How do they steal? Let me count the ways

Theft you will always have with you. The fact is that people steal. They will steal from you. They will steal from you no matter what you do.

You can throw up your hands and let the thieves have their way. Or do something about it.

Start by being aware of some of the many ways that employees steal. It comes to you courtesy of one of the standard professional references: The Small Business Fraud Manual from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Here are just a few ways that employees can get into your pocket.

They steal cash. They may take money right out of the till or the petty cash fund.

They steal by setting up phony vendors and paying them. This is a bit more sophisticated, but very common. Putting in for more pay than they deserve is a variation of this one.

They steal inventory or supplies. Sometimes this is low-cost items, like office supplies. Sometimes it’s merchandise or machines worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

They steal by using equipment for their personal needs. This can be anything from hand tools or the office copier to giant construction equipment and sophisticated computers.

What can you do? Start with good hiring.

Use criminal background checks and pre-employment credit checks to help you spot potential trouble. Be sure to check references.

Set up policies and procedures that make it hard to steal or misuse equipment and that make it easy to catch when it happens. Your accountant can offer guidance on good fraud prevention practice.

Enforce the policies you have. Just having a policy or procedure in the manual isn’t enough. Use it. Simple checklists can help you stay focused and thorough.

Make it a policy to run background checks and credit checks on people in positions of trust, especially those who handle money or authorize expenditures. Don’t just do this when they’re hired. Update your checks on a regular basis. If you spot signs of trouble, dig a little deeper.

There will always be thieves and good people who steal “just this once.” But you can use good business practice and fraud prevention tools to keep your business as safe and profitable as possible.

3 thoughts on “How do they steal? Let me count the ways

  1. Robert

    Improved policy checks and added security functions (i.e. cameras placed on inconspicuous places) will help stop theft.

    However, it will not completely stop it, but lessen the chances of you being robbed of money and items. It’s at least better than having your items snuffed out everyday.

  2. Lindsey Brother

    Possibly one of the most infuriating aspects of any job. We’ve had cash go missing on many an occasion. Making sure to lock everything up, make stock accountable and using cameras is the only thing we’ve successfully employed.

    As for good record checks… to an extent but all it takes is someone to have a bad day and decide that this employment isn’t for them any longer and they can turn.

    Cynical I know but maybe that’s just human nature?

  3. Chaser Cruz

    Sad to accept but it a fact that other people learn to take away money or other things because for them no decent job awaits for them. For those victims it was really alarming and safety precaution must be implemented to avoid such incidents. It is one’s obligation to be safe all the time by doing simple things such as make the door locked all the time and put all your cash in a place where it can’t be suspected to be kept.


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