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Byline: BETHANY LODGE @bethlodge1

A SCAM has emerged on Teesside in which slippery customers try to con shop cashiers out of cash.

Known as the "ringing in the changes" scam, the technique has been used in businesses up and down the country for several years.

It involves a customer confusing the cashier so they end up pocketing more cash than they have forked out.

And shop workers are no strangers to the con. Those who work at supermarket chains, bookmakers and other stores have taken to online forums to tell their tales.

The Gazette told of the latest report of the scam happening at the Fox Inn in Guisborough on Tuesday.

Previously, reports of similar scams have been made in Middlesbrough town centre, Newport, Middlesbrough and Oxbridge, Stockton.

So what is the scam, and how does it work? What is the "ringing in the changes" scam? A con whereby a customer pays for a small item with a large note, then confuses the cashier by claiming they actually have the correct amount.

The cashier then gives their large note back, plus any change they would have expected from the large note.

It can work in many ways, but usually involves con artists trying to swap notes for other notes or coins, then back again.

Fraudsters have also been known to ask for change, only to cancel the transaction, pocketing any money they have been given in the process.

How are these scams carried out? Step 1- A customer buys something small with a PS20 note, for example, something which costs 20p.

Step 2- The cashier hands back the change, for example, a PS10 note, a PS5 note, four pound coins and 80p in silver.

Step 3- The customer then says they have enough coins to make their change up to PS20, so they can be given their PS20 note back.

Step 4- The cashier takes back and counts the change, which really is PS10 worth, and starts to take a PS10 out of the till.

Step 5- The customer then interrupts the counting, saying they may as well have the original PS20 back.

Step 6- Instead of putting the PS10 they are counting back in the till and giving the customer their original PS20, the cashier gives them the PS10 in change AND returns the PS20 note to the customer.

Step 7 - The customer walks away with PS30: their original PS20 and PS10 profit.

What are the most popular techniques? The above is an example of one way the scams can be carried out.

They almost always involve some form of confusion technique by the customer.

Often, when a shop, pub or bar is busy, the cashier is further flustered by the time they are taking to count out change, and fall prey to the scam without even noticing.

How do people fall for it? When there are a lot of customers to serve and time is of the essence, fraudsters can more easily dupe an unsuspecting cashier.

Thieves may also prey on those who want to provide good customer service and do not want to question a customer's integrity.

Sometimes these thieves will work in teams to create more of a distraction. How can I avoid them? Tips offered by other shop workers include not getting flustered and taking your time when dealing with change.

Supermarkets and other chains direct the customer to a customer service desk if they change their mind about the way they want to pay.

Any staff that are suspicious of a transaction could ask for another member of staff to be present while the transaction is carried out.


A cash changing scam has emerged
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 26, 2017
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