Weekly Feature

2017-02-01 / Local News

Scam artists target Clarence businesses

Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard recently reported that deputies have responded to multiple calls for quick scam artists targeting businesses in the Clarence area over the past week.

Quick scam artists typically target convenient stores, gas stations, fast food restaurants and other businesses and the con artists attempt to pay for a single, low-cost item with a large denomination bill. Then, the con artist tries to distract or confuse the clerk by requesting change followed by the subject changing their mind many times for how they want the change returned to them.

Often times, these con artists work in teams where one subject attempts to purchase an item while the other subject distracts the clerk by asking several questions. Often, the scam is not discovered until later in the shift when the cash drawer is reconciled.

Some best practices offered by business and security groups for employees and businesses to follow include:

Be cautious of customers paying for low-cost items with large denomination bills.

Clerks should stay focused when conducting the transaction and do not offer change until money is collected from the customer.

Count the change for each request before handing it to the customer.

If the customer makes multiple requests for change, ask a co-worker to assist with the transaction.

Business owners should contact the Sheriff’s office or local police if they suspect the business has been a victim of the scam and provide video recordings of the transactions.

If anyone has information about this scam or if a business has been a victim of the crime, they are urged to call the Erie County Sheriff’s Office at 858-2903.

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