August 29th, 2014, by Shayne Feinberg
And the number one crime in America goes to…Employee Theft. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has found that 75 percent of employees have stolen at least once from their employers and scary enough, most of them are stealing on a consistent basis (http://goo.gl/6fFVCt). Organizational fraud, or better known as internal theft, has been a threat for businesses in all industries and of all sizes. Let’s start off by defining the term. Crimedoctor.com, a security consultant website hosted by Chris McGoey, defines employee theft as follows, “to commit theft, the employee must intend to permanently deprive their employer of the value of the item stolen” (http://goo.gl/pYxEnb). This definition begs the question as to WHY employees might steal? What are their intentions and motivations for depriving their employer of these stolen goods?
Stephen O’Keefe, Vice-President of Operations for the Retail Council of Canada, offers one explanation. “People steal for three reasons: need, greed and opportunity. So what is the opportunity in the minds of a criminal? It’s typically being able to get away with something without being exposed” (http://goo.gl/LHBF91).
So opportunity coupled with lax internal Company policies can play a huge role in the mind of a Company thief. NELMAR is very interested to hear what you, the readers, believe are the biggest motives behind employee theft.
As NELMAR Security Packaging Systems Inc. caters to the Loss Prevention industry; it only makes sense to address ways to actually prevent theft. What are some of the actions used by Corporations to deter theft before it occurs?
- Background Checks
Prior to hiring a new employee, thorough background checks help employers screen workers for criminal and legal history. It also helps employers avoid hiring disasters and often weeds out candidates that don’t necessarily fit with the Company’s culture.
- Controlling Access to Information
Putting in place policies that control employee access to sensitive data will help regulate the flow of information in a Company. Restricting intelligence by allowing access strictly to the people who need to know will help Companies manage sensitive information and prevent fraud from occurring.
- Video Surveillance and Alarm Systems
Various surveillance tools assist employers in safeguarding business assets and help monitor employee actions. An environment where employees are aware of surveillance can dissuade would-be thieves from risking exposure and facing more severe consequences.
- Tamper-Evident Products
Transportation of currency and sensitive documents can pose as a liability and a source of shrink for many businesses. The use of high-security tamper-evident packaging for protecting valuables is instrumental in today’s fast-paced business environment. NELMAR’s FRAUDSTOPPERTM deposit bag, for instance, helps keep employees honest by displaying clear signs of tampering if and when an attempt to compromise a package is made. Tamper-evident packaging has been proven to lower theft attempts and decrease shrink for a Company by providing maximum security while valuables are in transport.
Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent theft and shrinkage from occurring, putting in place practical solutions to deter theft can be invaluable to your Company’s morale and especially invaluable to your bottom line profits.
What are some reasons your business may be experiencing internal fraud and what have you done to combat shrinkage and employee theft?