How To Spot Fraud With POS

By leveraging the controls and variance reports often inbuilt into the latest Hospitality POS systems, many potential loopholes can be plugged. While it’s impossible to completely protect your restaurant, bar or pub from theft, there are a number of precautions that you can take to reduce the chances of it happening.

Most venues prefer to use technology and procedural controls as a tool for discouraging crime. Bogus transactions or collusion between staff and customers are usually top of the list for preventative action. Misuse of refunds, staff discounts and issues with supplied goods come a close second. When staff are aware that every item of stock is accounted for, shrinkage can be reduced dramatically. If everyone knows the company has their finger on the pulse, losses can be negligible.

A wide range of POS features can help revolutionize control:

Unique POS Logins

POS wristbands embedded with a unique Clerk ID can automate such restrictions and help make the whole venue completely accountable. Managers can know who is selling what, where and for how much. To stop items being passed through at a lower price to friends, only certain trusted staff are authorized to perform discounts. For reducing ‘no sale’ frauds, access to the cash drawer is limited to those with security privileges only. Time and attendance modules record these unique logins, ensuring each person is actually at work when they claim to be. Back office POS software allows editing, verifying, and reporting on all clock-ins and clock-outs and work times.

Variance Reporting

Powerful POS reports let you can quickly and easily start to look at the larger picture. Comparing best days to worst days and seeing where differences originate. By spotting trends it makes it easy to identify anomalies in daily figures and trends. Minimum and maximum thresholds can automatically throw up variances. Search functions let operators spot voids, refunds and other detailed transactions based on time of day, staff member or other criteria.

The cost of Refunds and Price Changes

Audit trails flag up price changes, who did the change, and how often it was done. Additionally, looking at the average number of refunds and the rationale can also be helpful in controlling monies lost.

Getting Serious about Stock

if all purchase orders are processed end to end via the POS system, it’s easy to see if a supplier’s discount has dropped off. Matching deliveries to orders and supply prices to quoted pricing helps cut down on stock inconsistencies and shrinkage.

PDT’s with pre loaded bar-codes can manage stock takes quickly and accurately. Once linked to the POS, scanned inventories can be compared to those listed in the POS software. Once a product is sold via the POS it depletes off the inventory to give starting and end figures. Reports show whats in between these figures and if a theft problem of some sort exists.


Linking CCTV to the POS system can help spot theft as it happens. Straightforward footage of customers and staff looks the same, whether the individuals are fraudulent or honest. Once the images are married up with POS transactions, this data combination provides irrefutable evidence when variances exist. Using powerful search functions for voids, no sale transactions etc, live or past footage can be viewed to track incidents. All monitoring can be carried out remotely negating the need for covert operations.

POS Linked Liquor Control

Hard wired beverage management systems linked to POS can similarly track every ounce of liquor poured. Once a drink is poured the till acknowledges that it’s been poured and managers can see what has been poured but not sold. Flow meters, ETNs and wireless pourers can be attached to bulk beers and spirits. Every time someone pours a drink they tracks how much has been poured vs. the actual sales. POS reporting can drill down to look at the actual time the variance happened.

Hospitality operators face tremendous challenges in realizing the necessary margins to ensure profitability. By using the host of reports that usually come as standard with POS, the task of spotting variances and potential loopholes becomes easier. By further linking to innovative technologies like CCTV or Liquor Control, these systems can usually rapidly pay for themselves in terms of reduced shrinkage.


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