Pizza Order Scam
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has discovered a pizza order scam. How the scam works is local consumers place orders through an online app (i.e. Pizza Mania) or through a website (i.e. www.pizzalove.me.pn). The app or website gives instructions to its users for them to refer the app to their friends in order to receive deals and discounts from a local Pizza establishment (i.e. Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s). The consumer places their order through the app which the order is then placed, by the app, using the Pizza establishments online order feature. The consumer then receives their order from the establishment. What has been discovered is the operators of the app are placing the online orders using stolen credit card numbers that were obtained, more than likely, through data breaches. The operators of the app are receiving the payment from the consumer and retaining the funds for themselves, whereas the account holder of the stolen credit card number absorbs the cost of the food, unknowing at the time to the establishment or the consumer. The operators of the app may also try to increase the sense of urgency to entice consumers by posting that a certain deal or discount is “available only for a limited time” or for the consumer to “act now.”
It should be noted that this type of scam is not only designed for pizza establishments but there are apps and websites available that advertise electronics and various other items of value at discounted rates. Consumers should verify with a specific store, restaurant, or establishment that they are in fact participating in the deal prior to using a third party website or app. Another red flag is that one of the scam websites involved in a recent case “www.pizzalove.me.pn” contained the domain name “me.pn” which is based out of Pitcairn Islands, located in the South Pacific Ocean. It’s important to know that anytime a website is operating a business, that contains an out of country domain name, should be used with caution and is indicative of an international scam.
If a citizen ever suspects a business or service may be involved in a scam the Sheriff’s Office is always available to investigate any business, online or local, for validation.