After a woman caught a Burger King employee snapping a photo of her credit card, she confronted him. His manager quickly got involved, as did the police. Now, the incident is serving as a warning to anyone with a credit card.
When Trisha Ryan decided to grab a quick bite to eat on her lunch break at the Burger King in Hamilton, Ohio, she never expected to catch a criminal. However, that’s exactly what happened. She quickly discovered customers have much more to worry about in a fast-food drive-thru than whether or not the employees get our order right. And, it’s all because she paid a little extra attention while in the drive-thru.
After ordering her food, Trisha pulled up to the window to pay. She handed the cashier her debit card and didn’t think much of it until she noticed the man behind the counter hesitate, according to Inside Edition. That’s when Trisha decided to pay more attention and began watching the employee more closely. It’s a good thing she did, too.
“I saw him grab his phone line it up, hover it over something on the counter, took a picture, then he did some more handwork and then he took another picture and gave me my receipt,” Trisha recalled, and she wasn’t about to let him get away with it. “I said, ‘Hey, I just saw you take a picture of my card.’ He’s like, ‘No, I didn’t,’ and he continued to argue with me.”
Trisha Ryan got the manager, who took the employee’s phone. After one look at the device, she called the police. “I have an employee that’s been taking pictures of people’s credit cards. I took his phone from him because a customer saw him do it, and he has more than one credit card on here,” the general manager of the restaurant told the 911 dispatcher.
Indeed, there were other credit card photos on the employee’s phone, which made Trisha Ryan glad she caught him. But, sadly, this guy isn’t the only criminal behind a fast-food counter. What’s more, some have more sophisticated means of conning customers. According to police, some thieves have even used “skimmers” to swipe unsuspecting customers’ credit card information from fast-food drive-thrus.
As seen in the video below, one such employee was caught on camera swiping a customer’s card twice. Once to pay for the meal. The other time to steal their information. Even more troubling, skimmers can be used without the criminal even being present. Some have been found at gas station pumps. Luckily, there are a few things we can do to protect ourselves.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself from becoming the target of this kind of theft is to pay with cash or a gift card. If you choose to use a card, use a credit card, not a debit card since debit cards don’t offer the same fraud protection credit cards do, according to Credit Card Insider. With debit cards, your personal money is on the line while it’s the card issuer’s money that’s at risk with credit cards.
If you’re a card user, check your statements regularly for unauthorized activity. If reported promptly, most credit card companies will issue a refund for the charges and eat the loss. This is another reason to use credit rather than debit cards. It’s harder to get refunds in cases of debit card fraud and the associated delays could result in missed bills and added stress. But, of course, prevention of theft is always best, so pay attention. The woman in the video below did, and she caught and confronted a Starbucks barista who not only stole her information but also used her card.
When paying with a card, put down your phone and watch the cashier closely, especially in drive-thrus. If you see anything suspicious, notify both the manager and the authorities and cancel your card, which is exactly what Trisha Ryan did. To protect yourself at the pump, look for gas stations that have padlocks on their pumps since most pump locks open with a universal key. If one isn’t present, use the pump nearest the attendant since skimmers prefer to target pumps that are obscured from view. Although it’s more time consuming, it’s also safer to pay for your gas inside.
This particular employee was fired and Hamilton Police are looking into the phone, but as of now, the former Burger King employee is not facing any charges, according to Local 12. It’s likely that he’s not yet been charged because the act of taking a photo alone isn’t a crime. It only becomes criminal when actual fraud is committed, so until it is determined whether the cards were used or the information was sold, this guy is free to apply for another fast-food job. In other words, unscrupulous employees like this one could be anywhere, so beware.