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6 ways to protect yourself from restaurant tip theft

When you go out to eat at a restaurant and pay by credit card, what should you do with your receipts? Leave them on the table or throw them away?

When you go out to eat at a restaurant and pay by credit card, what should you do with your receipts? Leave them on the table? Throw them away?

Paddy Hirsch, senior producer of personal finance at Marketplace, says you should always keep your customer copy. In order to further protect yourself against the rare wayward restaurant employee intent on altering your tip, follow the steps below:

1. Write your tip amount clearly and boldly on the restaurant receipt copy; this will make it more difficult to alter.

2. If you are not going to leave a tip, write "0.00"

3. If you are leaving a cash tip, write "cash"

4. Never leave the "Total" section blank.

5. If you suspect your tip amount has been altered, contact the restaurant first to ask for refund.

6. If the restaurant does not cooperate, contact your credit card company to dispute the discrepancy.

To hear more about how to protect yourself and the future of paper receipts in an increasingly digital world, click on the audio player above.

About the author

Paddy Hirsch is a Senior Editor at Marketplace and the creator and host of the Marketplace Whiteboard. Follow Paddy on Twitter @paddyhirsch and on facebook at www.facebook.com/paddyhirsch101
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Another technique is to use a consistent total pattern. That way you can scan your credit card for numbers that don't conform to the rule. For example, creating a mirror'd number. If the tip + bill comes to $12.00 add an extra .12 to get 12.12 or .21 to get 12.21. There are tip calculators that do this automatically, but they're not necessary. Other tip calculators do a checksum. Adding the digits and casting off 9s is one method. For our $12, you'd add an extra .06, i.e. 1+2+6 = 9.

Not an endorsement, just an example: http://www.samir.ca/tip/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casting_out_nines#Addition

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