Cover your Assets – Preventing Employee Theft

Nick van Noorden TellermateA few months ago I was with a customer who asked me, “How does the T-iXprotect against employee theft?” While I was compelled to start into the typical elevator pitch, it was thought provoking enough to spur more than the typical ‘process process process’ regurgitation.  For those new to the world of cash (WELCOME!), the high risk transactions are cash refunds, no sales, discounts/coupons, $0 dollar transactions and voided sales. So, I set off on a journey to research and learn more about typical employee theft scams. I am a changed (and now very skeptical) man. Let me share with you what we unveiled, but first, if you want to skip the overview and get down to the nitty gritty (which I recommend), feel free to download our newest whitepaper “Cover your Assets,” which outlines the who, what, where, when and how of scams, warning signs and what you can do about it!

The ‘Sweetheart’ Scam

Explore how a Tellermate cash counter can prevent employee theft

Employees and customers alike are capable of reaching into your back pocket.  The sweetheart scam is a cashier and customer duet with people who know each other with proper prep. It can result in cash, stock theft and/or return fraud.

For instance, the customer grabs a cheap and expensive item from the shelves and takes it to the cashier. The cashier only scans the cheap item but passes the expensive item through too. Two for the price of one!

For cash theft it’s pretty much a hand in the till job. The customer brings a cheap item to the till. The cashier scans the item and when the till opens, the cashier hands the accomplice a high value note.

Imaginary refunds for friends and family would also come under the ‘sweethearting’ umbrella. The customer comes to the till with an item and the cashier treats the transaction as though the customer is returning it and gives them the cash value of the item from the till.

The ‘Till Building’ Scam (aka Building the Bank)

This one is a very deliberate, planned crime by the cashier. And after reading this you may have even witnessed it but thought nothing of it.

Let’s set the scene. A Fast Food restaurant. A customer orders 2 burgers at £3 each. The cashier charges for both burgers but only enters one into the P.O.S.

The till’s up by £3. Do this ten times a shift and that’s a hefty little sum to pocket at the end of the shift.

How do they remember how much to take out so that the till still appears balanced? The visual clues lie alongside the till.

They could make a mental note, use a tally chart with a pen and a scrap of till roll or tally the overage in their trusty iPhone. Today, most retailers are trained to watch for items stacked next to the till (i.e. pennies – each penny represents £3), but it still happens.

The ‘Change’ Scam

It’s not just employee theft to keep an eye on. Customers are just as guilty and creative.  Where there is a will, there is a way.

Here’s how this one works.

A customer will come into the store and pick up something which doesn’t cost a lot. When they get to the till their goal is to seriously confuse the cashier. They’ll pay with a high value note. While the cashier’s counting the change they will hand the cashier another note and ask for that to be broken down into change at the same time. They could then ask if they can pay with another note. The cashier gets completely flustered and can end up giving the trickster more than what they gave in the first place. And they walk out with the item they came to the checkout with.

The ‘No Sale’ Scam

The ‘No Sale’ button is pretty much an open invitation for employee theft. They are not so much a scam but give cashiers far too much control over the till they are working at. Cash is totally exposed.

If more than one person uses the same till during the day and the numbers are down, someone may be dipping their hand in there but it would be almost impossible to point the finger.

 So, these are a few scams, but what are the signs to look out for?

  • Are any employees living beyond their means?
  • Do your cash drawers frequently have unexplainable discrepancies?
  • Is there a pattern of ‘no sales’ at certain tills?
  • Do you have employees who take very little annual leave? Do numbers seem to balance when they are away?

Peak your interest?  These are just a few of the scams that we unveil in our newest Ebook ‘Cover your Assets.

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