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Wireless Retail Blog

Trending news and best practices for the savvy wireless retailer

Understanding Methods of Employee Theft

Even with the most diligent and thorough screening programs for new employees, it’s inevitable that a few bad apples get through, which makes employee theft a major area of concern for restaurants, retailers and other establishments that handle large amounts of money. CBS News reports that nearly one-third of all employees commit some form of employee theft. So it’s important to understand how these (hopefully) petty thieves are taking hard-earned money out of your business.

The best way to monitor and capture data that may indicate employee theft or fraud in the first place is to implement an advanced video capture system that not only allows you to monitor your operations in real time from any location but also provides the tools to recognize outliers that trigger an investigation.

Cash and Carry

While employee theft is getting more sophisticated as dishonest employees find inventive ways to bypass complex procedures, some are still unsophisticated enough to simply drop their hand in the till. Closed-circuit video cameras have been the common go-to method to keep an eye on cash registers, but new systems are more advanced and can bring greater convenience and new features. With live streams from Internet-connected cameras, these systems allow for offsite viewing, complex analysis to spot patterns, and other enhancements that can boost your loss prevention strategy.

Stealing Stuff

Whether it’s dropping a few iPods into a duffel bag or loading a case of steaks into their personal station wagon, physical merchandise is a highly attractive temptation for potential thieves. This is another area where video-driven monitoring and analysis can help you track your merchandise from delivery to point-of-sale.

Fraudulent Returns

An employee gains possession of an expensive item through fraudulent means and then has the cheek to return the item for cash at their very place of business, or processes cash refunds for items that never existed in the first place. An advanced video monitoring system can add the ability to instantly search and identify thousands of refund transactions for those where no customer was present during the transaction. It’s also wise to place limits on employees’ discounted purchasing to prevent thousands of dollars of merchandise being purchased at a discount and then returned for full price by the employee or a proxy.

Cheating on Time Sheets

We’re not sure if this qualifies as a new method, since gaming time sheets is a scheme as old as industry itself. We recommend investing in new biometric identification systems that bar work buddies from clocking in and out for each other.

Stealing Information

Believe it or not, some business owners don’t see their information as a commodity. That’s foolish because your company information might be the most valuable thing you have. Information that could be damaging to your company in the wrong hands might include customer lists, internal office memos, or proprietary products, service, software or other data. A simple USB drive can carry terabytes of data out the door in an employee’s front pocket, so setting up a system to monitor the flow of data and implementing thorough internal and external controls for access is a must.

Operating Under the Radar

A recent study of employee theft in Cincinnati, Ohio uncovered the disturbing fact that of several hundred small businesses that reported experiencing employee theft, only 16 percent reported the crime to the police. Regardless of how complex an employee’s schemes are for committing theft, it requires that they operate under the radar and don’t provide evidence of their crime. Setting up a complex monitoring system and investing in the time to log and investigate extraordinary purchases, returns, or other events during point-of-sale or day-to-day operations just might save your company some money in the long run.

About the Author — Brad Wright

Brad is responsible for helping Envysion’s wireless customers understand the best ways to use video based business intelligence to combat losses. In his time at Envysion he has dedicated himself to researching and consulting with wireless dealers to understand the drivers behind how they lose money. Brad’s background as a customer relations manager for Avnet and GE and a VP of Business development for several startup companies lends a unique perspective on how to manage customers and employees, so that the companies best interests are top of mind. Brad played varsity lacrosse and earned his Bachelors in Psychology from Bucknell University.

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