At the register

Did you know that most inside thefts are completed in the first 90 minutes of the cashier's shift? That way, they have plenty of time to find the right opportunity to pocket the money.

Top ways money is stolen from the register

  1. Cashier doesn't ring up the sale, but takes the money, and pulls it from the drawer when no one is looking.
  2. Cashier enters the sale, takes the money, then voids it out, and pulls money later.
  3. Cashier, working with the customer, gives out excessive change, splits with the "customer" later.
  4. After transaction is complete, the customer claims he/she gave the cashier a $50 bill, not a $20, and demands the difference. Cashier has to either accept customer's claim, or count out the drawer in front of the customer to confirm the correct balance.

You should suspect your cashier is stealing if:

  • Their drawer is over the pos sales amount. Most owners are more concerned if the cashier is under, but when the drawer is over, either they're stealing (and didn't take out enough money) or they shorted the customer when making change (which rarely happens, because most customers count to make sure).
  • You notice some odd coins in the extra coin compartment. Many cashiers use a system of placing a penny for every dollar they've put in the drawer but haven't rung through the pos. A nickel is $5 and a dime is $10. Then, prior to counting out and reporting their sales for the shift, they pull the stolen money out first, based on the coins in the extra compartment (one dime, one nickel and three pennies equals $18).

Most outrageous scheme to steal money

One of our customers visited the store one day, only to notice that one of the cashiers had two registers at his lane. He explained to the customers that one of them was broken, but in reality he was ringing up all of the sales on his own personal cash register. He was providing receipts, making change and otherwise acting normal, but all of the sales dollars were going into his private register, bypassing the store's pos system entirely.

Stopping register theft

Make sure that each cashier is solely accountable for their drawer. Allow them to count it before they start their shift, and to be present for the end shift count. That way, if there's any discrepancy, they can be held solely responsible. Perform surprise audits frequently and at various times. Don't wait too long, or they may have already taken the money out of the register. Check the drawer an hour or two after their shift starts. Pay attention to their paperwork, and make sure that there aren't too many voids or over rings. Be suspicious if the drawer is being opened without a sales transaction occurring. Post a notice that encourages the customer to report if they did not get a sales receipt, and possibly receive a reward. This makes it difficult for the cashier to book a phantom sale, and pocket the money.

Richard McShirley is the Director of Business Development for JU$TCHEX. His experience in the collection of returned checks includes the classic collection agency, electronic check recovery agency, and online check recovery models. Richard is a founder of JU$TCHEX, a company that provides clients with direct online access to process their returned checks for payment in a method that complies with applicable laws and operating rules.

Richard McShirley
Director of Business Development
JUSTCHEX, LLC
500 Esplanade Drive, Suite 700
Financial Plaza
Oxnard, CA 93036