I’ve been in the investigations field for about 9 years now. I came from store management and loss prevention has truly been my calling. What I find the most interesting is how many people steal from their employers. Whether you run a multi-billion dollar corporation, or just a small hardware store you have been, without a doubt, a victim of a dishonest employee. How do you stop employee theft while preserving the trust and respect that your employees deserve?
The most common type of theft that I see is cash theft. It’s very easy for a cashier to skim cash right off the top. There are also several (if not hundreds) of more complex ways to steal cash from a register. If you are set up for refunds, a cashier can do what is called a “ghost refund”. In this case, a refund is processed and cash is given back to the customer… only there is no customer! Cashiers can also void transactions and short bank deposits. If you work for a large corporation, you probably have a computer program that, at the push of a button, shows you all of these potential shortages. If you are that small hardware store, it may not be that easy. Even if you had the budget for a sophisticated computer program, it’s still no match for a well-trained manager that knows how to spot, and prevent potential losses.
One thing to consider when you have a cash theft issue is that 90% of the time, the cashier will keep the excess funds in the register until the end of their shift. A simple, random audit can reveal discrepancies and help you to stop employee theft. A few months back I had this same situation present itself in one of my stores. It seemed like every shift this cashier worked, she was always a few dollars off. Not enough to be alarmed about, but enough to make me wonder. After some digging, I couldn’t find anything solid on video and decided to do a few random till audits during the next week. I didn’t announce what I was doing, or even give an explanation. Right after peak time on a Friday evening, I walked over to the cashier and asked her to accompany me to the cash office for a routine cash audit. I could see that she was visibly nervous. After counting the till, I found that she was $250 over what was expected. I sent her back to work and began frantically running through the receipts for the day. I found a $250 cash refund. When I went to the video, I saw the refund but there was no product, nor was there even a customer in front of the register. I had found my problem.
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, newer and more sophisticated methods of detecting employee theft will hit the market. I’m a firm believer in not spending more than needed to prevent unnecessary losses. By implementing a simple random audit, you can stop employee theft in your store. Furthermore, you can make sure that your hard earned money is going where it belongs, and not just lining the pockets of a dishonest worker.
For more information, contact us at Stop Employee Theft, or call 1.770.426.0547