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How to put the brakes on employee theft


According to the 2018 Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, 35% of all business fraud1 in Canada is committed by people within the organization. Some studies show that the more employees believe they will be caught, the less likely they are to steal2


Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to employee theft. Many dollars are saved when business owners and managers make prevention their top priority.


Screen all employees

Before hiring a new employee, it’s not a bad idea run both a background check and a credit check. If the individual is living beyond their means, they are more likely to engage in employee theft. And most importantly, call the applicants references (something business owners tend not to do).


Be smart with your cash

Show your employees that you’re keeping a close eye on all the money that comes into and out of your store. This includes introducing a coin and note recycler and making bank deposit drops daily. Plus, always keep at least two employees on staff to close the store at night (the buddy system).


Cards instead of keys

Key cards are not easily duplicated like their metal key cousins. Better yet, install the ADT Command Panel and control the locks on your company door from your phone.


Limit who can ring up employee sales

By giving a small number of employees the authority to ring up other employees' sales, you’re reducing opportunities for collusion. Employees also shouldn’t be permitted to write up, ring up or wrap purchases for themselves or relatives. And before leaving the store for the day, they should have their purchase receipt verified by a manager.


Install a closed-circuit television system

Not only can you monitor employees, it also serves as a very strong deterrent. When employees know they’re being watched, they’re less likely to steal.


Review daily exception reports

Highlight excessive voids, overruns, no sales, refunds and other suspicious activity. You should also limit the number of "NO SALE" rings by defining under what special conditions they will be permitted.


Monitor your trash

Inspect the dumpster at random, but at least weekly. Employees often steal goods by concealing it in the outgoing garbage and then retrieving it later from the dumpster outside.


At the end of the day, theft prevention come down to the people you hire. Hire good employees, get to know them and treat them well. It’s much easier to steal from someone you don’t know, but it’s a lot tougher when you respect the person.


1. PWC Canada

2. Psychology Today