Scammers Used Devious Tactic to Steal $1.5 Million Worth of Apple Products in Secret
Two scammers stole $1.5 million from Apple over a period of three years using the company's own technology, Business Insider reports.
One of the scammers stole $50,000 worth of digital Apple gift cards in Texas, while on the same day, his partner used the gift cards to buy thousands of dollars worth of Apple products in New York. The haul in Southlake, Texas, alone totaled $50,000 using 26 digital gift cards.
The scam was enabled through a handheld employee-only device called an "Isaac." Retail employees carry Isaacs around in the store, allowing them to check stock and sell products to customers wherever they are.
One of the scammers simply walked into Apple Stores across the country and waited for opportune moments to steal an Isaac device. They then sat outside the same store, still connected to its Wi-Fi network, and used the logged-in employee account on the Isaac to acquire thousands of dollars worth of digital gift cards.
The digital gift card redemption codes were then loaded into the Wallet app to generate QR codes, which were screenshotted and sent via iMessage to the other conspirator, who was then able to walk into other Apple Stores and buy a range of high-value Apple devices. This process was then repeated across the country, allowing the pair to defraud Apple out of more than $1.5 million in total, according to prosecutors.
The scheme took place between 2015 and 2017 and was carefully planned, prosecutors said in court filings. The pair were finally caught on CCTV stealing Isaac devices and were eventually tracked down using their cellphone via GPS. They have now pleaded guilty to wire fraud and are awaiting sentencing.
It is unclear if Apple has made any changes to its internal systems and access to employee accounts on Isaacs to prevent the same scam from being attempted again.