BOSS is best known for implementing its effective Forecourt Watch schemes on forecourts to tackle drive-offs and the successful Payment Watch scheme to recover monies owed by customers claiming to have ’no means to pay’. However, retailers need to be aware of the possibility for losses to occur internally, as well as at the pumps. In this column I will offer some tips on how to spot potential internal fraud.

The first point to mention is that drive-offs may occasionally not be genuine. It’s worth paying careful attention to staff who report high numbers of drive-off incidents, especially if the fuel value is frequently for ’round’ amounts.

In the fast-moving environment of a service station’s point-of-sale it can be challenging to keep track of shrinkage. The occasional chocolate bar may make its way out of the door without being paid for but what retailers should also watch out for is whether losses are a result of isolated incidents of shop theft or indicative of more serious and sustained internal fraud.

Start in the stockroom. Be alert to stock or material missing from boxes or containers, or stored where it wouldn’t normally be kept. For example, near an exit or tucked away in a concealed corner. Stock that moves overnight or is wrapped or packaged for no reason should also be monitored.

Your admin and documenting procedures should point to any irregularity, as well. Check for discrepancies between stock records and physical counts, and have a closer look if there seems to be an excessive number of ’void’ or ’no sale’ transactions at the tills. Look out also for an unusually high percentage of refunds or credits and any inconsistency in cash reconciliation.

It’s worth also being aware of your employees’ habits and behaviour, without being needlessly suspicious! Make the till area out of bounds to personal packages or bags. And, to come back to procedures, remain watchful for staff who frequently short-cut correct point-of-sale protocols or incur a high number of ’error’ transactions.

The one piece of advice that applies across the board, though, is to report to the police all instances where you have clear evidence of a crime having been committed, and let the matter be dealt with correctly by law enforcement.