Waitress' arrest sparks worry for credit card spenders

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Restaurants and diners are reacting after learning that a waitress in the Grand Strand was charged with forging receipts and allegedly stealing from patrons.

According to J. Reuben Long Detention Center, 33-year-old Shannon Renee Vereen was booked on forgery charges after accusations that she forged the tip amounts on credit card receipts, increasing her pocketed pay.

The Horry County Police report states the Ultimate California Pizza on Lake Arrowhead Road reported the possible forgery on June 14. The restaurant's main office had notified them that credit card receipts had been altered, leading them to find 70 different receipts with totals not matching the originals.

When Ms. Vereen arrived at work that afternoon, police arrived to take her into custody. She denied taking any part in the crime, the report states, and a search of records found she was wanted in North Carolina for other crimes.

The Divine Dining Group owns the Ultimate California Pizza location where Vereen is said to have worked since April 2013. They have not responded to our request for comment on these allegations.

Owners of other Grand Strand restaurants say this is something you don't really hear about that often. Croissants' owner Heidi V. says they retain a copy of each and every receipt to protect themselves from similar fraud, and protect the customer too.

Reporter Will Whitson spoke with hotel and restaurant customers, many who say using plastic is much more convenient for them than the cash. That's why its become the most prevalent way to pay for dining out.

That technology also makes skimming off the top easier for someone trying to make a quick buck, and you may not know you are a target until it's too late.

Vacationer Skip Williams says, "I hope it was correct, I assume it was correct, but since we're staying at a hotel and we're out of town, unless my credit card gets declined while I'm down here, I assume everything is fine, and won't check it until I get back home.

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