Retailers urged to be vigilant of scam targeting stores

An increased number of fraudulent/scam activities at site level resulting in losses up to $35,000 have been reported by retailers.

Members of the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) have reported significant losses of both cash and stock, specifically tobacco, resulting in losses between $15,000 and $35,000.

Theo Foukkare, CEO of AACS, said the way the scam works is that the perpetrators hack into the mobile phone number of a manager or owner and call the store pretending to be that person.

“They will ask the staff member to please pack up tobacco and cash and tell them someone will be around shortly to pick it up. Some people have been caught out, but others that were aware of the scam have not provided any details and called the owner immediately.”

Foukkare advised retailers to be aware of this scam, particularly night shift workers, and to not be passing out the mobile number of either the manager or the owner.

“If workers receive such a call, they should take the details and let the caller know that will call them back. This gives the store time to check with the actual person to see if it is a legitimate request. If it is not legitimate, we advise them to call the local police station to report the incident.”

As cost-of-living pressures increase, thievery is on the rise too, with research by Finder showing that six per cent of Aussies say they’ve driven off without paying for petrol in the past 12 months.  

Foukkare said that AACS member Auror, a company that runs crime management software, has reported that drive-offs have jumped by 25 per cent since the increase in fuel pricing.

“Some retailers are losing thousands of dollars a month. It’s a reminder for all store staff to be vigilant when authorising bowsers to open.”

Foukkare said if anyone needs information in managing drive-offs and what programs might be available to support them, to contact AACS and they can connect them with another AACS member to provide support.

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