Money changing scam
Ringing the changes - a money changing scam
This is a term used for a type of fraud which involves the offender asking for a sum of cash to be changed into notes of a different denomination, for example 10 x £20 notes changed to 20 x £10.
Once the cashier has counted out the cash and handed it to the offender, the offender will usually count the money again in front of the cashier and use a sleight of hand technique as he/she is doing so, in order to steal some of the money.
The offender will then ask the cashier to change the money again, often into an outlandish denomination such as 10p pieces. The cashier will refuse and it is at this point that the offender will then ask for his/her original money back.
The cashier assumes that the offender is handing back the full amount and exchanges it for the original money. The offender leaves with the original money, plus whatever they stole during the sleight of hand trick.
It is not unusual for the scam to go unnoticed until the tills are cashed at the end of the day. ‘Ringing the changes’ usually happens during busy times which adds to the confusion and places extra pressure on staff.
What to do to prevent becoming a victim
The most effective way to prevent such offending is to increase awareness among your staff and follow these simple tips:
- Refuse to exchange notes and adopt a ‘no change’ or ‘one note only’ policy.
- Be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the Police.
- If you have CCTV, ensure that it is working correctly and is capable of identifying potential suspects.
- Display a poster in the window saying this stores does not change money.
- If your store does have to exchange money e.g. Bureau de Change, ensure that staff count and recount any money handed over by the offender. The scam is reliant on the cashier assuming that they have been given back the original amount.
Staff are under no obligation to change denominations of cash for customers.
Legitimate customers wanting change for a valid reason will often make a small purchase in order to get change.