Thieves used Apple's own devices to steal millions in gift cards

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Thieves first stole Apple Store employees' sales devices, then sent themselves Apple gift cards, in a scheme said to cost Apple $1.5 million over two years.

Apple Southlake, Texas, had $50,000 worth of gift cards stolen
Apple Southlake, Texas, had $50,000 worth of gift cards stolen


Most Apple Gift Card scams involve users being ripped off over fake ones, but in the case of Jason Tout-Puissant and Syed Ali, the cards were genuine -- but stolen. The two are currently facing sentencing in a case concerning $1.5 million of stolen gift cards.

According to Business Insider, Tout-Puissant stole multiple "Isaac" handheld devices from Apple Store employees. These are the iPhone-based devices that allow any retail staff to take payments, instead of requiring buyers to queue at checkouts.

Once in possession of an Issac, Tout-Puissant reportedly sat outside the Apple Store, so that he remained on its staff Wi-Fi network. He then issued thousands of dollars of Apple Gift Cards at a time, and texted them to Ali.

Tout-Puissant is said to have done this at many Apple Stores across the US, and then always sent them to Ali, who would be waiting in a different state. Ali would then go into a local Apple Store and buy Apple goods using the gift cards.

The pair, and at least one other unnamed co-conspirator, repeatedly performed this act between 2015 and 2017. It included a total of $50,000 that was taken in 26 digital gift cards, from the Apple Southlake Town Square store in Texas.

Court filings do not describe how Tout-Puissant was so consistently able to steal the Apple Store devices, but he and Ali were charged in 2019.

Ali, who is reportedly ill, agreed to aid prosecutors in their case against Tout-Puissant. The latter insisted on his innocence until May 2021, when he pleaded guilty to the Apple Southlake thefts.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,525member
    Many thieves are very smart and clever... until they get caught. I’ve often wondered why they turn to crime when they apparently have the talent to actually contribute to society in a positive way. Human nature I guess.
    mwhitemuthuk_vanalingamMisterKitFidonet127watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 6
    lkrupp said:
    Many thieves are very smart and clever... until they get caught. I’ve often wondered why they turn to crime when they apparently have the talent to actually contribute to society in a positive way. Human nature I guess.
    I knew a guy, who is now deceased, who was a life long criminal. Before I knew him he was a drug smuggler and had done a decent turn in federal prison. After that he stayed away from the drug trade for a while but he was always scheming. 

    When I met him he owned a business that sold vacuum cleaners “door-to-door” and he was moderately successful. Clearly that wasn’t enough for him. 

    One time he bought an A/C unit at The Home Depot. He carried it out to his car and realized nobody stopped him to check his receipt. After loading it he immediately walked back into the store, the receipt in his pocket, picked up another unit and walked out with his receipt visible. Nobody stopped him. After that “success” he tried the same basic thing but with TVs at K-Mart (I think). That time he got busted. 

    He was always doing that sort of thing. I can’t say for sure but I think, for him at least, it was trying to see how much he could get away with, always pushing the limit. 

    Similarly, he also cheated on his wife quite a bit. Sometimes he was caught, others not. She finally had enough and left him a few years before he had a heart attack while playing racquetball with his son.

    it’s just the way some people are, I guess. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
    Don’t those Isaac POS devices have a screen lock that can be turned on when not in use??  If not, they should.  It’s embarrassing to those stores that an outsider can get their hands on them and use them without anybody in the store catching this.  
  • Reply 4 of 6
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,591member
    M68000 said:
    Don’t those Isaac POS devices have a screen lock that can be turned on when not in use??  If not, they should.  It’s embarrassing to those stores that an outsider can get their hands on them and use them without anybody in the store catching this.  
    Not only a screen lock, but they should beep when taken out of the store.  Furthermore, there should be checks on Apple’s system that would prevent or at least warn when multiple gift cards worth more than X are sent to the same person or paid for in cash.  This is security 101. 
  • Reply 5 of 6
    It sounds like an inside job. 
    Isaacs are locked immediately. The criminals must have gotten a username and access to the password to get into the devices. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Weird story. They were still using a payment method. You can’t issue ‘free’ credits or gift cards. And you’d need codes to get onto a device. And employees would know if they lost a device. Then it’d be turned off. There’s a missing piece here.
    watto_cobra
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