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How to Protect My Business From Employee Theft and Fraud

How to Protect My Business From Employee Theft and Fraud - tattletale portable alarm systems

Employee theft might seem like a rarity, but 75% of employees admit they have stolen from their employer on at least one occasion. Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, almost one-third of businesses fail as a direct result of employee fraud or theft. That means jobsite security isn’t optional for long-term success: It’s a basic requirement.

The Different Kinds of Employee Theft

Jobsite security requires a multifaceted approach, as staff members can steal from the businesses they work for in multiple ways, detailed below:

Theft of Data

Depending on the type of business you operate, data theft can damage your bottom line or cause life-threatening leaks of personal information, such as private health records or classified national security secrets. Employees can steal proprietary designs, client credit cards or Social Security numbers, and hard-gathered lists of customer leads.

Theft of Inventory

Employees will typically steal inventory for both personal use and to sell for cash. Suppose your business deals in high-value items but doesn’t have basic defenses, such as limited-access locking storage or a quality security system rental installed. In such a case, your merchandise becomes that much easier to pilfer.

Theft of Cash

Whether an employee steals cash from registers, petty cash safes, customers (via overcharging and keeping the difference), or skims money from unregistered sales or transactions, theft of cash is an easy crime for owners to miss. As such, there must be enough checks and balances in place to catch missing income or customer overcharges.

Theft of Payroll

While slightly different from cash theft, payroll theft operates on the same principle. Generally, it is a kind of theft that is perpetrated by staff with access to payroll. Employees in the finance department, for instance, can cash employee checks or write fraudulent checks to directly steal business funds.

Theft of Company Services

Lastly, theft of company services is a form of theft that is more subtle. It involves employees using company services or resources for personal use without permission. Such theft can range from using the company’s long-distance phone service for unauthorized personal calls to having fellow employees run errands for them on company time.

How to Reduce Employee Theft

Improving jobsite security involves making changes in policy, procedure, and infrastructure in the following ways:

Outlining Theft Consequences

You need to have your anti-theft policy in writing, and it must clearly state the ramifications of stealing from the company.

These actions need to be enforceable, too. In other words, theft should result in a clear and easily understood set of employer actions, such as:

  • Immediate termination of the employee
  • Filing a police report
  • Taking legal action to ensure restitution

Your anti-theft policy needs to be discussed with all current and prospective employees.

Screening Potential Hires Thoroughly

Any new applicants should first go through a background check and a drug test. At the same time, ask for and contact their references. Verify the applicant’s Social Security number, education, and employment history, then have a face-to-face interview and give the applicant a thorough personality and skills assessment. If your business deals in sensitive data, you may even institute lie detector tests (if your state permits).

Tracking Cash Flow and Inventory

Money and products should not be able to move without a monitoring system in place. The manager(s) and owner(s) of the business should know exactly who has access to company funds, cash, and inventory storage. Never allow employees to handle any transactions made by friends or family. And add inventory management software to monitor the location and amount of items in stock.

Being Involved

Being an owner doesn’t mean you have to micromanage or hover over your employees. But it does mean that jobsite security improves when you take a hands-on approach with your business and get to know your employees on a personal level. Doing so will give you insight into employee behavior and show potential thieves that they’re not just stealing from a faceless corporation. They’re stealing from you.

Give Employees a Reason to Care

If your staff has low morale or simply hates working for you, they’ll be much less likely to care if one of their fellow coworkers is stealing. As such, you want to make your employees feel like they matter to the organization.

Give them a voice and reward them for their work. This can come in the form of bonuses, perks for exemplary performance, social and team-building events, and even time off. Not only will employees be less likely to steal from a business that cares for their needs, but coworkers will actively deter others from harming the business through fraud and theft.

Install a Security System

Whether you purchase a security system outright or spring for a security system rental, you need to have a way to keep watch over your property. This can include security cameras to catch thieves in the act, devices that text you when someone has made unauthorized access into a building, room, or computer, and even systems that directly alert the police.

Don’t Let Your Business Be a Victim — Let tattletale® Catch Thieves

One of the most important purchases you can make to protect your business is a robust security system. Regardless of whether you buy or choose to get a security system rental, tattletale®’s portable alarm systems provide an efficient, effective way to catch thieves and defend your bottom line. Find out what tattletale®’s state-of-the-art security products can do for you by contacting us today!

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