Credit Cards Blog

Finance Blogs » Credit Cards » Waitress scams bad tippers

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

Want to win a trip to L.A., a pass to BlogWorld and $500 of spending money? Enter Bankrate’s sweeps on our Facebook page. Invite your friends to enter to earn more chances to win. Good luck!

«
»
Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
770 Comments
former server
October 05, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Ian you have it backwards. I gave superior service so that I would get good tips. I didn't wait to see the tip before I gave that service!! But the real bottome line is, if restaurant management wanted their customers to receive quality service they would eliminate tips and pay servers a living wage. I am sick of looking at empty water glasses, having food arrive at the table and having to tell the server who ordered what and looking at dirty dishes long after I have finished eating. When I receive quality service I give quality tips. Otherwise...

Al
October 05, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I carry a valid credit card for emergencies. I almost always use cash for my purchases. No point in making the job of IRS trackers easier. You wish to track my spending you'll have to be a lot closer.

Ian
October 05, 2011 at 6:07 pm

restaurants could not afford to operate at reasonable prices if they didn't implement the tipping system, and those waiters and waitresses work hard as hell. so either you leave a tip (which is 20% of the bill) or you would be paying significantly more for the food. remember......tip doesn't just go to the waiter or waitress...standard practice is that waiter or waitress has to give 1% of total SALES to the bus boys and bartenders. not 1% of their tips, 1% of their sales! so if you are not tipping appropriately that waiter or waitress has t to "tip-out" the bartenders and bus boys regardless. if you don't tip, or tip really bad....sometimes they can break even or even in theory not make any money at all. would you wanna be rushing around serving people, who for the most part are extremely rude and nasty for 5-12 hours a day to make next to nothing? i doubt it. give it up people 20% aint that much, that 10 extra bucks on 50 dollar bill.....trust me, if you tip 20%, and you go to a place often, the servers know, and the service will be significantly better. why would a server provide excellent service for someone they know tips horribly, its waste of their time.

felice
October 05, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Tiping is stupid for the server and for the customer; only the management and owner benefit in a system where tiping is expected.

mrn8nau
October 05, 2011 at 5:31 pm

If you pay only in cash, your bank cannot recover those funds if you need to file a dispute on a charge for any reason. Or, God Forbid, you get mugged on your way to the restaurant, and the mugger takes all of your cash...it's gone. If all you had stolen in this scenario was your debit or credit card, most banks cover fraudulent activity when promptly reported to them.
Do not use cash for everything, and do not carry large amounts of cash, or you'll be out that cash if worse comes to worse.

Please do not listen to everyone on these forums when it comes to advice like this. They are not all educated in the laws and procedures or simply do not think things completely through.

I work in claims at a very large bank, and I have heard from customers way too many times that they paid with cash and now it's gone. If you pay with your card, you're covered if something bad happens. If someone skims your card, yeah, it's a pain to get it all taken care of, but at least it's taken care of.

tom
October 05, 2011 at 3:31 pm

A Tip is an extorsion device created by management so that they do not have to pay a living wage.. Tips means "to insure prompt service".. you should not have to bribe someone to receive what you are already paying for..

john
October 05, 2011 at 3:25 pm

@sweet molasses: It's not "server bashing". I work in the service industry as well. If I go the extra mile for my customers, they notice. They will sing my praises. I never suggested that it's OK to give poor tip for good service. In fact, I give Angela the benefit of the doubt, and said that she's likely good at her job. That she should take her frustrations, and do something better for herself. And again, all of us in the service sector can't continue to blame the customers. If it weren't for the customers, both good tippers and bad tippers, we'd be out of a job! Imagine if all of Angela's customers read that comment, and decided to stay away from her place of employment.

I'm ashamed that you decided to read my comments yet failed to comprehend!

john
October 05, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Angela,

I am not suggesting that servers don't work hard; or that you don't deserve to earn a living. But, when you say "PLEASE DO NOT BE RUDE AND INTERRUPT ME BY CALLING MY NAME OR WAVING YOUR HANDS AT ME WHEN I AM CLEARLY BUSY WITH SOMEONE ELSE", I have to wonder, what caused the customer to "interrupt"? Could it be because no one has bothered to wait on them? In general, most customers will be patient, and only go "waving hands" and looking for you when something was missed or perhaps they want to change something in their order, or maybe they are in a hurry and need to go!

All I am saying is, as a Server, you have to expect that. If your management is not willing to staff the location based on how busy or slow you are, then that's something you need to bring to the attention of your management. Blaming the customer, or suggesting that they shouldn't come out because they can't 'afford' the experience of dining out isn't the answer!

sweet molasses
October 05, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Angela, staying positive will always earn you better tips. John, your advice sounds a lot like server bashing. Get a different job? There is no justifying poor tipping for good service. This type of belligerent behavior equates to a form of violence. Punishing hard working strangers with the misfortune of making your frugal acquaintance. Shame on you John.

Michael
October 05, 2011 at 2:46 pm

We live in a society, which is governed by a government which has decided it is their job to create job, control wages, provide a safety net, mandate health care. Inorder to do all these thing they continue to raise taxes, fees, fines, permit cost, etc.

Apparently the majority agrees that the government should be determining minimum wages, I disagree. Sadly being part of the minority I can't do anything about the government controls.

However, there is no Government Mandated Minimum Tip, Therefore I don't tip and I don't go to restaurants the figure a gratuity into the cost of the food. I suggest that if you don't like that you contact you senator or congressperson and DEMAND that a law be in acted to force people to tip their waitperson.

If my Waitperson has an exceptional personality, they are fun and the make a noticeable contribution to the ambiance of the eating experience. In other words, if they are not a nicotine stained Rain Cloud that comes by occasionally to fill my glass. Then they do get a Tip.

I also don't use credit cards, because it is like paying 4-20% more for everything you buy, in interest on the credit balance.

Sort of like the waitperson says hey the meal is $10 and you say, "What? Only $10. NAY NAY here is your $10 dollars and a extra $2 for a tip, and here is a little something extra for my Credit card agency which really did nothing to earn the money besides exist.

USE CASH PEOPLE! Or better still, eat organic, locally grown produce at home. Yeah didn't think either of those where going to work on you people. So Just quit Tipping until the Government Mandates the amount you are required to Tip, it is coming.