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Avoiding employee theft

Last updated: 3.08pm, Tuesday 18th September 2018 by

Theft is, unfortunately, something that all businesses will need to account for in their lifetime, however, it is possible to prevent theft from within. 

There are several different kinds of employee theft that your business could fall victim to. These include –

-          Larceny – outright theft.

-          Skimming – diverting the business funds.

-          Fraudulent Disbursements – billing schemes, inflated expense reports and cheque tampering.

-          Embezzlement of raw materials or inventory.

-          Stealing business opportunities – misappropriation of customer lists or other trade secrets.

Usually, when internal theft occurs, there are noticeable indicators of such activity. The indicators you, as an employer or business owner, should look out for are –

-          A sudden positive change in attitude towards work and staying late.

-          A lavish lifestyle that does not align with salary.

-          Strong objections to procedural changes related to financial, inventory or supply matters.

-          Any drug or alcohol abuse problems.

-          Evidence of compulsive gambling, persistent money lending and bad cheque writing.

Before you hire anyone it is crucial that you perform the necessary background checks. This ensures that you are aware of any spent or unspent convictions potential employees may have against them. Convictions do not necessarily mean that the person is unemployable, many employers have had incredibly positive experiences in doing so.

It would be beneficial to you, as the employer, to get to know all of your employees. It is a lot easier to steal from someone you don’t know very well or have a relationship with, but stealing from someone who you have bonded with is very unlikely to occur.

Find confidential and anonymous methods of allowing your employees to point out any suspicious behaviour they may have witnessed. Locked boxes in the staff room are a good way of allowing staff to confide information they may be aware of to you or other senior members of your company.

Use a ‘buddy system’ this is a very simple method of work that ensures no member of staff is ever working alone when opening or closing the store. By implementing this method you can be sure that there is no chance of staff utilising time alone to stash any goods or cash to steal. Likewise to this, voids and returns should be overseen by another member of staff or management to make certain that transactions are being properly executed.

Monitoring the removal of waste and rubbish can also help prevent employee theft. On some occasions staff have attempted to steal from their companies by concealing stock or cash within the waste and then retrieving it when they remove the rubbish. Having someone with higher authority overseeing this or taking it upon themselves to control the waste removal would eliminate this opportunity.

Install CCTV in the workplace, making sure that it extends to staff only areas as well as the customer areas. Ensure that you advertise that there is CCTV by displaying signs, such as the ‘smile you’re on camera’ signs. If someone knows they are being watched they’re less likely to try and steal anything as they know they’ll probably be caught. Similarly to this install access controls on restricted areas in order to protect the most valuable items in your business. Not only will this help prevent employees from gaining access but it will also cause a problem to any potential burglars who try to steal from you.

At Safes International we provide the best security solutions for your business and your home. Our extensive range of products extends from CCTV and safes to strong rooms and vaults so you can be sure we have everything you could need to keep your valuables protected. To find out more about the products and services we offer visit our site at or call us on 0141 554 1170.

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