Chain business managers are advised to be on the lookout for a scam that involves a caller claiming to be a corporate officer who demands that all cash on hand be turned over to him to reconcile a claim.
A nearly identical attempted con was reported several weeks ago, and multiple attempts were reported last week by Mayfair Mall businesses after one such attempt succeeded.
The scam works like this. The caller, pretending to be a ranking officer with the company, tells an employee that a customer had reported having lost a wallet or purse in that store with a large amount of cash in it. The item had been recovered and held by the store but found to be empty of cash when claimed – apparently stolen by an employee.
The caller says that for security reasons, or to settle the customer's claim, all cash receipts have to be turned over to him immediately.
On April 18, an employee of Trade Secret at Mayfair Mall reported she had been successfully duped.
A man had called and identified himself as being “from the corporate office.” He told her that a customer had reported leaving her purse at the store with $1,200 in it. The purse had been recovered but when the customer came to get it the money was gone.
The caller then told the employee that the customer had threatened to sue, and the store needed to pay her back. He persuaded the employee to collect the day’s cash receipts and deliver them to him in a taxi at the McDonald’s at West Wisconsin Avenue and North 25th Street.
The employee did just that, delivering a cash bag with more than $400 in it to the man, who told her that she might need to make more deliveries in order to satisfy the whole claim. He also told her she had done well and he would recommend her for a raise.
The store's management called police when it was realized that the whole story of the purse was a hoax. The victimized employee told police she had been sucked in to the scam because the caller knew her manager by name. But in their report, the police note that all employees of the store answer the phone by name, and so it would have been easy to get that information.
The next day, an employee of the Rosetta Stone kiosk at Mayfair also reported a suspected scam in which a caller identified himself as being “from the corporate office” and demanded to speak to the manager.
This matched a number of other similar incidents at other Mayfair and Brookfield mall stores in which a known suspect had attempted to trick managers into making a fraudulent money drop.
Mayfair security officers told police they were circulating a memo to all store managers describing the confidence scheme and warning them to alert all employees that it was a fraud.