This Waitress Used Customers’ Receipts To Scam Huge Tips Off Them
As anyone who works in a restaurant can tell you, waiters and waitresses are often underpaid. Most rely on tips in order to pay the bills, which makes every work day a gamble. Even though most people make sure to leave something, there’s always a chance that they might short the waiter. Still, that’s no excuse to forge tips, which is exactly what one North Carolina waitress was caught doing.
Her scam was a little different than most. Prior to, you’ve probably heard stories of waitstaff adding numbers to the actual receipt, so they’d be charged on the customer’s credit card. In their eyes, the customer might not realize that the employee had added a digit or forged the amount on the tip line. This is especially true if they failed to take the customer copy home with them.
In this case, the waitress, identified as Leah Marie Wehrmann by Citizen Times, didn’t take her extra money from her customers. Instead, she took it from the burger restaurant where she worked.
Curious about how that works? It’s a little shady, and very easy to miss, unless you’re a very astute manager. Wehrmann reportedly bought prepaid Visa cards, and used those to add really big tips to the customer’s check.
As she knew the limit on each card, she knew that it’d take the system some time to bounce back and report that the funds weren’t actually available. Which, according to some, is still a little confusing.
After The Takeout, who identified the restaurant as being Juicy Lucy’s Burger Bar And Grill, reported on the story, plenty of people had questions. For one, was this just for customers who paid in cash?
“Sounds like she would get the tip money cashed out from the credit cards at the end of the day,” a commenter by the username of Darth Credence wrote. “When the restaurant tried to charge the cards, there wasn’t enough money to pay for the tip, so it would have been declined. Therefore, the money would have actually been from her employer, if I understand this correctly.”
The balance on the cards was likely enough to cover the actual cost of the meal.
It’s just the extraordinary tip that became a problem, which the restaurant was then responsible for.
But even if she did scam the customers, sometimes charges don’t immediately appear online. It’s often hard to figure out if your own information was stolen based on how long processing takes.
Again, you’d assume that someone would catch this, especially since it wasn’t a one-time occurrence. Wehrmann reportedly tried this scam at least 14 times. It’s a shame if she really needed the money to survive, but obviously it was illegal no matter what.
The tips were a bit crazy each time. The amount ranged from $59.16 to $539.58, but a majority were over $100.
She must have known the system pretty well.
At most restaurants, a check isn’t officially closed out until the second round. That’s when the waiter or waitress takes the slip with your tip amount. After that, the customer goes on their way and the restaurant starts processing the bill.
“Even an updated POS may not catch it,” pandorasmittensv.3.2 said on The Takeout. “Especially when they’re busy, many servers will run the card and then not enter the tip until they need the table again.”
Each one of those charges counts as a felony. The former waitress has a lot of trouble in front of her. All in all, she scammed $3,734.28 from the fake tips.
Scams like these may not be as common as you think, but they’re still enough to scare you into always double-checking your receipts and bills. Even though Wehrmann didn’t scam her customers directly, it’s a reminder that customers really don’t have much control after handing their money over.
When a waiter or waitress disappears with your card, you need to trust that they’ll do the right thing. And most of the time, they do.
But all it takes is one disgruntled employee who may be having financial issues to think of another plan. It makes you wonder whether or not we should just get rid of tipping and pay waitstaff a livable wage.
Not only might it cut down on crimes like this, but patrons would never have to worry if they’re tipping enough.
Because even though people assume they’re smart with current tip trends, there’s always room for improvement.
If you’re a waiter or waitress out there who assumes that customers won’t figure out whether or not you’re lying about the full cost of their bill? Just know that people are getting wiser than ever. Plus, are a few extra bucks even worth the possibility of jail time?