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Fraud Fridays: The Transfer Web

Posted by Avero Team | November 03, 2016

Fraud Fridays: The Transfer Web

We recently explained how to spot a transfer scam in a restaurant. An even more sophisticated and complicated version of this scam is the “Transfer Web” or “Wagon Wheel” scam, just one of several “watches” that Avero Loss Prevention automatically flags for potentially fraudulent behavior in a restaurant point of sale system. Do you know if this scam is happening in your restaurant?

  • How it works: A table of four orders multiple appetizers, entrees, and non-alcoholic beverages (which are server-controlled items). The guests pay with cash and the server splits that table’s check into two with food on one and beverage on the other. The server closes the food check to cash, and waits for the perfect moment to reuse the beverages on the other check. The server can then transfer the beverages to the next table’s check that orders them, pocketing the items’ value at least once. That server can keep shuffling the items from cash check to cash check, pocketing more and more cash with each transfer. At the end of their shift, they can just close the final transfer to the last cash or non-cash check that ordered them, never needing manager approval for a promotion or void.
  • Why it works: Because the non-alcoholic beverages are server-controlled items, meaning they don’t need a ticket from the kitchen or bar or a manager, the server can transfer them from check to check to check and pocket the cash without anyone noticing. As the leading provider of restaurant theft prevention software, Avero has seen just two coffees from one check eventually transferred onto 10 different checks, allowing one server to steal $57 worth of cash server-controlled items – imagine if this were multiplied by several servers over several weeks, months, or even years? That’s a lot of cash ending up in servers’ pockets instead of the restaurant’s bottom line.

  • How to uncover it: Watch out for employees who have low sales of server-controlled items over a significant period, like two months, and/or who have a habit of transferring items. Make sure to look at that server vs. other servers who work within the same meal period and revenue center for a true apples-to-apples comparison. If you suspect a server is guilty of this scam, try manually auditing their checks during a typical shift. Does one of their tables have an iced tea on it? Make sure that iced tea is in the POS after the check is closed.

Don't have time to do this manually? Let Avero help you automatically prevent this scam and many others in your restaurant – get started today!