Seasonal Snakes: Two Types Of Employee Theft And How to Stop Them
The Holidays are here, and that means it’s already time to be filling your stores to the brim with boxes and bodies; that is, merchandise and employees of course. Hiring for the holiday season to meet the demands of the fourth quarter is a good tradeoff for those looking to make some extra money for the holidays. As the case goes with an increase in shopping, the influx of customers brings an influx of shoplifters. With an increase in hiring for the season, there is an increase of bad eggs looking to get a job where they can exploit their employers. Obviously this doesn’t mean that all folks looking for seasonal work are rotten, but it is likely that you will encounter at least one or two that can do a great deal of damage through employee theft. Below is a brief list of two impactful forms of holiday hell-raising these bad employees try to cause.
Cash theft is a type of employee theft that I see frequently around this time of year as a loss prevention professional. It is pretty obvious what it consists of: associates taking money either from the till, the fund bags, or the safe. Cash theft is an alluring option for many thieving employees because it is liquid and can be transferred into anything the thief wants like gifts and bill payments. Likewise, those involved in the cash handling process will see a lot of it passing through their hands during the holiday season. It doesn’t take long for them to realize how much your business is taking in, and it makes it easier for a dishonest person to rationalize their desires to take some.
Protect yourself with strict cash controls. Only allow a certain amount of cash to be in the drawer at any given time (also to prevent external cash theft), ensure dual-verification of till amounts by more than one employee, enforce register accountability and hold employees accountable for their tills! If you think it is worth the investment, get a camera surveillance system to monitor employees at the register. Remember, most employees steal cash before they leave the store for a break, lunch, for the day, or forever!
Pass-offs, also known as free-bagging, is another form of employee theft you are likely to see around this time of year. This also constitutes as a form of external theft when the “customer” receiving the unpaid-for goods is in on the scam (and they usually are). Employees can be pretty creative when it comes to handing off free merchandise to their friends at the point of sale. Some employees will ring the purchase, only to process a return or cancellation later for their friends, either refunding a credit card or refunding cash and keeping it for themselves. Other employees might pretend to scan items for their friends (especially if your store has surveillance cameras), when they actually are not, and may take in an amount of money far less than what the merchandise is worth. They may also scan most items, skipping only one or two very expensive items.
The methods are endless. Preventing this form of theft is quite difficult. It is easier to catch it after it happens, than it is to prevent it. Having a surveillance system will deter a few dishonest employees. The next best option is to perform sales audits regularly to catch discrepancies early on. If you notice expensive, popular items missing, make sure it’s reflected in your sales. If not, start an employee theft investigation.
For more information contact us: Employee Theft or call 1.770.426.0547