Employee Theft

Written by Jacey Harmon
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Employee theft is big business. Whether it's a cashier stealing a couple of dollars or an executive embezzling millions--employee theft adds up. Some estimate that employees steal one billion every week from employers. Numbers like that are staggering, causing many employers to believe employee theft is their main threat.

Protecting Your Business from Employee Theft

Knowledge is power, and knowing common schemes is a good way to stop employee theft. Being familiar with common theft techniques will allow owners and managers to take the appropriate steps to prevent theft in the most cost- and time-effective manner. Forging receipts is a common technique used to steal an employer's money. An employee can ring up a receipt for a lower amount than what the customer was charged, the employee then pockets the difference.

Security systems are useful for preventing and detecting internal and external theft. Items such as alarms and video surveillance are commonly used in security systems. Be careful though, a security system may have a negative effect on employee morale. Employers who are concerned about morale may find hidden cameras useful. Technology has allowed cameras to be hidden in many common business items.

Supervision goes a long ways in deterring employee theft. Most employees will not go out of their way to steal from a company. Most employee theft is basically a crime of opportunity. When you take away the opportunity, you effectively take away the crime. Periodic audits and inspections of inventory and financial books will reduce the opportunity for theft. Cross train employees so one employee does not have total control over one aspect of the organization. Most embezzlement crimes are due to an employee having total control over accounting records and practices. Having a system set up to remotely monitor employees is critical--it is unrealistic to think that management can be supervising all the time. One of the simplest ways to keep employees honest is to monitor their clock-in and clock-out times, preventing employees from clocking in early to rack up extra pay.

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