TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – Mark Salmon wants to focus on making pizzas, not catching crooks, but a band of thieves using stolen credit cards has forced him to do just that.
“I have to play detective,” said Salmon, general manager of a Papa John’s in Tarpon Springs. “Pizza man and detective.”
Thieves have used stolen credit cards to order hundreds of dollars in pizza and wings for months.
When this happens, a consumer’s money is typically refunded by their bank. In this case, guess who gets stuck on the hook?
Sometimes, credit card companies have agreements in place that protect businesses, but that’s not always the case when the fraud is committed online.
The Papa John’s can only play defense. They watch for unusually large online orders and they put a note on a register that warns of a similar phone numbers used in the scam. But, the numbers change, the credit cards change and the delivery addresses change.
The consumer complaints are the same.
“People calling me up in the morning, ‘Hey, I got this charge on my credit card last night,'” Salmon said. “‘I didn’t order this pizza.'”
These thieves hit Papa John’s hard in the fall, then this month, they started up again. Salmon says police were slow to act, so the Papa John’s owner decided to take matters into his own hands.
He decided to deliver two empty pizza boxes when the last order came in and he confronted a young man who eventually admitted to taking part in the scam. He even talked the man into signing a note, promising to pay back the money. He has not made one payment.
Tarpon Spring police tell 8 On Your Side they are investigating this incident.
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