The scam had been spotted in May, in Cannes, during the film festival. It is now the entire Mediterranean rim that is concerned, reports France 3 Occitanie. In bars and restaurants, scammers manage to replace an establishment’s electronic payment terminal (POS) with a device that belongs to them. Result: They intercept the bill amount.

How do scammers operate? They show up at the restaurant they targeted. Taking advantage of a moment of inattention from the staff, they manage to interchange the establishment’s payment terminal with an identical model belonging to them. Except that it is connected to an account abroad. Each payment made feeds this bank account. The restaurateur’s recipe is sealed.

This scam can take days to be detected. “It can take up to 10 days, because some only check their cash register once a week. The crooks never take back the swapped terminals and do not return the substituted ones. Once the professional notices the scam and wants to file a complaint, the account on which the money was paid is already closed and the thugs have vanished. It’s Arsène Lupin, it’s super elaborate!”, confides to our colleagues Brice Sannac, the president of the Union of Trades and Hospitality Industries (UMIH 66).

The manager knows the case of two restaurateurs from the Pyrénées-Orientales who were victims of this scam. Last May, in Cannes, during the international film festival, about ten bars and restaurants were victims of this scam, as indicated by France 3 Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. And always the same consequences. The fraud is discovered too late. In Cannes, the damage amounted to tens of thousands of euros.

The problem is that this scam is difficult to detect, however Brice Sannac gives his advice to bar and restaurant owners. They have to check the remote collection statements daily since the name of the bank is written on it with the name and Siret number of their establishment. It confirms the recommendations of the Pyrénées-Orientales gendarmerie consisting in personalizing the TPE with a sticker or any other distinctive sign. So servers can always make sure they have the right device in hand.