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Watch out for quick-change artists

February 15, 2012
Estherville Daily News

With warnings of quick-change artists plying their ill-gotten trade in Storm Lake and Spencer, the Estherville Police Department and Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce are warning area businesses to batten down the hatches and tighten security in their place of business.

In a tight economy - which we certainly still have - it seems like people will stoop to just about anything to get money. That's why it's important that everyone remain vigilant at protecting against these thieves.

The quick-change artist will often present a large bill - such as a $50 or $100 - and buy a small item. Then the crook asks for different bills, often confusing the cashier or clerk. The thief might act impatient or even angry, so the only thing the cashier can think of is getting the person out of the store.

The best prevention against such thieves of thorough training of employees. They need to know they are in control of all financial transactions, and regardless of how impatient a customer may act, they have a right to take the time they need to complete the transaction. A good practice is to lay the larger bill on top of the cash register and count out the money. That way, the quick-changer can't claim, "Well I gave you a $50" when it may have only been a twenty.

Each transaction should be completed before another one begins. If the quick-changer asks for different bills, the correct answer would be, "I'm sorry. I'm handing you the change you requested. Now is there anything else I can help you with?"

By encouraging employees to be firm and self-assured, the quick-change artist will soon be out of business.

Security cameras help as well. They can record transactions and also act as a deterrent against would-be robbers. It doesn't cost that much to set up multiple cameras in a split-screen arrangement so you can observe four or more areas at a time.

Remaining vigilant, giving employees proper and adequate training and beefing up security can all help prevent losses from your business.

So, please. Take the time to be aware. And be safe and not sorry.



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