If you plan to go on a scamming spree, you probably shouldn’t use your actual email address when completing the transactions. That was ultimately the undoing for a Georgia man who federal authorities say duped more than 200 Macy’s stores in 31 states into issuing fraudulent refunds — and all without having to drive to the mall.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI, the man – who was recently arrested on fraud charges – allegedly conducted a phone scam in which he called 217 Macy’s department stores posing as the head of the company’s customer service department.
“Once the caller is connected with the Executive in Charge (EIC), he identifies himself as Mark or Mike Miller, Director of Customer Service in New York,” the complaint states. “To legitimize his identity as Director of Customer Service, the caller mentions the names of actual Macy’s management personnel.”
The man then allegedly claims to be following up on a complaint from a customer who is “very unhappy” after attempting to exchange a dress at Macy’s.
He then directed the EIC to refund the cost of the merchandise back onto the customer’s credit card, also giving them directions to send confirmation of the refund to his personal email address.
In all, the man was able to trick customer service managers and associates in 31 states into processing a total of 304 refunds for products that were never actually purchased, according to the complaint.
Investigators eventually found over 100 receipts for refunded transactions that contained the same two email addresses. They were able to trace this information back to one man in Georgia.
“The person was giving email addresses that were trackable, he had a Facebook page that was trackable, he gave photographs and even used his phone number … not the smartest criminal,” said Brent Brown, who runs a corporate security firm, tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “They [Macy’s] probably need to look at some internal checks and balances.”