Cash Scams Series Part 2: Employee Training; an investment worth making

Nick van Noorden TellermateIn this 2 part cash scams series, we are focusing on reducing the risk in your cash management process.  In Part 1, we focused on process.  This week, we are going to take a deep dive into one of the root causes for failure, employee training.

Let’s start with the basics.  A lot of people view employee training as an expense, when really they should be viewing it as an investment.  Research shows that investing in employee development is vital and when employers do, it pays big returns.  The numbers don’t lie.

Investing in employee training:

  • Increases engagement levels by almost 70%
  • Improves efficiencies by 61%
  • Reduces turnover by 30%

When it costs nearly $3,500 to replace an $8 an hour employee, it is pretty clear that great feedback, coaching and training is an investment that is worth making.  So let’s peel back a layer, and answer the question, “What does this mean for me in the wild world of cash management?”

Ever heard of the change scam?  Of course you have, but your newly hired summer cashier probably hasn’t.  It’s a quick training exercise:

WHAT: A consumer uses confusing tactics to get the cashier to give more change than they are supposed to get.

WARNING SIGNS: A consumer that gives one bill to pay then changes their mind in the middle of the transaction.

HOW TO PREVENT IT: Encourage employees to immediately put large bills directly into the register or smart safe and discourage accepting a new bill for payment in the middle of a transaction.

Counterfeit detection starts at the register.  Once a fake bill is accepted from the consumer, it’s too late, the money is yours.  How does the saying go…counterfeit detectors in the cash office are like asking for a refund on a half-eaten hamburger…ok, you got me, I made that up, but you get the point!

WHAT: A consumer uses counterfeit bills to pay.

WARNING SIGNS: There are five key areas that will differ between a fake bill and a real one:  Portrait, Seals, Border, Serial Numbers and Paper.

  1. Portrait: The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out, but a fake is generally lifeless and flat.
  2. Federal Reserve and Treasury Seal: The genuine seal has sharp, clear, distinct points vs. a fake which is uneven, dull or broken points.
  3. Border: Genuine bills have crisp, clear and unbroken lines.  Those on a counterfeit may be blurred and indistinct. Starting to see a trend?
  4. Serial Numbers: Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced.  They are printed in the same color as the seal and very consistent.  A fake may differ in color and shape and may not align.
  5. Paper: Genuine paper has tiny red and blue fibers and a fake usually has red and blue dots or lines.  If you look close enough, you will see it printed on top and not embedded in the paper.

HOW TO PREVENT IT: Check all bills $10 and higher.  This a process that needs to start at the POS, not the back office.  Again, once you accept a fake bill, it’s yours and it’s too late.

Return fraud is rampant in today’s retail environment.  It’s estimated that the industry will lose an estimated $10.9 billion to return fraud this year. 

WHAT: Return fraud is the act of defrauding a retail store via the return process.  There are several ways in which this crime is committed, by both consumers and employees.  For example, return fraud can occur when stolen merchandise or stolen/fake receipts are used to make a fabricated return.

WARNING SIGNS: A consumer returning an item that doesn’t want to show identification is a red flag.  If an item looks used or worn, it probably is.  Last but certainly not least, a receipt that doesn’t look exactly like the ones you usually issue.

HOW TO PREVENT IT:  Train your employees to check for identification for all returns.  One form of return fraud is called “wardrobing” where the returning party will use the item (i.e. a seasonal or special occasion item) and then return it after use.  Training tip-check all returned items for use.  Use specific identifiers on receipts that can be cross referenced with inventory to ensure that a receipt wasn’t falsified or modified (i.e. digital e-receipt abuse).

Employees and consumers are getting craftier and craftier every day!  Not only is establishing scenario based training a great addition to your process, but it is a great step in fighting that ever increasing shrinkage problem.

With all of this talk of trickery, we decided to take a deep dive into the world of fraud revealing creative cash scams, how they are actually pulled off and what you can do about it.  Check out our latest whitepaper, “Cover your Assets”  where we uncover some of the most deceptive cash scams by employees and customers alike as well as outline more warning signs and tips on how to prevent cash loss with a great cash handling process.

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