If you're a veteran of the hotel industry, you know the following routine all too well. The customer comes up to the counter and either tries to pay for their room or cash a personal cheque. While things might seem okay at first, by the time the customer is out the door the next day, it is already too late. The cheque comes back as fraudulent and now you're out of the money for the room and services, all while the offender is long gone. However, with a strong approach to cash management and some improvements in how you handle this and other currency, you can say goodbye to fraud of any kind.
How It Works
Cheque fraud at a hotel happens in a few ways. Sometimes, scammers rely on fake identification cards to pass themselves off as others if they use stolen cheques as part of the theft, according to Our Source, a UK based advocacy group for the international tourism industry. However, simply printing out counterfeits and passing those off as acceptable until they come back declined also works in these schemes. The rise in black market services, both locally and via the Internet, creates further opportunities for these individuals to obtain all the tools necessary to pull off this scam.
The Reason Why It Works
According to Stopcheckfraud.com, a source that promotes fraud awareness and prevention, cheque fraud is the second most common type of fraudulent scheme, behind only payment card fraud – and for good reason. Making a bogus cheque is easy, even for the most basic of criminals. In fact, Stopcheckfraud.com goes on to explain that the only things you need to get started on the path to printing fake cheques are a computer, the right software, and a laser printer.
Sounds easy right? Unfortunately, the whole process really is easy to pull off. With access to these tools, and the ability to handle the pressure of selling the scam face-to-face with a hotel representative, these criminals can hit your hotel with a serious financial blow before you even realize what they've done. However, your hotel isn't completely defenseless when it comes to turning away cheque fraud.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Interests
If you don't want to join the 53 percent of organizations that experienced cheque fraud or scam attempts in 2012, as noted by financial firm J.P. Morgan, being proactive in the fight against fraud is your best plan of action. This means tightening up your overall cash management approach and honing in on how you handle cheques specifically. To start, consider the authentication measures you have in place to prevent fraud. If these services look a little weak in the light of your new understanding of cheque scams, consider adding in a check imaging system. This type of preventative measure combines an imaging machine and virtual database that helps decrease the risk of fraud significantly. By tracking and auditing all cheques that come through your doors, you can stop fraud before it happens and help bring justice to those who do manage to pull of this type of scam.