Shopping Discussion

Beware of grocery scammers

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May 28, 2012
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Saskatoon
Jucius Maximus wrote: Interesting. Around my area (GTA West) they have a packer less than 50% of the time.
Most of the time, they transfer the groceries from your cart to the previous cart, so you rarely end up leaving with your original cart. There are exceptions, like if you are pre-scanned or there is something really heavy in it...but I've even seen them manhandle really heavy stuff into another cart. It's funny how Costco policies are different amongst regions...
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I couldnt see how this would work at a place like No Frills. Everyone has their eyes pegged on the dividers. This might work like 1 out of a 1000 customers who suffer from dimentia, Parkinsons or Alzheimers, lol.
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This is actually an old scam but it doesn't make sense at Costco where your receipt is checked. Yes, they do check at Brampton Costco.

Twenty years ago when I worked at a large grocery store, this was a running scam. They would target someone with a large order. They would remove the divider between the orders, pack their groceries and then leave. They wouldn't just take one item. The cashier, thinking it was all one order, would keep ringing things in until the guy behind, got hit with a much bigger total than expected. By the time it was found out, the scammer was long gone. They used to go store to store doing this and we were warned to look out for it and how to avoid it.
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Cheap Cat wrote: This is actually an old scam but it doesn't make sense at Costco where your receipt is checked. Yes, they do check at Brampton Costco.

Twenty years ago when I worked at a large grocery store, this was a running scam. They would target someone with a large order. They would remove the divider between the orders, pack their groceries and then leave. They wouldn't just take one item. The cashier, thinking it was all one order, would keep ringing things in until the guy behind, got hit with a much bigger total than expected. By the time it was found out, the scammer was long gone. They used to go store to store doing this and we were warned to look out for it and how to avoid it.
Am I the only one having trouble picturing how this is supposed to work?

Also Costco does have "checkers" at the exit at the one nearest to me out in Etobicoke however they only spend about 5 seconds eyeing the cart, do not touch or move anything in the cart and that's that... I don't really see how they can do any kind of thorough job the way they do it with us. Maybe it's because we're always with little kids and don't look the thievin' type?
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BinaryJay wrote: Am I the only one having trouble picturing how this is supposed to work?
The person behind the scammer in the line is distracted putting their stuff on the conveyor belt or dealing with a kid or talking on the phone (something that wasn't an issue 20 plus yrs ago). This could be why they jumped in front of the OP. The cashier sees it all as one order (done on purpose by the scammer) so keeps ringing things in. The scammer moves all the way to the end of the bagging area and bags things putting them in their shopping cart. Cashier thinks they are together. Scammer walks away with the cart of groceries. The customer behind may not even realize until given the total as the scammers stuff is gone

Besides being warned about this, it happened to one of our cashiers. It was a ring and bag set up so the scammer just had to take the bagged groceries and put them in his cart and take off. The scammer had a large grocery order.
BinaryJay wrote: Also Costco does have "checkers" at the exit at the one nearest to me out in Etobicoke however they only spend about 5 seconds eyeing the cart, do not touch or move anything in the cart and that's that... I don't really see how they can do any kind of thorough job the way they do it with us. Maybe it's because we're always with little kids and don't look the thievin' type?
They count items. I have had them look for an item that was hidden underneath another item. A good checker can do it very efficiently and since Costco has a very low staff turnover, they tend to be very experienced and thus efficient. They once caught an item that didn't scan in my cart. I hadn't noticed it nor did the cashier as she had pulled it across the scanner. I have seen them catch other mistakes, of course they didn't catch the one time I had something scan twice.
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Mars2012 wrote: Most of the time, they transfer the groceries from your cart to the previous cart, so you rarely end up leaving with your original cart. There are exceptions, like if you are pre-scanned or there is something really heavy in it...but I've even seen them manhandle really heavy stuff into another cart. It's funny how Costco policies are different amongst regions...
This sounds more like Sam's Club than Costco. They do the cart transfer thing at Sam's in the US. They didn't do that when they had locations here but they did pre-scan. I have never seen Costco pre-scan orders and I always use the same cart I started with. They just scan the heavy items in your cart.
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May 9, 2006
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Costco, the carts follow you. You keep your heavy items in the cart.

Honestly, I never had a checker spend more than a few seconds. If you have lots of items or items buried in a box, it's impossible for them to do an accurate check in the 5 seconds or less they take to look into your cart.

To me, this seems like a viable scam. If you get caught at the register, there's no ramifications. Our products simply got mixed up. If you get caught at the checkers, you just end up paying for the item (or not), but there's no way the checkers know what you did. Success may vary, but if there's no chance of being caught (as in get in trouble by the law), then I'm not surprised people do this. Our society is filled with way too many bottom feeders.

Also someone too busy on the phone makes them an easy mark. I agree with Cas77. Sounds like OP was targeted.
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Ottomaddox wrote: This makes no sense to me. It's the one store where someone will be double checking the receipts as you leave.
Every time I go, I grab a box and stuff all my items in that box. From their perspective, they can see only a couple of items.

Point here is, they don't check receipts/items as they should.
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I think door checkers are more of a psychological deterrent than actually looking for unpaid items. There are probably less thefts because of people at the door checking, so people probably think they won't take the chance.
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boyoflondon wrote: Every time I go, I grab a box and stuff all my items in that box. From their perspective, they can see only a couple of items.

Point here is, they don't check receipts/items as they should.
Point here is that Costco is one of the few places that _does_ check receipts, even if it's just a cursory glance most times. And not only would the scammers receipt be checked, but so would the victims, so there's twice the chance of getting caught. This scam simply doesn't make sense in Costco.
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Maybe instead of a scam, these women were fed up with OP being on his phone and holding the line up, not paying attention and taking forever to put his items on the belt, so they decided to teach him a lesson. Seems more viable then this "scam" you speak of.

At the Costcos i've ever been to, this type of thing would be impossible to accomplish as they load your cart for you.
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Nov 28, 2013
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Doesn't seem like a scam. More like they were seeing if you'd catch it since you didn't 'appear' to notice them cutting in front of you.

Why would 2 people work a scam that requires them to pay for other goods themselves just to get 10-20 dollars of free food, at the risk of getting caught by at multiple 'checkpoints' (bagger, receipt checker).

Plus unless they're using fake Costco membership cards, they'd have to give up their real identities. So really another checkpoint, since the cashier will also do a minimal check to see they match the Costco membership card pic.

Paranoid much OP.
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cferguson23 wrote: Maybe instead of a scam, these women were fed up with OP being on his phone and holding the line up, not paying attention and taking forever to put his items on the belt, so they decided to teach him a lesson. Seems more viable then this "scam" you speak of.

At the Costcos i've ever been to, this type of thing would be impossible to accomplish as they load your cart for you.
Sounds like the case to me. They probably decided they didn't want the thing anymore and decided to play a joke on the OP for being a one of those-kind-of-people and just offloaded their unwanted items onto him.
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Cheap Cat wrote: The person behind the scammer in the line is distracted putting their stuff on the conveyor belt or dealing with a kid or talking on the phone (something that wasn't an issue 20 plus yrs ago). This could be why they jumped in front of the OP. The cashier sees it all as one order (done on purpose by the scammer) so keeps ringing things in. The scammer moves all the way to the end of the bagging area and bags things putting them in their shopping cart. Cashier thinks they are together. Scammer walks away with the cart of groceries. The customer behind may not even realize until given the total as the scammers stuff is gone

Besides being warned about this, it happened to one of our cashiers. It was a ring and bag set up so the scammer just had to take the bagged groceries and put them in his cart and take off. The scammer had a large grocery order.



They count items. I have had them look for an item that was hidden underneath another item. A good checker can do it very efficiently and since Costco has a very low staff turnover, they tend to be very experienced and thus efficient. They once caught an item that didn't scan in my cart. I hadn't noticed it nor did the cashier as she had pulled it across the scanner. I have seen them catch other mistakes, of course they didn't catch the one time I had something scan twice.

Sorry, this scam could EASILY work at 2 costco's I visit regularly. The checkers spend about 3 seconds on the receipt if you're lucky, and sign off on it. No doubt they are looking for high priced items.

Let's not pretend the checkers at Costco check every item vigilantly and this would be stopped at the door. It wouldn't.
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Wrestlemania wrote: They are AHEAD of you. They are having their items scanned and paying for it. You are BEHIND THEM next in line. Your groceries are divided by the divide stick. They place an item of theirs on your side. Once the cashier scans their item on your bill, now they can grab that item and place it in their cart.
Oh geez. I watch the items being scanned for me and watch them going into my cart if I am not doing it.

If you don't want to pay attention then anyone can scam you using anyone of a million different methods!
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cferguson23 wrote: Maybe instead of a scam, these women were fed up with OP being on his phone and holding the line up, not paying attention and taking forever to put his items on the belt, so they decided to teach him a lesson. Seems more viable then this "scam" you speak of.

At the Costcos i've ever been to, this type of thing would be impossible to accomplish as they load your cart for you.
Costco's I've been to used to load your cart all the time. Now it's 60-70% of the time when I visit. Sometimes they do, and sometimes I have to load my own cart. If you're loading you're own cart, the cashier is just scanning items, pushing them through, and moving on to the next item. Again, the scam would be possible in this situation.
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I also think the ignorant customer just didn't want it and made it OPs problem instead of making it a last minute store return. They thought it was an easier (embarrassing?) method of sweeping the last minute issue under a rug rather than leaving it at the cash. It sounds stupid, but people are.
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eonibm wrote: Oh geez. I watch the items being scanned for me and watch them going into my cart if I am not doing it.

If you don't want to pay attention then anyone can scam you using anyone of a million different methods!
What are you talking about? I'm very sure YOU can be scammed easily with this method. How? You'll be proudly detailing your Thunder Bay plan to other customers in the line-up.
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Comment 1:

This scam seems destined to fail unless the person behind them in line is completely oblivious. When your paying for stuff for you always notice when the previous person is paying (as your waiting impatiently) and when the cashier is done and starts your order. How could you not see that the first item she scans on your order isn't yours? I guess you'll get the odd person who doesn't pay attention, but I would expect the masses would catch it every time. I wonder what the success rate on this scam would be. Pretty low?

Comment 2:

I'm totally the guy that goes to Costco for cheese :) Those big bricks of Gouda and Jalapeno Havarti are awesome and a good deal.

Comment 3:

Buggy checkers usually do it half assed. They quickly glance at the receipt, glance at the cart and check it off. I doubt if many of them actually check the whole thing. They're basically checking to see if you have receipt and if the # of items on the receipt reflects the stockpile in your cart.

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