UPC Barcode Scam

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According to a police report in Provo, Utah, two men were allegedly purchasing items from a Home Depot store with a fraudulent credit card. When their car was searched by law enforcement officers, they found UPC codes on sheets ready to apply, along with paper to print more, maps of large cities, one of Denver with all the Lowe’s stores marked, and multiple ID and credit cards. According to the police report, Home Depot store security reported that one of the men may have run up as much as $120k in fraud at Home Depot alone.

FromĀ DesertNews:

The men allegedly printed UPC codes reflecting lower prices and attached them to products in a store. They would buy the product at the lower price, then remove the fake code and return the product to the store for credit, according to a police report filed in 4th District Court. The report states the men would then use the store credit to purchase other items. They made almost $10,000 from Utah County stores, including a Provo Home Depot.

Home Depot employees were unable to comment on specifics of the case, and corporate officials left comments about the continuing investigation in the hands of law enforcement.


We get calls all the time with people trying to buy the “UPC Database”. They don’t own a store or warehouse, just think it would be a neat thing to have.

Seems we’re going back to the old time “price-switching” scheme, now using UPC’s to represent the price. Perceptually, you could imagine that the store clerks would be able to see the differences between described product from the database and the actual product….in the worst case “40 foot ladder” vs. “4 Inch Latex Paint Brush”. Not part of the check-out process anymore, I guess.

RFID anyone?