Scammer uses gift card-based credit cards to rip off Metro Detroit bars

Transactions not immediately reviewed

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – A scammer hitting Metro Detroit bars uses credit card-based gift cards to rip off the businesses.

The man recently hit Sajo's in Clinton Township, and he's been frequenting other Macomb County bars. A few months ago, Sajo's owner Jim Sage noticed the man was becoming a frequent customer at the bar, but something didn't seem right.

Sage said he questioned the bartender, who told him the man would come in and leave a $100 tip. The man would tell the bartender a sob story then offer to leave a large tip on a card if he could split part of the tip amount with the bartender.

So, he would write down a large tip. The bartender would take out the tip in cash and keep part of it, while the man pocketed the rest. However, the card the man used doesn't have enough funds on it to pay the large tip. Because the gift card transactions aren't immediately reviewed, the man is able to get back money that wasn't even on the card.

"He's been hitting the tricounty area pretty heavily," said Lt. Eric Reincke, of the Clinton Township Police Department.

Business owners who believe they may have been hit by the scammer are asked to call their city's police department.

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.