Monday, October 22, 2007

Restaurant Tip Fraud

There are several blogs I read regularly and Schneier on Security is one. Today Bruce blogged a link to an article on restaurant tipping fraud. This revolves around the awful idea of tipping on the credit/debit card. I think it is awful for two reasons:

  1. You have to trust the restaurant owner to give the tip to the server.
  2. You have to trust the server to put into the card reader the amount you put on the receipt.
The problem is described on this thread online and involves servers changing the tip to give them more money. A suggested solution is to encode a check sum into the last digit of the total. While this is a smart solution to the "problem" it just makes me even more glad we have chip and pin machines.

This kind of fraud cannot happen with Chip and Pin (at least as it runs in the restaurants I have been to in the UK). With the systems I have used the waiter/waitress brings the card machine round and you type into the machine the tip you want to give and then enter your PIN.

While Chip and PIN is not perfect and it can still be misused the tip is printed on the receipt so hand changing it would not help.


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