Omnivore - Restaurant employees increase their tips but get arrested

Oh, this is sweet. WXIA-TV reported yesterday that two employees of Hot Stix Stir Fry Kitchen in Lindbergh City Center — I've eaten there! — have been arrested for allegedly using customers' credit card numbers to, um, improve the quality of their life:

Two employees of the restaurant were allegedly writing down the numbers of customer credit cards and with a friend, charging thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and meals.

"They're really using the credit card numbers at restaurants where they know somebody, and putting down an excessive tip — like there was $75 for one person, $100 dollars for another," said (Atlanta Police Detective A.) Thompson. "I mean, who gets that kind of tip?"

Police said they were tipped off when the suspects went to a downtown hotel and tried to use the credit card information. The hotel was suspicious and called the credit card company, and then police. They then held the suspects until officers arrived.

I am actually surprised that this doesn't happen far more often than it does. I've twice had this kind of experience. In one case, someone tried to buy a thousand bucks' worth of camera equipment on Amazon.com, which actually became suspicious and didn't authorize the charge. But someone else used my card number to pull a pretty ingenious trick on ebay, involving much more money, and it took weeks to get the problem resolved. Be aware that every time you use a card in a restaurant, there's not a thing in the world to stop an employee from recording the number and authorization code.

That means, of course, that you should never use a card that doesn't provide protection if you're ripped off. Read the fine print of your credit card or debit card agreement.

Oh, Hot Stix has fired the two accused crooks, according to WXIA.

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