Spoiler: The Scammer Isn’t Who You Think It Is

, , , , , | Legal | October 7, 2020

A customer has come to our store with a return of several window blinds and he has the receipt taped to one of the blinds. I take the receipt to complete the return but find that it does not match with the products.

Me: “Do you have another receipt? This isn’t the right one.”

Customer: “No, it has to be. I specifically asked the lady who served me to tape it on so I didn’t lose it.”

Me: “This isn’t for blinds; it’s only for $2. Did you buy something else at the same time?”

Customer: “No, I paid almost $300 in cash for these yesterday.”

I call the store manager over to see if he can find the correct sale in the register, thinking we could print the correct receipt up, but all he can find is the $2 sale; there’s no sale that matches and none for over $200. He is dumbfounded and tries clicking buttons to see if the sale was done on other days but accidentally brings up sales that have been put on hold. There is one sale from the day before on there for the exact blinds the customer is returning.

Manager: “I can’t understand why it’s been put on hold; it means that it’s not finalised and hasn’t been paid for.”

Customer: “But I did pay for them. I got the money out of the bank right before I came here. I have the bank receipt in my wallet, along with the change, because I gave the girl three one-hundred-dollar notes.”

Manager: “If you wait here for a few moments, I’ll check the takings from yesterday. [My Name], will you carry on with [task and code for ‘watch this guy’]?”

A few minutes later, the manager comes back. He takes the customer aside while I keep on my task. He looks a bit pale as he quietly talks to the customer and takes his details before handing over money for the refund, and the customer leaves.  

Me: “You found the money, then?”

Manager: *Shaking his head* “No, I can’t talk about it. I’ll be in the office if you need me. I know you should be leaving soon, but are you able to stay for the rest of the day?”

Me: “Sure.”

I assumed that my replacement had called in sick, but ten minutes later she walked in, followed not long later by the police, who asked to see the manager.

Later, I saw my coworker walk out with the police; she was in tears and wearing cuffs. The manager told me that he’d checked the CCTV, and he saw the customer hand over $300 and be given $20 back, along with the receipt being taped in place. After the customer left, the coworker put the remainder of the money in her pocket.

What she would do was to ring the sale up, put the sale on hold, and then ring up a $2 item. She had thought that a held sale would cancel out at the end of the day, but they stayed in the system. There was a long list of held sales under her name going back months, each matched to the date and time of a $2 cash sale. She had stolen close to $20,000.

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