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What is employee theft and how to prevent it

Employee theft | 5 mins read
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No business owner wants to think about an employee stealing the company. Unfortunately, organizations in the United States live with the aftermath of employee theft.


Despite the possible legal ramifications, some are finding new ways to do illegal work and steal their employers. Internal theft is high on the map and shopkeepers aren't always sure what to do about it.

Fortunately, management is finding creative ways to mitigate and eliminate fraud systems. Here is an overview of employee theft and best practices to prevent it.

What is employee theft?

1. Types of theft employee theft
Employee theft refers to any theft or misuse of an employer's property for personal use and without authorization. The property includes valuables other than money, including-

  • Time theft is when an employee pays for unused hours. This is done by tampering with timepiece data or while the watch is not working.
  • Relief workers often take on office supplies such as notebooks or computers. Restaurant supply theft can involve the ingestion of cutlery or plates.
  • Money workers who steal from the cash register, commit credit card fraud, forge checks or engage in other fraudulent activities that damage the company financially, steal from an employer.
  • Theft of goods involves the theft of products or services that the company plans to sell to its customers.
  • Information workers who steal or share private company information, such as drafts or commercial data, work to steal employees.
Because there are so many opportunities for an individual to commit theft, employers must use resources effectively to protect the most valuable assets.

On the one hand, creating a culture that scares workers into borrowing a pencil or using a piece of paper is less than ideal. On the other hand, entrepreneurs are obliged to protect their assets and intellectual property, as theft causes serious damage.

2. Why does employee theft play a role?
While protecting valuable assets can be timely and costly, there are several reasons why it is important for a small business to do so. Here are some eye-opening statistics to consider-

  • According to the Better Business Bureau and Law Enforcement Statistics, 30% of businesses fail because they experience employee theft or embezzlement.
  • The ACFE Global Fraud Study found that a single case of in-house employee fraud caused a median loss of $ 145,000.
  • The US Chamber of Commerce found that 75 percent of employees steal at least once.
  • In the United States, worker theft causes losses of $ 50 billion annually.
  • A typical company loses 5% of its annual revenue to theft.
  • 22% of worker fraud results in companies losing more than $ 1 million.
  • The FBI claims that professional fraud is the fastest growing crime in the United States.

Small businesses are particularly hard hit because they have fewer resources to protect their assets and recover from financial losses. Creating a zero tolerance policy using all the safeguards available to you is essential to avoid another statistic.

How to prevent employee theft

Here are the best practices to prevent labor fraud and theft-

1. Use careful recruitment procedures
Make sure you do background checks and drug tests for all new hires before they start work. Those struggling with addiction are statistically more likely to steal to feed their habit.

Obviously, some circumstances justify giving a person a second chance. A potential new rental with an offense of 20 years ago is different from a person with a long pattern of criminal behavior.


It's about being careful and judging well. Do not hire anyone who has a higher chance of causing financial damage to the organization.

2. Implement a buddy system
Theft is more likely to occur when an employee is left alone in the business for long periods of time. Implement a buddy system for the opening and closing shifts to create accountability and reduce temptation.

Make sure that any refunds or canceled sales are witnessed by another employee or other management. Avoid hooking up close friends for the open / close shift or watching each other's transaction (s).

3. Use a monitoring system
A surveillance system is one of the most effective ways to prevent theft before it happens and to bring thieves to justice.

Place a camera in a section (s) of the store where all essential work activities are recorded. Remember to also put a monitoring system in the storage room, warehouse loading areas and point of sale station (s).

Use high definition video or a camera built into face recognition technology. This can authenticate the identity of a worker remotely or from an unusual angle.

4. Keep an eye on garbage removal
Many employees hide stolen goods in the garbage area and retrieve them after their shift is over. Because few want to go near the garbage cans, many thieves think this is the smartest place to hide stolen goods.

Allow employees to only move garbage at certain times of their shift. Implement the buddy system or use a manager to watch those who take out the trash. Finally, you reduce the possibilities by using transparent garbage bags and garbage trucks.

5. Create an employee reporting system
Implement a policy in an employee handbook to report suspicious behavior via text, email address, or phone. Employees are much less likely to steal if they know others are reporting them.

Use a reward system for those who report legitimate criminal activity. Offer a Starbucks gift card, bonus, or other type of incentive.

6. Form relationships with workers
It's harder to steal when an employee knows their employer. There is less accountability when management is not familiar with the habits, schedules, or personalities of their employees.

Talk to the workers, making sure to know all of their names. Not only does this prevent theft, it also improves morale and helps employees feel valued at work. Happier employees tend to be loyal and less likely to steal.

Conclusion

Here's what to co-workers about

  • Remember theft - Employees can steal money, time, supplies, goods, or information from their employers.
  • Employee theft causes bankruptcy, financial loss, litigation, and other problems. It is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States
  • Preventing theft can be timely or expensive, but the benefits outweigh any inconvenience or expense.
  • To prevent labor fraud / theft, use good hiring practices, implement a buddy system, set up a surveillance system, monitor garbage removal, establish a reporting / reward system, and build relationships with employees.
- Restaurant Management & Growth Blog -Employee theft