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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Employee Theft Part 2: How to Catch a Stealing Employee...Legally

If you suspect your business is a victim of theft, see if your employees fall into one of the five typical types of "small business thieves"
If your suspected employee fits into one of the categories, you likely are being ripped off, because most people don't steal for "no reason at all".

Now, the trick isn't just putting in a camera system. If you just pay $900 plus and throw a security monitoring system in your store you will be helping prevent *future* theft BUT you'll never know if you can trust the suspected crook. Every time anything is out of place you will immediately, in your mind, blame the "crook", when all along the suspect may have been completely innocent.

There's no other way around it; you need to LEGALLY "set up" your employee.
A thieving employee who has been stealing for a long time is comfortable enough to look you square in the eye and thank you for the bonus, then turn around and put inventory into their pocket. So let them hang themselves. You can set them up in a number of ways...

1. If you suspect the employee is stealing cash from the cash drawer/safe, give them a few extra dollars to take. For example, if your employee is supposed to count the drawer each morning to make sure there's $200 in it, put $203. See if the employee brings it to your attention or pockets the $3.

2. Bring in a large box filled with "new inventory". Make sure it has lots of little pieces. Tell them you haven't been able to count and record the items in the box and ask them to do it during their shift. Of course you will want to make sure you have records and photos of exactly what is in the box prior to the hand-off.
You may have to do this several times to catch a crook. After the first two times the employee will assume its not a setup and begin pocketing items.

3. Do an inventory or mark items. I had suspected that my employee was draining perfume out of a bottles into her perfume bottle and refilling them with water. I remembered an old trick my boss used to do at the bar where I worked;
Take a very tiny sharpie marker and place a microscopic dot on the line that shows the level of contents. If you come in the next day and the contents is way higher or lower...jackpot. You caught your crook.

Micro PI Spy CamStick PRO

4. Start a new rule that purses, backpacks, tote bags, etc will no longer be allowed inside the premises. See what happens next; does the employee argue that they NEED their backpack? Does inventory suddenly stop disappearing?

5. Show up when least expected. If your employee closes the store, show up at close. See how they react. If you made the rule "no backpacks" and you know that their backpack was not there when you left at 3pm, now its 11pm and the backpack *magically appeared*...there's a reason for it.

After you have made efforts to catch your employee(s) "in the cast"; successfully or not, be sure to install a office security system. It will ultimately save you tons of cash AND provide you with a sense of security and peace of mind!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the informative article. There are many things to pay attention to when operating a business. Internal theft is rampant. I use to monitor any events and the people in attendance for them.
    Thomas Anthony
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