If you’re going to skim cash out of the church collection plate, there are certain rules to follow. One is that you should take the money when there is nobody watching. Another rule is that you should conceal your takings carefully. But when your practice is to take only bills and hide them in your bra, you should be cautious not to scoop up some coins at the same time. There could be fallout.
In this case, there was a woman who was in charge of taking up the collection from the members in the church balcony. She would walk up the stairs and pass the plate. She would then walk back down to join the other ushers as they took the collection to the counting area.
But she was out of sight for a few moments while on the stairs. She made use of this time by taking cash from the collection plate and hiding in in her dress.
One Sunday, she inadvertently included a few coins with the currency she stole. The other ushers discovered her scheme when coins began falling out of her dress. Oops.
This is another example of skimming, where money is taken before it appears on the church books. These cases are hard to discover because they don’t have any entries on the books to investigate. So the better way to deal with them is in prevention. Here, it would be important to have everyone taking up the collection in view of at least one other at all times. Depending on the construction of the church, this might not be possible with a balcony. Instead, there should be a drop safe near the foot of the stairs for balcony members to use. They could place their contribution in the safe as they arrive at church. Later, two ushers could retrieve the cash on their way to the counting room.
[Last week’s post also recommended a drop safe. This is because they’re handy for preventing skimming. We will be loosely following the different types of fraud as we follow the money. Skimming is the most common in collection fraud.]