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Theft Thursdays: The Check Reuse Scam

Posted by Avero Team | November 21, 2013

Theft Thursdays: The Check Reuse Scam

Theft can be a sensitive subject, but how can you afford to ignore it? We built Avero Loss Prevention restaurant software to automatically stop loss and deter future theft, and we want to make restaurant operators aware of the different types of scams this restaurant software can identify and prevent.

We already told you about the Item Transfer scam, and a related scheme in restaurant POS fraud is called the "Check Reuse" scam.

  • How it works: A hotel restaurant guest orders a continental breakfast then serves himself from the buffet. At the end of the meal, the server presents the guest with the check from the POS and the guest leaves cash for the breakfast. The server then pockets the cash and presents the exact same check to the next table. Since everyone in the restaurant is ordering the continental breakfast, the server can continue to present the exact same printout of the check until a guest pays with a credit card or other non-cash payment.

  • Why it works: This type of scam is typically successful in an operation where there is one common item that all guests order. This could happen at a buffet, a continental breakfast in a hotel, a coffee shop, or a bar that has one type of beer or drink popular with many guests. The other critical component of this fraud is that the server or bartender doesn’t need a ticket from the POS to get the food or drink item. Because the buffet is self-serve, the kitchen doesn’t need an order from the POS system to make the dish, and because the bartender has access to all the beers and drinks, he doesn’t need a ticket to make the drinks. This scam is also successful in an environment where many patrons are paying in cash -- if all the guests are paying with a credit card, there is no opportunity for the employee to steal using this method.

  • How to uncover it: If you find an employee with low cash sales and a series of suspicious checks, have a manager observe the employee during his or her next shift. Watch for checks that are recycled from table to table. Throughout the shift, manually audit checks in the POS to ensure that the employee is closing out checks as soon as the guests finish their meal or drink and leave the outlet.

Don’t have time for all that manual work? Avero Loss Prevention can do it automatically, helping you improve your restaurant profits. Learn more and get started today, and check out other common restaurant fraud scams: