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Waitress scams bad tippers

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

Three people have been arrested as part of an investigation into allegations of credit card skimming at a local restaurant in New Port Richey, Fla.

According to a press statement, the Pasco County sheriff's office has charged a waitress at a Mugs 'N Jugs with criminal use of personal identification information, and charged several of the waitress' known associates with scheming to defraud, possession of a card scanning device and fraudulent use of credit cards.

The waitress allegedly used a hand-sized electronic skimming device to scan customers' credit cards without their knowledge or consent. She then, according to the allegations, gave the information to an associate, who allegedly obtained additional personal financial information and account numbers and manufactured fake credit cards. Other associates then allegedly used the fake cards to make purchases at local retailers. The goods were later sold for cash, according to local news reports.

The alleged scam appears to have been relatively prosaic and petty, at least in the colloquial sense, as so far only nine people have reported losses totaling just $5,753. That's not to suggest that hundred- or thousand-dollar losses are insignificant to the victims, but rather that major financial crimes can involve millions of dollars or more.

Still, the small scam is noteworthy for one peculiar aspect: According to news reports, the waitress allegedly targeted customers who made her work too hard at the restaurant or who, in her opinion, didn't tip generously enough. That's a cautionary tale for restaurant diners and a good reminder to practice safe credit card habits:

  • Try to use credit and debit cards only at reputable merchants.
  • If in doubt, pay cash.
  • Watch out for red flags, such as a credit card that's taken out of your sight for a too-long period of time.
  • Monitor your credit card statement for fraudulent transactions.
  • Report any unauthorized use of a credit card to the card issuer as soon as possible.

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770 Comments
Not OJ
October 05, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Always pay cash. Duh

angela
October 05, 2011 at 1:45 pm

sorry john, im irritable right now. i have to leave my office job in about an hour and i am really fired up right now. servers go through a lot to make a living. i am an excellent server who has been doing it for 10 years. its hard to be a single mother with two jobs trying to make ends meet. sometimes i wish the customers would live a day in my shoes then they would realize what it is like.

john
October 05, 2011 at 1:36 pm

@Angela,

Tips are earned. I understand you are a human being. However, you have a job. One that you chose, if you don't like the tips you are receiving, change the variables. I am sure you're good at your job. So consider taking your talents to another restaurant with better customers. Saying that if your customers can't afford the tip, they shouldn't be eating out isn't the answer. If you can't afford what they're paying you, get a different job!

Delene
October 05, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I don't believe I've ever seen so many comments to one article. And they quickly got off the subject of the wrong-doing of the server into tips and then into wages. Clearly, something here needs to be fixed.

Pretend you have just gotten out of a bad relationship with someone who financially supported you. You have to find a job, QUICK! You have no office skills. (For those who stated, "Just go get an office job--" There aren't that many file clerk jobs any more. Or receptionists. And those jobs require skills, too!)

So you see that sign, "Need wait person." You get the job you so desperately need. Then you learn about the public. People want something for nothing,including being waited on hand and foot. Think working in an office pays well? Try working in a city, county or state job. People don't want to pay taxes; they want services to appear like magic out of mid air. Equate taxes with tips, and you get the idea.

I suspect there are more people in jobs they don't like than those in jobs they like, because that path you are following isn't always the one that works. And as the wait person learns about the job, s/he becomes skilled!

As we go through life, it is best to not make things harder on others than they already are. So, other than the tip, bother to say please and thank you. Not being waited on? I go find someone and ask them to find my server. Really bad service? PLEASE tell the manager!

It isn't my place to tell you how much to tip, if at all. You must rely on your own conscience,

Sam
October 05, 2011 at 12:16 pm

With the prices raising every week...who tips anymore???

Bernie
October 05, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I do not in any way condone what this woman and her cronies did. But I am appalled at the vicious responses to her as a waitress, not a thief.
John -- Are you proud of being a racist? Please keep it out of public discourse. It's ugly.
Dex -- Serving IS a real job. However, many people work in restaurants because they have limited choices. Do you read the papers or watch the news? Unemployment is rampant.
Momo -- You've obviously never worked in a restaurant and shouldn't be setting the standard for tipping. Most servers are some of the hardest working people out there. They don't make minimum wage, so their tips make up the deficit. 10% is acceptable only for cheapskates. 20% is the current standard for good service. If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to eat at that restaurant. Most servers with attitude have been worn down by people who expect something for nothing. If you have a problem with him/her, politely tell them why and help them improve their service. Bad tipping doesn't tell them anything except that you are yet another tightwad.
Sheryl -- Generally, 15-20% unless service is awful. They work just as hard as at table-service restaurants, but they work more tables with less staff. Their tips are also shared with the runners who replenish the food trays.
EVERYONE-Let's practice civility, even when commenting anonymously.

Gary Kilbride
October 05, 2011 at 9:00 am

"the waitress allegedly targeted customers who made her work too hard at the restaurant or who, in her opinion, didn't tip generously enough."

How does the waitress know wnat the customer is going to tip when she runs the credit card and brings the card

Dex
October 05, 2011 at 8:27 am

Here's a tip, if you don't like it get a real job.

And... why reward a thief?

Momo
October 05, 2011 at 12:46 am

10% is plenty, especially if your getting your own silverware and plates. If she's personable and helpful, 15% is appropriate. I've left 50 cents when I got no refills on water, or an attitude. Chinese buffets are notorious for their attitude problem. It's as they're doing you a favor bringing water to your table. I've left a quarter for someone who just did nothing, and gave an attitude. If they received 10% from every diner, they would be doing well. A lot of patrons leave nothing at a buffet.

Sheryl
October 04, 2011 at 8:54 pm

What is considered an appropriate tip to leave when eating out at a buffet or cafeteria where the staff clears the table when you leave? Is it the same as a sit-down restaurant?