
  • Reply 10 of 10
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,818member
    I've only seen one card with a chip so far. Not mine either. 
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