Employee theft refers to the misuse or utilization of employer’s assets/resources by an employee without the employer’s consent that, in other words, is equivalent to stealing from the company. Employee theft is a trending issue for a myriad of companies, but the details of corporate theft reports aren’t usually publicized.
The stolen goods might be in the form of cash, supplies, false payrolls or even time theft when the employees are paid for the time they did not actually work. This happens during the working time when it is difficult to track down the progress of the employee or when timekeeping records are violated by the employee if he/she has access to them. If the theft incident happens once, it is extremely likely that it happens in a recursive manner and may prove deteriorating for the company’s bottom line.
Most common offenders
In many cases, the managers themselves are the offenders since they are high up in the hierarchy where there is less or no supervision over their activities.
The employees working directly under the finance departments are quite subjected to this crime as they can forge company checks for their own personal use. They might collaborate with vendors who are able to produce fake records for bills and other financial transactions that involve a huge amount of money being processed illegally.
Computer programmers are also one of the common performers of employee thefts as they can hack into the employer’s machines and install malicious software that might steal important information such as credit card numbers and other information that might grant them access to the company’s financials.
Prevention of employee theft
Employee theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S.A. and it has already resulted in billions of dollars lost, so it is extremely important for the companies to find ways to prevent such crimes. Some of these ways might include:
- Compare physical inventory against actual shipment records;
- Minimize the use of paper cash – shift to credit cards where necessary;
- Avoid open posts for manager recruitments – bring in trustworthy people to handle financial affairs;
- Perform regular cash or payroll audits;
- Implement security monitoring system through tracking devices such as cameras to monitor employee activity;
- Install webloggers to trace suspicious activities on computers over the Internet; and
- Train employees to recognize the common behaviors of thieves so they can catch the people who might try to commit such crimes in their presence.