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Cannes restaurants lose thousands of euros to card machine scam

Fraudsters quickly swap the restaurant card machine for their own, meaning that future customer payments go straight into their account

Cannes restaurants have been hit by a card machine scam Pic: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Several restaurants in Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes) have lost tens of thousands of euros after falling victim to an unusual card machine scam operated by an organised gang. 

The supposed customers arrive at the restaurant, sit down, eat their meal, and ask to pay by card. 

When the card machine is brought over, one member of the gang distracts the waiter momentarily so that another, who is carrying a bag, can quickly swap the device for their own. 

After that, every bill paid using that machine goes straight into the bank accounts of the scammers, rather than the restaurant. 

Some seven restaurants have already experienced this with several lodging formal complaints

Alain Lahouti, president of the Syndicat des restaurateurs de Cannes, has called for vigilance in the town’s hospitality sector, urging staff not to let customers hold card machines if possible.

“It is possible that the scammers put the same asset label – the stickers which show that  a machine belongs to a particular company – on the replacement card machine to prevent the establishment from noticing the change,” he told Nice Matin. 

However, this sticker may look slightly strange or have a spelling mistake on it, so that is something to watch out for.

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