Pizza porch pirate highlights risk of giving card info by phone

Sometimes a pizza pie just sounds good for dinner! But one local delivery order went wrong very quickly.

Posted: Mar. 18, 2019 5:58 PM
Updated: Mar. 18, 2019 5:58 PM

DANA, Ind. (WTHI) - Sometimes a pizza pie just sounds good for dinner! But one local delivery order went wrong very quickly.

Our story starts at Charlie's Pizza in Dana, Indiana, on a Friday night where dozens of orders were being filled in-store, and for delivery.

Pizza customer Nichole Poole share, “I wasn't feeling good the other night and my husband decided to go ahead and order Charlie's Pizza."

Charlies Co-Owner Guy Winters explains, "They had about $75 worth of food, that's quite a bit of food, and we delivered it right on time."

The pizza delivery story starts pretty normally. The driver went up to the porch, a man said he's decided to pay with cash instead of a debit card. He paid the driver, and the driver went off thinking nothing of it.

Winters recalls, "Then about 20 minutes later Mrs. Poole called and said, "Where's my order?" I was like, 'What, we just delivered that.' And she said, 'No, we haven't got any food.'"

So, Winters started questioning his delivery driver for more information.

Winters says, "He described the person that was at the door, about 30-years-old, mustache, nicely dressed, and accepted the order you know, and how it went down. And she {Poole} said she never knew anybody who looked like that."

Charlie's ended up re-making Poole's order, and Winters delivered it himself escorted by authorities, fearing a prank or scam. To he and Nichole Poole's shock, somebody was standing on her porch waiting for her order and left with it.

As frustrating as a pirated pizza order is, the situation begs an even bigger question: "How would someone know Poole's order and where it was being delivered to?" Winters has a shocking theory.

He explains, "I worked on electronics back in the 70's and I remember that a Bearcat police scanner has a high/low and you can scan anywhere practically, and in the VHF and UHF bands that these handset phones you can get at Wal-Mart, these are not protected because you can get on here, and get on this scanner and it will go through the frequencies and zero in on this phone and somebody can be listening."

Winters says he fears if a scammer could pick up on an order amount and delivery location, they could also be storing payment information.

Winters says, "Somebody could be listening, gathering debit information, and they could compile a whole list of them. I wouldn’t leave this go. I thought enough of this that we needed to warn the people about how loosely they use their debit numbers over phones."

Poole says the pizza situation was annoying, but feeling secure in her community is the bigger issue.

She shares, "I'm not always just so worried about the scamming issue, I'm also worried about safety of maybe families in this area especially mine. So, it's scary." Poole has already ordered a security system for her home.

If you have any information that could help solve this pizza porch pirate crime, you need to give that to authorities. You can do so by calling the Parke County Sheriff's Office at 765-569-5416, or the Vermillion County Sheriff's Office at 765-832-7785.

In the meantime, Winters says he’s working on a different way to have customers proceed with debit card transactions. At this point, he is not taking complete debit information over the phone.

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