Every day, stores lose millions at the point of sale (POS) in various ways, ranging from unauthorized discounts to simple theft. Many of these POS exceptions are caused by employees who believe their behavior cannot be detected and find the temptation irresistible.
AVE's VSI POS Interface provides instant exception reports with the associated video, giving valid proof of cashier-related shrinkage. It enables you to easily centralize your loss-prevention efforts, cutting investigation time and giving an overview that helps you identify training needs,
The VSI offers a scalable, flexible and cost-effective route to powerful POS exception reporting solutions. The easily integrated technology is proven yet future-roof, with superior image quality. As part of an IP network, it offers remote accessibility along with distributed intelligence.
From impulse shoplifting to organized crime, from opportunistic slip-and-fall scam to sustained POS/cashier fraud, The VSI Pro provides the quality of evidence you need to root out these problems from your store. When you want to keep people – the right people – walking in, and stop goods walking out, the VSI-Pro offers cost-effective control.
Cash Register Interfacing
Cash Register Interfacing is the ability to extract the data from a cash register that prints on the receipt and overlay this data on a video picture of the check out area. Most front end cameras are positioned to see the cashier, the cash drawer, items purchased and the customer. With all these elements recorded, a store owner can review this scene and with one view verify the check out was legitimate.
How an Interface Stops Theft
The cash register interface as an overt security system (clerks and customers know the interface is in place and how it works) can deter theft by the fear of being caught along with a permanent record. This system as a covert security system (hidden system) will not prevent the theft but will record the event for later prosecution.
In either case, the register interface system will allow the recording of all transactions for later review for such thefts as sweethearting, substitute scanning, no rings, short changing, short rings, and pilfering.
Types of POS Theft
Sweethearting : This requires an accomplice or “sweet heart” that loads up expensive items for check out. The clerk then either does not ring up certain items or rings up the items but charges a lower price than marked. This type of loss shows up later as inventory shrink.
Substitute Scanning: This is usually a type of sweethearting that is done in stores that have scanning systems. The clerk fixes a scan tag of a low value item on their palm. When an item is scanned, the palm tag is read and not the actual item. Substitute scanning can also be done without a sweetheart. The correct value of the sale is collected from the customer and later pulled from the register near the end of the shift. This type of theft if viewed by a convention camera system looks like the clerk was ring correctly, but with the text overlay, the manager can instantly see the substitute scan.
No Rings: This is where a clerk rings nothing up and makes change from an open cash drawer or from the top of the change drawer.
Short Changing: This is where the clerk is actually cheating the customer by giving incorrect change.
Short Rings: This is where a clerk rings up an incorrect amount for an item much lower than the actual value and either immediately pockets the extra money or pulls it from the register later. Usually the clerk does not complete the sale until the customer leaves. This is because if the customer asks for a receipt or challenges the price, the clerk can cancel the entry and ring up the correct one.
Pilfering: Is taking money directly from the register and leaving the register short. This usually occurs when more than one clerk uses the same cash drawer.
As described above most of these theft practices require the ringing up of substitute or low value items or opening the drawer without a normal sale. These types of register transactions are called “exceptions”. A cash register interface can electronic watch for these types of questionable transactions and give a signal when detected. This signal can be in the form of an on-screen flag, alarm a DVR for later search or automatically turn on the camera watching that register and clerk. The most common type of exceptions monitored are no sale, voids, returns, refunds, cancels, purchases, payouts, low value sales and high value sales.
• No Sales: This is the most common exception. Some legitimate uses are making change or correcting change mistakes. The “No Sale” is always a questionable transaction. Towards the end of a shift, whether the clerk was doing short rings or any kind of pilfering, will have to remove the
accumulated money for that shift. All No Sales should be exceptions, and all in the last hour of a
shift should be reviewed.
Voids: The void is used after the customer has left and the same transaction has been voided.
The money is still in the register and will have to be removed either then or towards the end of the
Returns/Refunds: This is usually questionable when no exchange is being made and cash is
paid out. Items are pulled from inventory and fictitious refunds are given to one self, the clerk or a
Cancels: This is where a transaction is partially rung up. The clerk asks the customer for the
money and if the customer does not ask for a receipt and leaves, the clerk cancels the sale. If the
customer wants a receipt then the clerk finishes the transactions and gives the receipt.
Purchases or Payouts: This is usually in small convenience stores when they receive papers, or
other non account deliveries. The clerk rings a payout and gives the vendor cash. The clerk can be in “kahouts” with the vendor and overpay and later collect or simply make the pay out for more and keep the difference.
Pre-Exceptions or Post Exceptions
There are two schools of thought on exception monitoring. The pre-exception technique is usually for low cost situations and is most common. This is used were the exception is programmed into the text inserter or DVR and it gives an alarm when the exception is detected.
The post exception systems record all the data from all registers in an electronic file. They also will store either only the exceptions when using Pan/Tilt cameras or all the video data with fixed cameras and DVRs from all the registers. At a later date the store owner can search the database for any type of exception he may think of later. He will then have to go to the DVR at the time and watch the exception. Some sophisticated POS systems actually match this database with the correct piece of video automatically which is commonly called “POS Text Search”.
Stores & Outlets
As stated before the market for cash register interfaces is anywhere a POS device is used. There are four major categories where interfacing is most popular and yields the best results. Remember family owned and operated businesses are usually not good candidates for interfacing system sales. The businesses that are the most desirable are ones that have may low paid employees that usually work by themselves or in unmonitored areas.
• Convenience Stores
This is the most popular type of store for CCTV and register interfaces. "C" stores have low paid employees and usually work alone. Stores with gas, alcohol, and cigarettes do a high amount of cash transactions. This makes it very tempting for employees to steal. Inventory is usually done monthly and shrink is well known. This type of store is guaranteed to save half the shrink with these systems.
Monitoring a Convenience Store
In a one camera system it must always be the check out area. If two registers are in place there can be a camera on each register or one camera for both. The next important camera location is the drug isle and then the beer and wine coolers. This camera would be for shoplifting rather than employee monitoring. In heavier used stores four or more cameras can be used to monitor all isles constantly. Some high volume gas stations also monitor drive offs by cameras on the pumps as well.
Fast Food Outlets
Again we have low paid employees and almost all cash transactions. Usually more people are working together but in afternoon and evenings slow times allow for theft. These shops also have a high amount of inventory going home with employees so additional CCTV cameras are needed on rear doors. The CCTV system for this type of operation is similar to the convenience store.
Theft here is usually from sweethearting, coupon scams and short ringing. In busy times it is easy to implement these actions since managers are very busy with customers. There are generally two types of systems for groceries, Pan Tilt or Fixed camera systems.
The Pan/Tilt systems utilize domes to cover 3-5 registers. A security person monitors a lane and selects a certain cash register to monitor or has one lane with a permanent interface. More sophisticated systems monitor all lanes and move the camera to the register if an exception is occurring. This can be done by integrated systems or using alarm outputs from the interface to control the PTZ preshot inputs. This system only covers one register at a time and review of other lanes later is not possible.
The fixed camera system has one camera per lane. One interface per lane is also installed and the data is inserted into the respective camera and recorded to the DVR. This video is then fed directly into the DVR. With the DVR all data from all registers is recorded simultaneously and the exceptions highlighted. This allows review of all information of all registers later.
In large chain stores with seasonal temporary help with large ticket items, loss can be very high from store to store. In problem stores CCTV is a must. Since any single register is usually not used constantly PTZs are usually employed here. This allows the operator to watch for shoplifters since this type of theft is higher in dollar value that other type of stores. Interfacing is usually on every register or monitored on the POS network.
How Cash Register Interfacing Works
The cash register business is a unique industry in itself. There exists no standards, as a matter of fact, cash register companies go out of their way to make hardware different. This is true from company to company and even true within a company so older accessories are not compatible with the newer models. It is this fundamental fact that makes cash register interfacing such a complicated problem. One interface box can only connect to an extremely limited number of registers. The use of converter boxes are needed to translate from one format to another. Every model register has unique features that enhance the interface or cause major problems when dealing with loss prevention.
Typical Cash Register Interface Text Overlay
Most cash register interface systems contain a Text Inserter to do the text overlay on the video picture. This main box also has communication channels that can plug directly to some cash register without the need for other converters. As stated above the number of direct connections is limited and in most applications the need for a converter box is warranted. These converter boxes are almost always placed in or near the cash register. Data cable is then run from the register location back to the security room to the text inserter. The text inserter and other security equipment are then centrally located.
When POS Text Search DVRs are used the data from the cash registers or POS network can be fed directly to the DVR. The cash register data can then be inserted by the DVR for live viewing or during playback. However the inserted register data is not a permanent part of the video recording but an associated data file record simultaneously with the audio video and even alarm data.