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Haine alerts retailers of scam involving video-recording cashiers

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine is alerting retailers of reports of a new scam in which suspected thieves used their phones to make video recordings of cashiers, then used the recordings to gain access to registers.

In a recent case, the State’s Attorney’s Office charged two women with using the technique to load gift cards with thousands of dollars in credit.

“A loss like this can be devastating to a business,” Haine said. “Our retail establishments, their owners and their employees are important to the vitality of our communities, and I don’t want any of them to fall victim to scammers. Shoplifters and scammers always seem to be innovating, so I want our businesses to be aware of the latest tactics.”

According to the investigation:

Two women from Flint, Mich., entered a retail store in Highland on Jan. 4 and asked an associate for a price-check on an item. The women used a phone to record the associate entering his log-in information at a cash register. The women went to a register in a different section of the store and, using the log-in information, loaded gift cards with $4,500 in credit. The women then went to another section of the store and used the cards to make $4,095 in purchases.

The next day, a retailer reported similar activity in progress at a store in Collinsville, resulting in the arrest of the two women.

Haine’s office has charged both women with two counts of identity theft and two counts of burglary, all felonies. He commended the work of Highland Police and Collinsville Police, who are working with other agencies to determine if additional retailers are victims.

This charge and the statements made herein are based upon probable cause. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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