‘Cash-out’ scam costs Batavia Walmart nearly $3K

Police: ‘This is an active and on-going investigation’

BATAVIA – The Walmart store at 801 N. Randall Road, Batavia, was duped out of nearly $3,000 of electronics in a “cash-out” scam on Dec. 26, according to police reports released after a Freedom of Information Act request.

Watch Commander of Investigations Eric Blowers explained in an email that a cash-out scheme works when a suspect tenders a credit card to the cashier to pay for a purchase, then says that the credit card requires a two-step verification in order to complete the transaction.

“The suspect convinces the cashier to type ‘Cash’ into the register,” Blowers’ email stated. “When ‘Cash’ is typed into the register, the register believes the transaction is being paid for in cash and cancels the credit card transaction. The register prints a cash receipt at that time. No money is actually ever provided for the merchandise because the credit card transaction was canceled. This is an active and on-going investigation.”

The electronic items that were part of the $2,827.96 cash-out scam were Sony headphones, a JBL Extreme 2 speaker, Nintendo Switch Lite, Bose Soundlink Revolve speaker, Beats Headphones, SSD Playstation hard drive, and a PS5 controller, according to the police report.

The two suspects were Black men, one wearing black jogging pants with a white stripe and a gray long-sleeved top, black baseball cap and a COVID-19 mask; the other wore all black pants, a dark long-sleeved top, a reddish colored mask and white and black striped shoes, the report stated.

They came to the store around 6 p.m. on the day after Christmas, collected the various electronics items, but went to the electronics department register separately, the report stated.

The first suspect had four items that totaled $1,045. He told the cashier that his credit card needed a two step verification process, requiring the cashier to manually type “cash” into the register to verify his card, the report stated.

After the cashier typed in cash as requested, the register drawer opened and a cash out receipt was printed, the report stated.

“No money was exchanged in the transaction and the items were not paid for,” the report stated. “The offender took the receipt and exited the store through the grocery exit.”

The second suspect brought eight items valued at $1,782.96 to the electronics register immediately after. He told the cashier the same thing, that his credit card needed two-step verification, the report stated.

As with the first suspect, the cashier typed in cash, the register drawer opened and a cash out receipt was printed, the report stated.

Also as with the first suspect, no money was exchanged and the items were not paid for. The suspect took the receipt and also left through the grocery exit, the report stated.

“When the cashier types in cash after swiping a credit card, the system believes it is cashing out and prints a cash out receipt that appears to be a purchase receipt,” the report stated. “This process does not charge the credit card as the system believes the customer is paying cash.”

The cashier told police that “it was strange that two (customers) both needed a ‘two-step verification,’” the report stated.

Walmart provided police with video surveillance of the transactions.