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Cashier Scams

Here are some cashier scams, which are done to unknowing cashiers now-a-days.


1) Customer will call over the telephone and want to give you you the gift card number but want to charge for it with a credit card.  Many scammers will say they are disabled, sick, or elderly.  Do not do it!  If the person is elderly then she can come to the store.  This person may beg, scream, want to talk to the manager, etc, but do not give in and do it.  What is behind this scam is that many people do not think that charging a gift card over the phone is not safe and most likely the customer is using a stolen credit card.


1) Do not return items without a receipt, especially if customer service is closed. Some people will do the following: rip a label from the meat department and tell you the cashier that they paid for the product and it was bad and want a credit or refund.  Upon asking if she has a receipt the customer cannot reproduce one.  Sometimes she will get an attitude with you the cashier.  Calmly but firmly say that according to your company policy you cannot issue refunds without a receipt. 

2) The customer says "Oh honey, I bought x, y, and z yesterday and the bagger didn't put the bag in the cart".  Generally the items are very high valued items such as batteries, tea drink mix, beer, OTC medicines, etc.  The customer cannot provide a receipt and says some bagger didn't give it to him.  He cannot remember the baggers name, nor the cashiers name.  Obviously the customer is lying.  Do not give the customer anything.  Again it is time to politely say "It is our store policy not to give lost products without a receipt."

SOLUTION: Many stores can keep a "Lost Item Log" where it is a notebook or binder with paper that the cashiers and/or baggers write the date, time and what was left at the store.  That way this remedies this type of scam.


1) Some stores have not figured out that cigarettes are stolen a lot.  Here is how the scene goes: the customer service will give the customer a pack of cigarettes / a carton of cigarettes.  While in the store the customer steals the cigarettes.  To stop this stealing, require customers to pay at the registers and/or customer service.


1) Customer has high dollar items (such as, but not limited to, meats, cigarettes, razors, medications, etc.) has a check already signed, dated and with their driver license's number.  Nine times out of ten, he cannot reproduce for the cashier a driver's license with that number nor can he tell you the number.  Again it is a scam and do not be tricked.

2) Some cashiers do not take the time to look at the address and the address on the ID.  For example some cashiers will look at the amount only on the check and write the ID number on the check.  At lot of times the address on the check and ID do not match up. 

3) If you see two different addresses on ID and check, ask customer about it.  Tell the customer that you want him to tell you both addresses.  If he is buying a lot of high value items and hesitates be very suspicious! 


1) Generally the scene is very similar to the other scenes.  The customer has bought high ticket items and wants to pay with a credit card, debit card, or check.  He wants a ridiculously amount of money back (over $50) which is not acceptable for your company.  You should be suspicious of his credit/debit/or check, CHECK his ID and make sure the name and signature match, and tell him that your company has a policy of not giving money back on high orders, or some other reason.

2) The same happens in Cash Back 1), but the customer wants to buy only a pack of gum (or something small) and wants a lot of money back.  Be sure to check address, name, and signature.  If there is at all a doubt, do not give let her have money back with her order.


1) Many customers will play stealing games in teams.  For example, to distract you the cashier, the steal team will send a person in the store first, he will begin to distract you, perhaps by asking some questions about some products or wanting you to help him locate a product in the store, while his stealing friends enter the store.  While you are helping him, you do not notice his friends, and then his friends go down a aisle without any supervision and start stealing products.  The cashier, just like a babysitter (or a mother or father of a young baby), must be aware of the surroundings at all times.  Make a mental note of the people coming into the store.

2) Sometimes cashiers think "since the customer bought something, she didn't steal anything."  Do NOT think like that anymore.  For example, here is a variation of Stealing number 1.  Someone comes in, goes down a high ticket aisle, such as the OTC medicine aisle or beer aisle, looks to see if there are people around and starts stealing.  To make it look as if she is NOT stealing she might buy some items such as milk, bread, bananas, etc.  It looks like she's not stealing anything, but she really is.

3) Many teens will come into the store with baggy pants to steal.  They usually go down the beer or OTC medicine aisle and go to the bathroom with their products or to an unsupervised section of the store (and yes some teens WILL STEAL on camera.  The problem is if she is coming in the store when no security cannot do anything about it!) and put wine bottles, OTC medicine etc.  Again, this may be combined with Stealing #2, you the cashier thinks "she didn't steal anything because she bought a candy bar," think again! 

Written by Scotty J.  These situations have happened due to wisdom and advice from a grocery store I used to work at 3rd shift.  I can be reached for comments, questions and complaints at .