How to Catch & Prevent Theft by Employees
Posted by Gregory DeRouanna on Nov 4, 2019
Businesses nationwide lose billions of dollars every year to employee theft, which accounts for almost 44% of theft loses at stores. Unfortunately, the number of theft cases is rising. In fact, employee theft is among the most serious problems facing small business owners across the U.S. The National Federation of Independent Business notes that an employee is up to 15% more likely to steal from you than a non-employee.
So, how do you prevent theft by employees? From company policy to CCTV security technology, here are some tips on how you can catch and prevent theft in your business:
Know Your Employees
Small business owners are encouraged to perform background checks and thoroughly screen all potential new hires. This is particularly important for employees who’re entrusted with handling money or financial records and is the first defense against employee theft. The more rigorous your employee hiring process is, the more likely you are to screen out staff who may be inclined to steal.
Talking to an employee’s references and past employers can also help you get more details that may influence your final decision. It’s good practice to keep records of employee theft coverage within your business so you can identify vulnerable areas that need more protection via direct monitoring using business surveillance cameras. You should also be alert to key indicators of potential theft by employees such as:
- Sudden devotion to work and working late hours
- A lifestyle that is beyond and well above salary levels
- Drug use and alcohol abuse
- Strong objections to procedural changes to supply, inventory, or financial matters
- Moonlighting with materials available at your business
- Evidence of persistent borrowing, compulsive gambling, or bad check writing
Communicate Your Anti-Theft Policies Clearly
Just like placing a security camera sign at the entrance of your business, the first step to deterring theft in the workplace is to tell your employees that you’re watching for it. Unfortunately, most small business owners don’t do this, assuming that it’s obvious. One of the main reasons why theft by employees is such a big problem is because employees assume that the owners are too busy to watch for theft.
Let employees know about your anti-theft procedures and supervise them to ensure that everything is being done right. When supervision is lax, theft cases often go up. You don’t have to look over their shoulder every minute, but ensure that rules are being followed. Here are some policies to keep in mind:
- Establish written guidelines that clearly outline the procedures for handling cash, equipment, inventory, and supplies
- Define access to assets such as safes and ash drawers, conduct surprise audits, and have a confidential reporting system for employees to report policy violations
- Conduct employee screening regularly to deter theft by employees
- Inform all your employees of the anti-theft policies and any updates, and ensure that disciplinary action is taken against those who go against those policies
Integrate Security Controls That Make a Difference
Security controls play a huge role in deterring and detecting employee theft. Thieves often do a risk assessment before they engage in theft. The greater the risk of being caught, the less likely they’ll commit the theft. So, having the right security measures in place is important. For maximum coverage against employee theft, consider taking these measures:
- Implement access control systems to limit employee access to specific areas
- Use personalized access codes so you can know who’s accessing different areas at any time of day or night
- Install a multi-camera video surveillance system and ensure that the security cameras are well-placed and visible to everyone to best prevent theft by employees
- For traditional locks and key access areas, make sure access is being monitored and records kept
- Change locks each time an employee is dismissed or leaves
Make Use of Technology
There are a number of new technologies that can help you combat employee theft in your business. For instance, remote viewing via IP security cameras can help you see live footage of whatever is going on inside and outside your business anytime, anywhere. You can also install software that makes it easy to flag potentially fraudulent transactions, such as after-hour purchases, voided sales, and a high number of returns.
To prevent theft by employees, you should identify the most vulnerable areas and assets in your business and consider whether there’s an effective technological solution that you can implement.
Invest in Innovative Inventory Management and POS System Technology
Instead of auditing receipts every day, week, or month to try and identify patterns of loss in your business, you can implement an innovative inventory management software and Point-of-Sale system that will accurately pull reports for you on a daily basis. These reports provide critical information you can use to ensure maximum coverage against employee theft.
Look for patterns and see exactly what is missing when doing inventory checks, as well as where money may be missing from cash registers. Taking advantage of such systems can allow you to improve business efficiency while also making it easier to monitor discrepancies and prevent theft by employees. It’s also wise to integrate all your payments to avoid any loopholes.
Provide an Anonymous Way for Employees to Report Theft
While it’s important to build trust among your employees, it’s advisable to provide a way for your employees to report cases of theft or fraud by fellow employees. If you suspect that an employee is stealing from you, contact the relevant authorities. Be cautious when making accusations or conducting investigations as any false accusation can lead to a lawsuit against you and your business.
- Take your time to verify suspicions by investigating and determining the extent of theft or fraud, and the methods used
- Make use of security camera recordings in strategic areas to prove suspicion of inventory theft (Keep in mind surveillance camera laws for businesses to protect yourself)
- Once you’ve identified the responsible employee, you can terminate them and consider taking further legal action
- If it’s a complex theft issue by employees, it’s advisable to involve legal counsel who can help you with finding additional experts like investigators and forensic accountants
Invest in Professional Surveillance Now
One of the most effective ways of preventing employee theft is investing in a professional-grade security system. By placing security cameras at strategic points like entrances and exits, reception areas, sales points, stores, warehouses, and other critical access-only areas, you can monitor employees and their interactions with customers or clients while preventing theft.
CCTV Security Pros provides security cameras and systems that you can rely on to effectively prevent theft by employees. Our security cameras provide surveillance coverage to deter employee theft. They come with free remote viewing software, and cost $0 /month in fees.
Consult with us on your system and enjoy unlimited access to support professionals for the entire life of your system. If you need help selecting the right security system for your business, start by calling CCTV Security Pros at 888.653.2288 to talk with an expert.