More Than An Internal Threat – Employee Theft
Having employees that you can trust is one of the most important objectives of running a successful business. Knowing that you can count on them while they are not supervised to accomplish tasks on time, to manage your stores, and to complete projects is what keeps your business successful. Employee theft is one bad side effect of poor hiring decisions, but having an employee that isn’t trustworthy can damage your business in more ways than you might initially expect.
First of all, employees can steal. This seems like an obvious comment, and most business owners are aware of employee theft. Background screening and following up with references is the best line of defense to avoid people that will take advantage of you, but it is often overlooked. Likewise, even when hiring someone based on a trusted employee’s recommendation, they should be thoroughly screened to protect your merchandise and cash assets. It doesn’t take much time for a corrupt coworker to do some serious damage; taking a large quantity of cash and disappearing, or slowly taking merchandise here and there for just a little while. However, they can threaten more than just your inanimate assets.
Egregious employees can damage the workplace environment by stealing from their fellow associates. This type of internal theft doesn’t directly damage your profitability, but should not be scoffed at. When honest employees cannot feel like they and their belongings are safe and secure at work, they are likely to move onto another job. Not only that, but their word of mouth may have an impact on your ability to hire new talent, and even keep shoppers out of your store.
Finally, perhaps one of the worst situations to be faced with is the employee that will steal from your customers. Although it would be boldly brazen for a employee to steal physical assets from customers, some find it worth the risk to compromise customer credentials. What is being referred to here is credit card fraud and identity theft—also technically a “data breach” by the standards of some organizations.
Honestly, it can be quite easy. Employees are put into a position of trust not only by managers and business owners, but also by customers. With a trusting customer processing a transaction at your store, and a crook behind the counter, it is possible for them to write down credit card numbers, text them to sketchy friends, and attempt to use the customer’s account to fund fraudulent shopping sprees. Sound far-fetched?
There are a number of incidents with which I am personally aware involving waiters and waitresses doing that very thing when taking customers tabs to the register. A particular ring would use a skimming device that was installed into the card-swiping terminal by an employee, taking and logging credit card numbers as they were swiped. The team would then turn around and make new, fake cards with those numbers. Another woman simply swiped cards into her smart phone, using a tool anyone can buy for roughly twenty dollars at the local electronics store.
The sad fact is that it is not hard for questionable people to steal financial information from those they are serving, especially when they are put in that position of trust. That makes it all the more important to protect your customer base and your business reputation by hiring smart, and keeping internal theft, in all of its forms, out of your business.
For more information contact us: Stop Employee Theft or call 1.770.426.0547