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Part 1 of 7

(we'll publish all 7 parts over the next few weeks)
FUELSTREAM Newsletter - Best Practice Newsletter

FUELSTREAM Newsletter #47: Top 5 ways cashiers can skim money, 3 Management Rules, and e-learning

Top 5 ways cashiers can skim money

Top 5 ways cashiers can skim money, and how to catch them:

  1. Not ringing up an item
    • This is the easiest method and probably the most common.
    • For Example: A customer is buying 2 x Coke 500 ml, but the cashier is scanning only one. The customer takes both Cokes.
    • Catch them by comparing the journal from the Point of Sale (POS) and the footage from the CCTV cameras. If you find a customer paying and taking a product that has not been scanned and does not appear in the transaction journal, then the cashier needs to explain why. If you find a few of these transactions, the cashier is probably skimming.
    • Note: A symptom of this type of skimming is that you will see variances on your stock counts. If the cashiers are clever they will skim using different products so that you don't pick up large variances. However, they need to be products where the cashier knows the prices and can do the calculation in his/her head to determine how much change to give the customer.
    • Clues: Check where the cashier is working. Do you find pieces of paper with numbers on them? This could be where they write down how much they've skimmed so far so they can take the correct amount out of the cash in drawer to balance. Or, there are mixed coins in one of the cash drawer compartments where they put the money they skimmed so far.
  2. Refunding an item illegally
    • This is also a common method, but is a bit more difficult as proof of the customer transaction that must be refunded may be required.
    • For Example: A cashier requests a refund on a product or a few products and claims the customer didn't have enough money, or didn't want the products, or the cashier made a mistake
    • Catch them by ensuring that cashiers are NOT allowed to refund any item under any circumstances without the supervisor or manager password. Also, cashiers should ask the customer for the original till slip and/or ask the customer to leave their name and cell number so that management can contact them to confirm a refund was done.
    • Note: It is important that the supervisor and manager passwords are changed frequently and that they ensure that no one sees the password they enter on the till. If the supervisor or manager gets irritated every time they're called to approve a refund, they may not take care to protect their password and the cashier might see it.
    • Clues: Cashiers will claim they "made a mistake" or that the customer "decided not to take the product". This should be monitored daily and you should look out for differences between cashiers e.g. one cashier has a lot more refunds than the others.
  3. Cancelling a transaction
    • This is also a common method and is often easy to use as managers and supervisors don't always ask questions but simply cancel the transaction.
    • For Example: A cashier scans items, but does not complete the sale on the till. The cashier keeps the till open, or opens it with another transaction, and provides the customer with the correct change. When the transaction is cancelled the money received from the customer can be removed from the till and the shift will still balance.
    • Catch them by ensuring that cashiers are NOT allowed to cancel any item under any circumstances without the supervisor or manager password. Check the CCTV cameras when a cashier claims a transaction must be cancelled.
    • Note: It is important to follow the same rules as with a refund. If there is a customer waiting, then the issue must be fixed quickly and the customer kept up to date with what's happening. If the customer is not present, the cashier should be questioned on what happened. Ask the cashier open-ended questions to see if they are able to provide details e.g. "describe the customer"
    • Clues: Cashiers will claim they "made a mistake" or that the customer "decided not to take the product". Also, the customer will not be present. Another clue could be that the items being cancelled are the same items that are short on your stock counts.
  4. Deleting a line in a transaction
    • This is very similar to cancelling a transaction, but here only one or two products are deleted from the transaction before the transaction is finalized.
    • Clues: Cashiers will claim they scanned a product twice by mistake.
  5. Short changing customers
    • This method is more risky, but relies on the fact that many customers never check the change they receive.
    • For Example: The cashier completes the transaction and gives the customer their change and till slip, but holds back one or two coins. If the customer notices this, the cashier simply claims it was a mistake.
    • Catch them by placing a sign for customers to see with a message as follows: "Dear Customer, if you don't receive the correct till slip and change we will refund you R10 from your purchase. Please report any irregularities to the manager or supervisor on duty".
    • Keep in mind that this is not an ideal solution as it places the burden of control on the customer and you may even get some customers who take a chance in order to get the refund.
    • Note: This method of skimming is easier if the customer is concentrating on something else e.g. talking on the phone or talking to his/her child. Some cashiers can identify regular customers and they know which customers will check the change and which ones will simply put the money in the wallet or purse.
    • Clues: If a cashier is short changing, they may keep the coins outside the till, or in a compartment of the cash drawer, but separate from other coins. A cashier could also buy something for themselves, but not place money in the till, as the "short change money" is there and the shift will still balance.
REMEMBER: The above tips are guidelines and the clues are not proof of guilt, they are simply things you can look out for and then investigate.
Management Rules

In Part 1-7 we will share management rules you can use:

  1. Systems - No clock no pay / No sign no pay
    1. This rule can be used to make employees aware of the importance of completing the attendance register (or clocking) accurately
    2. The Labour Relations Act requires an attendance register to be completed for each employee
    3. Employers must provide a manual or automatic attendance register containing the -
      1. name of each worker
      2. day of the week
      3. time of work commenced
      4. times of all meal intervals
      5. time of finishing work
      6. overtime
      7. total number of hours worked
      8. worker's signature
    4. An employer must keep records of attendance registers for at least 3 years.
    5. Click HERE to download a PDF example of an attendance register as provided by the Department of Labour
  2. Legal - No dip no drop
    1. This rule applies to all fuel received at site. You should not allow a delivery to take place unless you have confirmed the current water level and volume level of the tank being delivered to
    2. In most networks a physical/manual dip and electronic dip (ATG) is required
    3. It is standard procedure for all oil companies that a water and volume check is required before any fuel is delivered. This is also in line with the National Road Traffic Act, Occupational Health & Safety Act and other legislation.
    4. The South African National Standard (SANS) 10231 specifies the details for safe delivery and receiving of fuel at site. Click HERE to download a PDF copy of the "SANS 10231: Transport of Dangerous Goods" wherein it stipulates the requirements for safe offloading of fuel and the responsibilities of the person receiving the fuel on site
  3. Financial - No work no pay
    1. This rule applies to all employees under MIBCO. If any employee works less than 45 hours due to absence without leave, late coming or leaving early you can pay them less than 45 hours in that week
    2. Keep in mind that you should work out wages according to the "actual" hours worked and not the estimated or average hours. This means that you can't pay according to the roster i.e. how they were scheduled to work. You need to calculate how they actually worked and pay according to that
Further to rule 3 above, we have the following case study and would appreciate your view:
  • When is short time applicable?
  • Is short time applicable on public holidays?
  • Is the minimum 45 hours rule only applicable to general workers and forecourt attendants?
Review the information below and give us your opinion on the interpretation

"short-time" means a temporary reduction in the number of ordinary hours of work owing to slackness or the exigencies of trade, shortage of material, a general breakdown of plant or machinery caused by accident, or other unforeseen contingency and/or circumstances beyond the employer's control, stock-taking or stoppage of work granted at the request of a majority of the employees in the establishment or part thereof;
  • (1) Subject to the provisions of sub-clause (3) of this clause and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, an employer may employ his employees on short-time:
Provided that -
  • (a) where such short-time is owing to slackness of trade and/or shortage of materials, if an employee is required not to attend the establishment on a particular day, the employer shall notify him of the fact not later than the day immediately preceding the day on which he is not required to work, and where the employee is expressly required by the employer to report at the establishment on any particular day for the purpose of ascertaining whether work will be available, he shall, if no work or if work of less than four hours duration is available, be paid not less than four hours' in respect of such day;
  • (b) in respect of employees employed in establishments registered under Chapters III and V of Division C of this Agreement, no deduction shall be made in the case of short-time owing to a power failure or a general breakdown of plant or machinery, in respect of the first hour not worked, unless the employer has given his employee notice not later than on the immediately preceding day that no work will be available. 
  • (2) In the event of short-time being worked an employer shall not be required to pay wages to his employees except for the period actually worked or as otherwise expressly provided for in sub-clause (1) of this clause. 
  • (3) An employee may not be placed on short-time on any of the days that are public holidays in terms of section 1, or declared as such under section 2 of the Public Holidays Act, 1994. 
  • (4) Payment for public holidays during short-time shall be at short-time rates provided four calendar days' notice has been given to the employees 
  • (5) An apprentice may not be placed on short-time except with the approval of MERSETA. 
  • (6) In the event of any employee being placed on short-time in excess of four weeks, the employer concerned shall provide the Regional Council with jurisdiction over the establishment with the following information in writing:
    • (a) The names of all employees placed on short-time;
    • (b) the reasons for extending the working of short-time beyond four weeks;
    • (c) the date on which short-time commenced; and
    • (d) the estimated duration of short-time.
  • (7) In the event of short-time exceeding eight weeks the Regional Secretary shall report the matter to the Regional Council concerned. 
  • (8) An apprentice and trainee undergoing training under the Skills Development Act 1998, my not be placed on short-time except with the approval of the Registrar of Manpower Training. 
  • (8) Subject to the provisions of clause 3.8(10) of this Division relating to absences from employment and clause 4.6 of this Division relating to short-time, whenever:
    • (a) any general worker or forecourt attendant employed in an establishment that is registered under Chapter I of Division C of this Agreement: or
 …works for less than 45 hours in any one week owing to -
  • (i) the usual working hours of the establishment being less than 45;
  • (ii) the employer being unable to regulate the shifts of such employee
  • to 45 hours; and/or
  • (iii) any reason other than his absenting himself without the employer's permission,
  • such employee's week shall be deemed to be 45 hours.
  • When is short time applicable?
  • Is short time applicable on public holidays?
  • Is the minimum 45 hours rule only applicable to general workers and forecourt attendants?
Give us your opinion by clicking on the button below
CLICK HERE to submit your opinion

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  • Unlike typical training courses that take longer, force you to follow a set sequence and are not based on workplace experience

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