A restaurant owner in Brampton was scammed out of $4,600 after some thieves switched her point-of-sale terminal and stole money by issuing refunds to themselves. The restaurant owner is at a bind because the payment company she uses thinks she is responsible.
A Dine and Dash Ploy Turned More Sinister
Thieves set up restaurant owner Sabena Coulter and she’s now out of $4,600. In November 2018, 3 male diners dined and left at Sabena Coulter’s restaurant after eating expensive meals. They came back after a few days to settle their bill at Fanzorelli. The Italian restaurant’s owner was relieved; however, it looks like that the thieves only used that opportunity to take a closer look at Fanzorelli’s point-of-service terminal.
In December last year, the trio came back to the restaurant to take Coulter’s point-of-service terminal and drop off a look-alike. The scammers then quickly used the stolen terminal to steal money at Coulter’s expense. They’ve manipulated the terminal to get a series of refunds channeling money to themselves from Coulter’s merchant account.
In a matter of hours, the trio of scammers stole over $4,600 using 11 transactions and 5 different cards. The restaurant owner shared that the stolen amount is equivalent to a week of wages for her 17 part-time and full-time staff plus some other overhead like food. That is a lot of money lost for someone in the very competitive food industry.
Coulter added that she works really hard 7 days a week and has worked her way up from being a server in the restaurant prior to buying it from the previous owner.
Investigations are Going On
Peel Police is currently investigating after the restaurant owner contacted Peel Regional Police to let them know what happened. Coulter spoke as well with the multi-national company that handles her point-of-sale transactions, Global Payments. Global Payments proceeded to quiz Coulter whether her terminals are password-protected or not. She replied that she’s the only person with the code and was sure that she did everything within her means to protect her account. Global Payments is holding Coulter responsible for the loss.
Global Payment’s written statement says that they appreciate Coulter’s action going public about what happened and that they believe it is important to raise awareness. They also said that they’re investigating on their end and will take extra steps to prevent the same incidence happening to their other customers. As for now, they are working with law enforcement officials to help address the case.
Coulter was encouraged by a senior police detective to tell Global News about what happened after seeing her post on social media. Toronto Police reported a similar incident at a Scarborough restaurant in December but the thief disappeared with the point-of-sales device.
Coulter believes that Global Payments should take responsibility regarding what happened as she has no further control on her device to defend herself. She recently took steps to make her terminals a lot more difficult to steal.
Scams and fraud are nothing new in the restaurant business. Restaurant theft is quite common too. This is why it is important to take extra care in making sure that you are protected. If you need help checking possible weaknesses, our Private Investigation Services can help you identify your weak spots and set protective measures. Contact us to know more.