Posts Tagged ‘Employee theft’

Employee Theft Hits Retailers Hard

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

employee background check, pre-employment screening, criminal background checkNationwide, retailers are feeling the pain of big losses due to theft—and it’s not all from shoplifters. More losses occur due to their own employees than to shoplifters, or even organized crime, according to a recent report.

The National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) revealed that in 2010, shoplifting and organized retail crime accounted for about 31% of inventory shrinkage, while thefts by employees made up a whopping 45% of losses. Another 14% of shrinkage was due to administrative error, while vendor fraud was 4% of the total.

News reports are full of employees stealing clothing, perfume, cosmetics, athletic shoes, housewares and sporting goods, and selling it on eBay, Craig’s list and other websites. In other cases, office employees with access to cash are often charged with embezzlement, or cashiers are accused of loading store debit and credit cards with cash amounts.

According to the NRSS survey, about half of gift card losses were due to dishonest employees in 2010. And it seems employees are working together to rip off their employers: the report states about 18% of internal theft cases involved collusion. Some collaborate to ring up purchases for less than the regular price, then return the merchandise later, pocketing the full amount in cash.

With sophisticated cameras and anti-theft devices, how can employees get away with stealing so much inventory from retailers? The answer is not an easy one. Each time new technology is developed, it seems, someone finds a way to circumvent it.

Loss prevention experts say employee theft is all about “opportunity.” Controlling opportunities helps cut down employee theft. Setting standards, using controls and watching employees who are suspected of wrongdoing are all important.

With the average employee theft case totaling $996, compared to shoplifting cases averaging $337, retailers have the incentive to prevent employee theft whenever possible. One way to help protect any business from employee theft is to know the background and criminal history on each new hire, by conducting thorough background checks and pre-employment screening!

As Economy Sinks, Employee Theft Rises

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Employee Theft Rises as Economy Sinks

The news is full of reports about the economy’s affect on rising crime rates in communities all over the country. Police departments are issuing warnings, and encouraging citizens to increase their security measures at home, in their cars, and when visiting ATMs. In today’s down economy, more people are hurting; and unfortunately, more people turn to stealing.

Business owners must be vigilant, too—and not only against external threats like burglaries. Your employees may be stealing more, too. While employee theft is not a new issue, studies show that it increases for employers of all sizes during tough economic times. In fact, 24% of respondents to a study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity reported that internal theft of company-owned items in their workplaces had risen during the current economic crisis. And 18% responded an increase in monetary theft, such as cash or padding expense reports.

Whether they’re taking company-owned items like office supplies or food, products they produce, electronic equipment or cash, employees’ illegal activity is a huge problem for employers.

Often, it’s highly regarded employees who turn to stealing when the economy is bad. They might be feeling the pressure of an unemployed spouse or partner. Attitudes can suffer when there is more stress at home or when workloads increase, or wages decrease. Layoffs affect even the employees who survive them.

Other employees might feel they are underpaid and deserve a little “extra,” or they may see their coworkers stealing and getting away with it. They may feel slighted by declines in perks or benefits. Some might even feel vindictive for friends who have been laid off from the company, so they “get even” by stealing.

Whatever the cause, communication remains vitally important, especially during times of crisis. If additional security measures become necessary, address the issue directly with employees. Conduct more frequent audits and require receipts with expense reports.

Most importantly, when it’s time to hire again, employment background checks will help you hire honest employees, who are more likely to remain honest—in good and bad economies.