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Doktor Jon does his bit to help
Despite the introduction of "Chip'n Pin" which is not necessarily foolproof, its particularly small retailers who suffer the pains of dodgy doings when it comes to the presentation of plastic payments, so why not try and put the blighters off.
The easiest way is to advise the trader to set up a basic CCTV surveillance package, with the camera optimised to produce very close up portrait images of shoppers at a defined signature point.
The customer is asked to stand in a certain position when signing, and their portrait image will appear in mind numbing close up on an in your face CCTV monitor, just beside the signature point.
Experience suggests that anyone with a less than clear conscience, will make their excuses and leave the premises without delay.
One possible enhancement to this would be to use two cameras, one for the (evidential quality) facial recognition bit, and the other located behind the counter for card identification purposes.
Before signing the voucher, the assistant will place the customers card in the reader position (out of reach of the customer) directly below the second 'macro' optimised camera which will then provide two seperate configuration options. On a point of interest, at least one manufacturer actually offers a camera equipped card reader in their standard product range.
Option 1 using a device called a Picture in Picture (PIP) unit; the two images are then combined on screen so that the card is shown in close up detail as a corner inserted picture, on the main portrait shot.As before the portrait only picture is on full glorious view for the customer to see, but if video recorded, the combined image will tie the cardholder to the card details, at a specific time and date.
Option 2 would require a 4 channel Digital Video Recorder (DVR), so that the 'macro' card reading camera is actually recorded full screen on channel 2 (with of course the main portrait camera being recorded on channel 1.
At it's most basic level, a Black and White portrait only camera and monitor package, should cost around £ 300 - 400 exc VAT ( $ or Euros 450 - 725 ). High resolution colour, a second camera with PIP unit, and of course the option of recording, will all add to the overall cost, but then there is always the option of hiring the equipment for a few pounds a week.
Generally speaking, this approach should be more effective as a deterrent than the presence of uniformed security guards.
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