Software to Facilitate Retail Tax Fraud
Thanks to a software program called a zapper, even technologically illiterate restaurant and store owners can siphon cash from computer cash registers and cheat tax officials.
Zappers alter the electronic sales records in a cash register. To satisfy tax collectors, the tally of food orders, for example, must match the register’s final cash total. To hide the removal of cash from the till, a crooked business owner has to erase the record of food orders equal to the amount of cash taken; otherwise, the imbalance is obvious to any auditor.
The more sophisticated zappers are easy to use, according to several experts. A dialogue box, which shows the day’s tally, pops up on the register’s screen.
In a second dialogue box, the thief chooses to take a dollar amount or percentage of the till. The program then calculates which orders to erase to get close to the amount of cash the person wants to remove. Then it suggests how much cash to take, and it erases the entries from the books and a corresponding amount in orders, so the register balances.