Archived Theft and fraud ... stories and what to look for

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As a cashier, I interact with guests basically nonstop. I understand that the "vibe" is very important, and that Target wants repeat customers. So, I would never want to do anything to make a guest feel that I was suspicious, hostile, or unfriendly. But, it's hard to come off as friendly and trusting if you are not friendly and trusting.

So, can anyone offer me advice on how to be both FF&F and a blessing to AP as well? Also, please share your stories of theft/fraud. I want to know what to look for.

Here is a recent situation I dealt with. An obviously lower-income, nervous man comes in with a ton of brand name clothes and some pre-paid VISA gift cards. He wanted to write a check, and guess what? The number on his driver's license had been rubbed off, reprinted, and taped over. Obviously a fake. When I mentioned that I needed to get a manager to come over and help with the transaction, he suddenly "had to go to the bathroom" and then left the store.

I also had a guy (on my second day, he was obviously targeting the new seasonals!) try to con me with a stack of bad coupons. Luckily, AP recognized him and came over, and he left without "buying" anything.

So, what experiences have you all had on this topic?
 
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In my 8 months at Spot, I've come across some of the following types of fraud/theft:

1.) Coupon fraud
a.) When a guest comes in with legitimate coupons and buys the respective items and subsequently returns them in order to get the value of the coupon back. I've seen this with people do this with a lot of HBA items like toothbrush items and those Norelco razors. I've seen a lot of these type of coupon frauders use a target gift card to lookup the receipt. If I feel they were pulling some kind of fraud, I give them a new gift card.
b.) When a guest comes in with fake or photo-copied coupons and tries to use them. I've seen people try to use them on Barbie items and HP ink. The coupons they had said that it was good for any Barbie or HP ink. Most coupons are very specific on what type of item it's good for. I usually have a GSA/GSTL come over to shut them down. Sometimes the perps will walk off once they see that you are about to get a supervisor.

2.) Credit card theft:
Some people who have stolen others' credit/debit cards will then try to buy Visa gift cards. The idiotic perps usually try to buy multiples at one time. Some are slightly smarter and will buy one at one register and another gift card at another register.

3.) Return Fraud:
Some people will "return" items that they've stolen either from Target or another store. I see this a lot with toothbrush items and some jewelry. A lot of the time they will try to return multiple of items all at once. If I suspect this is what they are doing, I make sure I get the name on the license, reprint the receipt, write the name on the receipt, and give it to AP.

4.) Shoplifting:
Different people go about shoplifting differently. Some people will non-chalantly walk out of the door with an item. Others will try to survey their surroundings before making a run for the door. Some people will hide baby formula under their strollers and walk right out with it. Some people will take something into the fitting room and take it out of its packaging (there are tons of empty packages from the fitting room at the end of the night). Some will take the item out of the packaging right on the sales floor. Some will even so bold enough to try to make it out the store with a cart full of unpaid merchandise.

5.) Fake bills and other cash problems:
Some like to try to use fake bills when paying. One time, a guy used fake $50 bills to pay for his stuff and later on that day returned it and got back real cash. Another guest, one that I've encountered three times now, tries to scam you into giving him more money. The guy would buy something that amounted to less than $2 and pay with a $50 bill. Most people would give him back two 20s, a 5, and three 1s. He would pocket one of the $20 bills and say that you shorted him a 20. The guy has tried the scam on me twice and and on another girl when I just happened to see and recognize him. There might be even more people in my store that he's tried it on.

For 1-3, if you're at a register, alerting your GSA/GSTL can stop the perp before they check out. If they already check out, K6 it quick so that the receipt can be reprinted and given to AP. At the service desk, reprinting the receipt is the only thing that is usually done at my store.

For 4 and 5, just be vigilant. Make sure that there aren't any stray items in their cart/baskets/strollers. Also, look out for people that act suspicious. If they keep looking over their shoulder, they are usually up to no good. Always check high value bills for authenticity (mark it and then check for the watermarks). Also, make sure you recount your change before you hand it to the guest. If the change goes over a $100, my rule is to physically count it out to them.

However, do not outright confront a guest or accuse them of shoplifting. We had an incident a few weeks ago where a guest had brought something of their own in with intentions of doing an exchange. They never found the new item and so prepared to leave the store with the item they brought in. A team member stopped them at the door and asked them to come over to the service desk to pay for the item. Luckily, the service desk team member that spoke with the people was still there and told the other team member that the item belonged to them.
 
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GrumpyAP

Go To Six
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For both of the situations you've illustrated, OP, I would talk to your AP. Because the first one is obviously a fraud attempt and you've definitely got them a PMR.
 

oath2order

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I had a guest try and pass off a bunch of coupons without a picture on them that came up as "how much is this coupon" and their response was $25. I told them I couldn't accept it. They went to another register. I talked to AP at guest services. Apparently they saw and were scared off.

Turns out AP knew them. They were known as major coupon frauders.

MY PERSONAL FAVORITE (attempted) THEFT OF ALL TIME:

I had a 3PM to 11:30PM hardlines shift a few days before Christmas. I was reshopping and saw three guys come out of the backroom with a three-tier cart and a PDA. I got suspicious, called AP, followed them a bit, and eventually asked if they needed help with anything. They said they were a Mattel vendor. I don't interact with vendors much, so I then just told AP they said they were vendors and went back to reshop. AP then ended up telling me later that they stopped the guys from leaving the store. Turns out they stole the PDA from the electronics boat, had a fake Mattel Vendor badge, and gave a fake phone number to call.

They didn't get away with anything, thankfully.
 

GlobalJ

Electronics TM
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Oh I got one. I posted this earlier last year, but it's worthy of a repeat.

One night I was closing cashier and had about 15 minutes left. A guest comes up to me with a cart full of crap (easily several hundred dollars worth of merchandise). He hands me 5-6 of those Disney gift cards. I thought nothing of it at first. Perhaps he knew a family going to Disney and wanted the gift cards charged to his credit card, right? After I ring the cards he pulls out his phone and brings up a fake $30 off Target coupon. Terribly fake. I walk over to the closing GSA and tell her the situation. She takes one look at the coupon and was like "We can't take that, that's not a Target coupon." At this time his wife/gf came to my lane (also with a full cart). We try to tell her it's not a real coupon and they say that the Target up the road took the coupon (Someone isn't doing their job) and that we need to have the "site" they got it from shutdown. They refused to pay and stormed out of the store pissed.

We looked through the carts to find easily $1k+ in gift cards and easily as much in other merchandise. The GSA and I have a good laugh about it and let the LOD know. What a pathetic attempt.
 
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The only story I have concerns clearance stickers. Make sure the clearance sticker, when scanned or manually entered matches the product type. For example, if you manually type the number off a 2.89 clearance sticker found on a teal shirt and it doesn't say something like TEAL BLOUSE S or something indicating it is a clothing item on it then you might want to get your TPS or GSTL.

I had a ripped clearance sticker on a comforter set that I couldn't enter manually. The price was visible though and it said 17 something. The DPCI on the back was scanning for 100 something. I asked the guest if he could go get another set with an undamaged sticker since it was fairly busy. Guest was gone a while, so I asked my TPS to come over and explained the situation. He thought it was suspicious too and said to call him over when/if the guest came back. Guest came back to my register specifically and said they couldn't find another one. TPS came over and explained that the sticker must be a mix up and that the price on the back is the actual price. The guy did end up buying it at full price and it may have indeed been a mix up, but its always safe to talk to your TPS about any questions you may have concerning theft.

I find a lot of theft takes place near the card wall, so be watchful of multiple kids over there if it is slow enough to keep an eye out. Also, as a CA I find lots of theft takes place in the women's RR. I have found boxes for perfumes and electronics accessories (Phone cases; tablet cases; CDs) before.
 

mrknownothing

purveyor of things
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I once had a guest who put a barcode from another (much less expensive) item on a LeapPad. I honestly didn't realize it until she asked if the LeapPad was on sale. When I noticed the barcode sticker, I signaled the GSTL to come over. We told her it was coming up at the regular price, then she said she didn't want it. AP was happy because she had apparently done it several times.
 
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:wacko: Boggles my mind how people can fake coupons. I mean I know you can fake just about anything but I have had some phony coupons come through electronics before and it blows my mind. Seriously how can they look so real?? I guess it's like the money.....
 
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For both of the situations you've illustrated, OP, I would talk to your AP. Because the first one is obviously a fraud attempt and you've definitely got them a PMR.


Writing PMR's for Coupon fraud is a cheap tactic and AP TM's who do that are honestly following a bad habit.


..Just like those who do the same for fraudulent credit card transactions.
 

Dr Laytex

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No cheaper than writing a PMR on carts of re-shop, which is what I suspect a store in our district is doing... They had one a couple weeks ago where they had $1100.00 worth of cosmetics, hair care, and household chemicals that the TPS claimed was an attempted push out. Sounds like A-block re-shop to me.
 

buliSBI

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Years ago, Target had a coupon on batteries with no maximum quantity. Something like buy 3 packs and get a $5 giftcard. We had a teenage kid buy like 40 packs of batteries with all those free gift card offers. Walked out for 5 minutesand walked back in to guest service.

He came up to me and asked to return all the batteries. I called the my ETL-GS at the time, and she said go ahead with the return and call her after the guest leaves. And make sure to write down the receipt numbers.

Returned the batteries, and called the ETL back. She came up and voided off the both transactions and deactivated the gift cards.
 
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redeye58

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Our AP watched 2 women with a cart-load circling near an exit. They pushed the cart past the registers to 'order their Starbucks' which gave AP enough time to have someone waiting outside the door when they tried to leave. They saw AP, left the cart & kept walking.....right into the arms of the cops waiting around the blind spot.
Total recovery: $1496.38.
 
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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Years ago, Target had a coupon on batteries with no maximum quantity. Something like buy 3 packs and get a $5 giftcard. We had a teenage kid buy like 40 packs of batteries with the gift card offer. Walked out for $5 and walked back in to guest service.

He came up to me and asked to return all the batteries. I called the my ETL-GS at the time, and she said go ahead with the return and call me after the guest leaves. And write down the receipt numbers.

Returned the batteries, and called the ETL back. She came up and voided off the both transactions and deactivated the gift cards.

Haha, I'll bet that little turd was pretty unhappy when his gift cards didn't work!
 
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2.) Credit card theft:
Some people who have stolen others' credit/debit cards will then try to buy Visa gift cards. The idiotic perps usually try to buy multiples at one time. Some are slightly smarter and will buy one at one register and another gift card at another register.

If you think that's idiotic, I was once behind a guy who had many VISA gift cards and had about 6 or 7 credit cards. Swipe... declined. Swipe... declined. Swipe... declined. "Uhhh... I left my cash in the car." I don't understand dumb criminals.
 

lovecats

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I had a guest come thru my register once awhile back. She had one of those totes that was pretty expensive. I scanned the bar code on the label on the side of the tote and it came up somewhere around $79. She said that it was supposed to be $19 and pointed to the barcode that was on the handle. The ones that are put on luggage. Scanned that and it did come up $19 but said it was a Totes brand. I said that must have been put on that one by mistake and I would have to charge her the higher price. For some reason she decided she didn't want it and walked out.
 
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Another one....watch for tags that have "fallen off" the clothes before they get to the register. Yeah, I had a guest have that happen once on like 4 or 5 items. When I keyed in the number on the clothing tag instead of scanning the tags they had for each piece, they no longer wanted the clothes.
 

oath2order

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Years ago, Target had a coupon on batteries with no maximum quantity. Something like buy 3 packs and get a $5 giftcard. We had a teenage kid buy like 40 packs of batteries with all those free gift card offers. Walked out for 5 minutesand walked back in to guest service.

He came up to me and asked to return all the batteries. I called the my ETL-GS at the time, and she said go ahead with the return and call her after the guest leaves. And make sure to write down the receipt numbers.

Returned the batteries, and called the ETL back. She came up and voided off the both transactions and deactivated the gift cards.

Holy crap, that's awesome! I know my ETLs wouldn't do that.
 

defang

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Had one just the other day. Young kid wanted to buy... I think it was some electronic toothbrushes or something? Had 3 of them, rang up $14.99 each. Also had 3 coupons that were take $15 off each. Said I had to call my manger over to enter in her supervisor number for the large discount. Kid said "F*** you", shoved the rest of his stuff off of the belt and on the floor toward me and walked out.

And all this happened about 5 minutes after our TPS left for the night.
 
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*me runs after the kid to whack him in the head with a hand basket*

I didn't see anything, to the guest. Was that your kid, guest says no. Who's kid is it, I am not sure. Where is the parent, the guest asks. At another store per the kid, we did ask them.
 

JustJoe

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I had a good one the other day that my TPS used as a PMR:

Guest brought me a sweater that she had just tried on and asked me to hold it for her. I told her that we only hold until the end of the day. She says "Ok, I don't think I will make it back today but I will be in tomorrow morning." She didn't seem concerned that it was going to be reshopped. I really didn't give it another thought and hung it where I usually hang hold items. Later on, I was clearing the rooms and noticed a ripped tag on the ground. We have a lot of those so I also didn't give it an immediate thought. When I was done clearing I went through the tags and noticed the ripped one was for an orange Merona sweater. The one hanging was also an orange Merona sweater. They matched. The guest took a clearance sticker from some Xhil item and stuck it on top of the clearance sticker that was already there. I peeled it back to confirm. Called my TPS to show him. He was excited (he's new on the job) about it.

What do I do? What any good TM does. I want to make sure that all my guests are paying the correct price for their stuff so I made a new tag, attached a fresh clearance sticker, and pushed it back to the floor.
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
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Few days ago I was on the lanes for back-up when a 20-ish girl came through with several clothing items. Every single one had a clearance sticker stuck over the bar code. I could see that the DPCIs & orig price on the stickers didn't match what was on the tag & the girl started fidgeting when I peeled the stickers back to scan the bar codes. When none of the items came up clearance, the girl said it wasn't her fault that 'our people' didn't know what they were doing. I told her she must have intercepted a ticket-switcher because OUR people wouldn't put stickers ON TOP of the scan code & they would CERTAINLY make sure the DPCIs MATCH.
She left without buying anything (surpise! not!).
 
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