Over the past couple weeks, I've heard from a number of restaurant operators that their restaurants have been a target of (and victim to) financial fraudsters.... SCAMMERS!
"You're Kidding, RIGHT?!?"
Your initial response - like me - is likely "Are you kidding? Does anyone really fall for that stuff?" The answer is yes; and not just from grandmas or grandpas.
- A call is received at a restaurant, asking for the owner/manager/supervisor (in that order). They do this for two reasons: to get names they can use later on and to get to someone who might be able to get access to the funds.
- Their intro can vary, but will often be from a courier (UPS, FedEx, etc.) indicating they have an important package (security system, etc) they want to deliver but it will get canceled if they don't receive the funds (brokerage, tariffs) in advance.
- They use any name they pick up along the way to tell them that they spoke with "Jesse" (owner or manager's name) and they said you could pull it from the deposit.
- The ask is to send funds using Money Mart, Western Union, etc. Sometimes claiming that if you use your own funds "Jesse" said they pay you back "and more" tomorrow.
What Can You Do?
Simply, train and practice.
- Train your staff who answer the phone to be careful about giving names of owners, management, employees, etc.
- Update your policy and procedure documents to make sure expense protocol is covered. This should include approvals, workflows, required written (or electronic) documentation, etc. Train your supervisors and managers on this policy.
- Practice. As a volunteer firefighter, I'm a big believer in acting out scenarios that happen infrequently so that you're ready to react when that scenario (fire) happens. Put a schedule together to review this with all of your supervisors/managers on a quarterly basis.