Employee theft is rampant these days. The numbers don’t lie. All the top investigative and security agencies have the same statistics. From 1969 to 2006, the theft rate in most companies was about 15%. The figures has risen over the past years and is now holding steady at a staggering 75%.
It isn’t always as straightforward as an employee that takes a piece of merchandise – there are many ways that employees can steal from their employers. Here, we will look at 4 ways employees steal from employers, and I’ll tell you just what a private investigator can do to help employers in this situation.
1. Theft of Products
Theft of products is popular because in the majority of cases, the perpetrators are never caught. Often, the theft gets chalked up to inventory errors, unless the employee gets careless or a large volume of product comes up missing in a single inventory period.
We’ve caught employees in the act of stealing everything you can imagine – from soda pop to 3 million dollars worth of computers. We even had a case where a guy had nearly the entire staff stealing from him.
2. Theft of Money
Money can taken be directly from the register, items can never be properly rung up, and theft can occur from bank deposit bags.
3. Theft of Time
Manipulation of time systems is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It’s as simple as not clocking out for lunch or as complicated as having another employee sign you in and out in order to get extra hours. Salaried employees may come in late and leave the office early. We have seen numerous incidents when supervisors set up “phantom employee.” They create timecards for them, generate checks and then cash them at a local liquor store or check cashing agency.
Employers pay a small fortune every year in wages that were not actually earned, and it can have a big impact on the bottom line.
4. Worker’s Compensation Fraud
We regularly investigate worker’s compensation fraud, and come up with evidence that represents the truth. Much of time, these people are genuinely hurt, but often we catch the guy out on the golf course. The video tapes don’t lie either. Make sure though the agency you retain has investigators considered as experts in this arena or they won’t be able to testify if needed in court.
What to do now?
If you suspect that an employee is stealing, resist the urge to confront them without proper evidence. This is the step that a lot of business owners forget, and it can come back to bite them later.
Trained, professional private investigators can provide this proof. Here’s how.
Business owners and management often ask us to put an undercover agent in businesses to help catch thieves. This is almost never the proper solution, because it’s expensive and time consuming. Professional interview and interrogation techniques from a trained interviewer are more enough to get a confession, and it takes only a few hours. If you have a big problem involving theft amongst multiple employees, trust me when I say that when we get one rat to jump ship, they all jump.
Performing surveillance using proper video equipment and monitoring techniques can catch theft, employee time manipulation, and worker’s comp fraud. It does has to be done correctly, such that the evidence gathered will be admissible in court of law.
Most of the time, these cases do not go to court. But it’s still critical to hire an investigator that produces only court admissible evidence of wrongdoing, and is an expert witness with experience in front of a jury. If you do have to go to court, this will make all the difference.