Man Scores 100% Discount On Electronics By Making Fake Receipts At Home

Here’s a story that should let you check off both the “receipt-checking” and “I make my own at home” boxes on your Consumerist bingo card. A man in New Mexico was recently arrested for allegedly forging receipts to steal goods from Sam’s Club and other stores in his area.

Loss-prevention staff at the Sam’s Club in Farmington, NM, had been told to keep their eyes peeled for a particular 38-year-old man who had been deemed a possible suspect in the recent disappearance of over $25,000 in electronics from the store.

So last Thursday, when authorities say the man tried to walk out the door with around $1,500 of Sam’s Club goods, he was detained by the loss-prevention folks.

Meanwhile, a search warrant was executed at his home, where police say they found several bogus homemade receipts for other stores. Police also found several new TVs, blank receipts and duplication equipment. Oh, and little bit of meth for good measure.

“We are in the process of investigating documents we found in his residence as well as his computer and duplication equipment,” a Farmington police officer said. “We anticipate that there will be other charges.”

Here’s a lesson for all those creative shoplifters out there: You still end up in the same jail cell as the less-ingenious pilferers.

Man caught trying to steal items from Sam’s Club using homemade receipts []


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I make my own… WTF?

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      But all he got was the specially made crap for Sam’s/Walmart.
      All of it is made cheaper & will break down sooner than if he had bought the better quality from someplace else.

  2. unimus says:

    Something to tell the receipt checkers next time they get onto your nerves.

  3. Thassodar says:

    Oh God the obligatory Chris receipt story, THANKS Consumerist!


    In related news there was a woman who would do this for DVDs at a Target I worked at until they smarted up and told us to look out for her. She got several new release DVDs for $3 – $4.

    • coren says:

      Why 3 or 4 bucks? Wouldn’t she be getting them for free?

      • Thassodar says:

        Well ANYONE would flag a new release that rings up for free. If it rings up for some paltry amount it’s alot easier to slip through the system I would think (new release specials, etc.). I’d certainly call loss prevention over if something that came out yesterday ringing up $0.00.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Wow! Several new DVDs for $3-$4, eh? I’m really impressed.

    • zack says:

      I think you’re mistaken. This gentleman was making receipts at home. Probably bought a cheap receipt printer from eBay.

      Then he’d buy something at [Big Box Store]. He’d take the receipt home, and duplicate it on his computer. Except he’d replace Toothbrush – 0.99, with Plasma Screen 2000.00.

      He’d then walk into the store with his fake receipt, grab what ever merchandise that matched the receipt off the shelf, then when the receipt checker ask for the receipt, he’d some him the fake, and procede to walk out the door..

      This happened with I worked at Best Buy, ‘cept it was an employee.

  4. RipCanO'Flarp. says:

    Always stop while your ahead comes to mind- obviously I don’t condone his actions but he might have gotten away with it if he wouldn’t have been greedy. I blame it on the meth.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Crooks might actually get away with these kinds of shenanigans if they simply did it sparingly to supplement their normal lives, instead of using it as their primary means of finances.

    • YOXIM says:

      He would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids! And that fucking mumbling dog of theirs.

  5. TheReij says:

    Once upon a time, whilst working for Big Blue, we lost almost $10,000 worth of various items in the store because a crafty thief had pulled the sticker-type UPC codes off of $0.99 spiral notebooks and slapped them on aforementioned items.

    /golfclap for effort

    • Hoss says:

      Crafty thief, or dumb cashier?

      • Erich says:

        C) All The Above

      • RomeoCharlie says:

        The cashier doesn’t enter into it… with a fake receipt, you just bypass the cashiers altogether and walk to the exit. You just have to be crafty enough to do it so no one notices you walked past the checkout.

        • Hoss says:

          So why switch the bar code if your not paying?

          • Pax says:

            He didn’t touch the bar code.

            He forged the RECEIPT.

            • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

              Try to keep up with the actual THREAD you’re replying to, which started with an anecdote about somebody SWITCHING BAR CODES.

            • hoi-polloi says:

              There are stories being conflated here. The original story is about a guy printing his own receipts, getting high-ticket items, and simply leaving the store with them. He’s not interacting with a cashier or tampering with the product UPCs at all. His fraudulent receipt is enough to get him out of the store without spending a dime.

              Then The Reij mentioned some brazen thief pulling off really low-value UPC labels off of notebooks at sticking them on higher-priced items. The thief would spend 99¢ on higher-priced items. In most stores these days the price and item name pops up on the display with every scan, making this particularly risky unless you’re substituting nearly identical items with much different prices. I knew people who used to do that in the days of old pricing labels, when there was less risk of getting caught.

    • Tim says:

      It’s pretty easy nowadays, even without sticker UPCs.

      – Scan a cheap UPC with your phone (but don’t be too obvious … maybe a small TV that you’ll use for a big TV)
      – Google “barcode generator.”
      – Put your UPC number into that.
      – Print, apply, lather, rinse, repeat.

    • econobiker says:

      He was both lazy and smart at the same time. Then this goes back to the cashiers don’t check what they scan subject.

    • LandruBek says:

      IBM had a retail store??

    • Chmeeee says:

      When I used to work at a certain discount clothing store, they would always add stickers over the barcodes on hangtags when items were marked down on clearance. The sticker would have a new barcode and a lower price. There were always crafty folks who thought they could take a cheap $10 sticker off of a pair of cheap sneakers or something and put it on something expensive like a men’s sports coat.

      What they didn’t know was that the number above the barcode could easily be matched to the original tag, and that we were incentivized with free gift cards to catch these fools. I used to catch at least one a week, at which point they would just pretend they didn’t realize.

    • krom says:

      Kinda think though your cashiers were partly to blame there too. You ought to look and see that the 0.99 spiral notebook you just scanned — that is 12 inches square and 6 inches thick and weighs four pounds — is actually a spiral notebook.

      Given that barcode generator software is a dime a dozen these days, what’s stopping people? Even, say, getting the 20oz size for the price of the 12oz size, or something. Security cameras?

  6. ITDEFX says:

    Watch him ECB all these companies from jail saying he did it just to prove how stupid their employees are to be fooled by him!

  7. Alvis says:

    Reason 3,851 not to bother with receipt-checkers:

    Without checking each receipt against a computer, a receipt-checker can not authenticate your receipt. The current system is equivalent to a teacher grading your test with an answer key you provide yourself.

    • skwigger says:

      It works for a large majority, with little cost/effort. Creating an electronic system would cost a lot more than the $10/hr. they pay the receipt checker now.

    • Tim says:

      Without checking each receipt against a computer …

      Please, don’t give them any ideas.

    • jebarringer says:

      They can, however, note any discrepancies in prices (like a new tv ringing up for $5) or items (receipt showing a 20″ tv, yet you walk out with a 40″ tv). And come on, how many people are capable of making a legitimate “answer key” on their own?

      • VA_White says:

        1) The guy walked into the store with a receipt already printed in his pocket.
        2) He collects up all the merchandise on the receipt
        3) He walks past the registers without paying
        4) The receipt checker at the store looks in his cart and matches the items to those on the fake receipt which he brought with him from home
        5)The guy walks out with a cart full of free merchandise

        At no time did anyone scan the items in his cart. He got away with it because the receipt checkers don’t verify you went through the line and paid; they only verify that the shit you’re leaving with is printed on the receipt. So if you fake your own receipt before you head out the door to Sam’s Club, you can take whatever is on your receipt without paying.

    • nbs2 says:

      We’re talking about receipt checkers, not the TSA. Oh, wait…

      • JonBoy470 says:

        This kid in MA got into trouble a few years back. He created an online “Northwest Airlines boarding pass generator” that generated passes indistinguishable from a legit boarding pass. The purpose was to demonstrate how someone on the “no-fly” list could get on-board a plane, or a non-ticketed person into the secure part of the terminal. Turned out the TSA screeners have no access to airline passenger manifests, thus they couldn’t authenticate the boarding passes beyond visual inspection. Read more here:

        This guy was simply highlighting a similar security hole ;-)

    • Griking says:

      Except they caught him

  8. Hotscot says:

    I was actually thinking of handing over a an old receipt when asked, just to confuse matters…or see if they notice.

    • bluline says:

      Not a bad idea.

    • arualflower says:

      MY 9th grade algebra teacher would check your homework for doneness every day… and we would all just pull out some random paper with math problems on it and she would nod and continue on. I feel bad for taking advantage of that nice old lady :(

    • mileena says:

      I re-used all of my book reports submitted in 6th grade English class and turned them in for seventh grade the next year. Saved me a lot of work.

  9. scoosdad says:

    Wow, who would think that the receipt checkers, with all their scribbles and punching holes in the receipts, really aren’t checking the receipts after all!

    And I wonder now if they charged me too much at the register for that #10 can of baked beans.

    /sarcasm off

  10. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Sam’s Club is a stupid place to try that scam. First they have your contact information and photo and second they keep a record of all your purchases. Even without a receipt they know what you bought and when.

    • coren says:

      Yep. Not that I condone that sort of thing, but if you were gonna do it you should not do it anywhere where they tie your contact info to a purchase (doing it at best buy you can claim you didn’t swipe your rewards card). You should also only hit a location once or twice every six months – they knew him and he had 25 grand from that one store. That’s overkill (and come on, even free, 25 grand of electronics from Sam’s Club?). The key is flying under the radar, and he had the right idea with receipts, but then he got greedy.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        Right. His problem was that he went to the same well too many times. He might have continued indefinitely if he expanded his operating area and was smart enough to keep his operation outside of his house. There are tons of big box stores out there. Pick your target stores and go online. Virtually every chain has store finders. Plan out a rough schedule so you’re hitting multiple locations on different trips, and make sure you don’t go back to a location for at least several months. It sounds like he got comfortable with his routine and/or lazy.

        • Sian says:

          Meth. Why he got caught. This wasn’t some guy looking to work the retail system, he was a meth-head needing money for his next fix, who probably heard about a good scam on the internets. A smart criminal doesn’t: hit the same place twice, pull the same scam too many times, or shit where he lives.

        • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

          Greed will do you in. The Edmonton light rail/subway noticed that their busy downtown collection boxes were not making as much revenue as their lower ridership outlying suburban stations. A subway employee was using a magnetic strip to fish coins out of the collection boxes. He was taking so much that his credit union, who thought he was a coin laundry tycoon, decided to remodel.

          • Red Cat Linux says:

            I was about to respond with “Who makes magnetic currency these days?” and I decided to try a magnet on a pile of snack machine rejects on my desk.

            US coinage, nope.
            East Caribbean coins, nope.
            Canada… Bingo!

            I’m surprised people don’t go coin slot fishing more often there.

  11. Tim says:

    Wait, so receipt checking DOESN’T prevent all thefts?

  12. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    “a little bit o’meth makes it all go smoooth.

  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    “Here’s a story that should let you check off both the “receipt-checking” and “I make my own at home” boxes on your Consumerist bingo card. “

    So they DO read our comments!!

  14. Beeker26 says:

    Gotta give him kudos for originality. But, like most thieves, his greed ultimately did him in.

    • LandruBek says:

      Not so sure about “most.” Rather, “like most of the thieves we ever hear about, he was caught.”

  15. awesome anna says:

    I want a bingo card!

  16. Chmeeee says:

    I actually tested the receipt checker at my Costco on the last visit, and she failed. I had two different receipts, and the largest item in the cart (only 6 total items, so not a huge pile like is typical in a Costco cart) was on the receipt I didn’t hand her. She looked at the receipt, looked at the cart, and checked it off. No observation of the fact that the item in the front of the cart in the 18″x12″x12″ box was not on the receipt.

    • HazyCloud says:

      Just did the same thing to Best Buy. I was stopped on my out with 2 different pickup orders and the guy looked at the receipt for my DVD, not my 79.99 game. Good work, receipt checkers.

  17. LCE167 says:

    I must be the only person in the country who could care less if they want to check my receipt. Well, maybe that’s not quite right. I can’t say I actually personally know anyone who cares.

  18. backinpgh says:

    My mom told me they’d do something similar to this at Walmart when she worked there…they’d go in the store, actually buy something like a TV or DVD player, walk back in, pick up the same exact item, and walk back out. Since they HAVE a receipt for just a few minutes ago, even if they check the receipt it looks legit. Then they’ll either keep both of them, or bring one of them back and get the cash for it.

  19. MarcZero says:

    I knew some people that did some years ago. They did buy an old receipt printer from eBay, because it hooks up with a standard windows driver like a normal printer. Once they got the UPCs from the store, they printed them up and walked in and walked out. They weren’t even Sam’s Club members. They would get a random card to flash at the front door and then sneak past the registers and walk out the front.

    Sam’s Club is easy to run this scam on because you can get past the registers without being noticed. Costco is setup where you have to walk through a register to get out so this scam doesn’t work. (After hearing them tell me about this scam, I always seem to keep an eye out for things like this now.) It’s interesting how something trivial like store layout can prevent shoplifting. Needless to say that I don’t associate with those people anymore. Once they realized it was easy, they got greedy (like this guy apparently did) and I knew someone would catch on eventually.

    • mileena says:

      there are ways around this…

      just go straight to the customer service desk and ask a question or for an employment application. then just walk out.

      or go past the cashier and just tell her you have a receipt already since you already bought the item.

  20. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Wow, this is better than the K-Put “Price-Is-Right” Stamp Gun!

    “Save thousands of dollars! Feed your entire family for just pennies a day! Shop for your friends–it’s fun and easy! K-Put Price-Is-Rite Stamp Gun, Department 8, Shopping Mall, New Jersey. Void where prohibited by law.”

  21. Mcshonky says:

    never, ever do the crime at your own home.
    with storage space so cheap, have a friend rent a space for you in their name and store your shiznit there.

    my god, the poor quality of criminal minds these days.

  22. MaytagRepairman says:

    I was waiting for somebody to pull this scam to see if it could be done.

  23. davidsco says:

    The biggest problem with “receipt checking” is that it’s a FACT that most Retail Theft is done by the employees. Perhaps if they paid them more than Min. wage, trained them a little, they MIGHT not be so prone to steal. Ooops, WHAT AM I SAYING!!!??? -sorry folks, confused retail morons with intelligent humans there for a second, Won’t happen again

  24. discounteggroll says:

    wouldn’t he be doing more time as this was a premeditated crime, and thus could be considered a felony rather than a misdemeanor (the fact that it was $25k may automatically classify it as a felony, with the meth charge being a cherry on top)?

  25. wkm001 says:

    I was at Sam’s the other day. One of the associates was scanning all my items while I was in line. It makes the line go so much faster. When she went to scan my roasted chicken she turned it upside down. While in the process of turning it right side up she leaked chicken juice all over my paper plates. She was flustered and I set the paper plates to the side, no longer wanting to purchase them. I was rang up, I paid, and the receipt checker looked at my receipt. I had no idea until I got home, I did not pay for the two most expensive items in my cart. The receipt said 11 items and I had 13 in the cart. The receipt checker must have been mailing it in.

  26. krom says:

    Gee, I had a thermal printer on my Tandy PC-8 pocket computer when I was 12. Think of what I could do with it these days.

    I’m assuming his receipts weren’t on thermal paper — and therefore didn’t actually darken when the receipt-check-nazis swipe their highlighters on them. Not that they *really* check.

  27. edcrowle says:

    I make my own contempt for receipt stories (and this tired old meme) at home.

  28. framitz says:

    Well then, doesn’t this show that the deterrent value of receipt checking is zero?

    It was store security that detected the theft, not the receipt checker.

  29. Press1forDialTone says:

    Better quality fake receipts along with smarter use of them (don’t be stupid)
    is the next big fallout from the recession/depression. If the rich destroy the
    economy they deserve what they get.

  30. wild7s says:

    how exactly did he get around the watermarked paper? A greeter should be able to tell the difference between a real and fake easily.