When it comes to theft in the workplace, stealing money often comes to mind, but it can come in many forms. Any business, no matter the size, can be affected. 

So what is employee theft? To put it simply, employee theft is any instance that an employee steals valuable assets from their employer. 

Some common types of employee theft include: 

  • Larceny: the act of stealing personal property.
  • Time theft: the act of an employee accepting pay for work that was not done or logging time that they did not work. 
  • Skimming: the act of taking money from an employer before it is recorded.
  • Embezzling: the act of taking money from an employer’s account that the employee was granted access to. 
  • Data theft: the act of stealing data that includes sensitive information from an employer. 
  • Intellectual theft: the act of stealing ideas or confidential information from an employer. 

It can be hard for an employer to think that one of their employees may commit these acts, and interestingly enough, most of these cases happen from employees you would least expect. Many of these occurrences go on for over a year before they’re ever detected. 

Though employee fraud can often go unnoticed, there are many telltale signs that can raise some suspicion. One of the most common signs of spotting employee theft is a poor attitude and work ethic. If an employee has a negative outlook towards their employer, they often look to revenge, and in this case, revenge often means participating in acts of fraud. 

Employers should also keep their eye on any missing files and supplies or miscalculation of funds. Assets should be tracked often by managers or highly trusted employees to ensure everything is where it needs to be and all funds are accurate. 

Other signs that you may be experiencing theft from employees include:

  • The employee having irregular or odd working hours 
  • The employee is reluctant to turn over or change work responsibilities  
  • The employee’s lifestyle doesn’t match their current salary 

You may be thinking, this kind of thing could never happen at my company! But shockingly enough, 95% of all businesses have been impacted by employee theft. 

Every year, businesses are losing a huge amount of money to these crimes. On average, companies are losing about 5% of revenue per year. Any industry can be affected, from construction to retail, to finance, no one industry is exempt. 

Common Types of Remote Employee Theft

Due to today’s current climate, many of us are working from home, which can make it even more difficult to detect acts of theft. This makes it extremely important for companies to crack down on their policies to mitigate risk at all costs. 

When working from home, time theft can be a common act, especially with hourly employees. They may end up logging more hours than they worked or could be logging hours for work they didn’t do. To prevent this from happening, managers should check in with their employees often throughout the day, and consider implementing time tracking and monitoring software.  

To avoid acts of data theft when employees are working remotely, consider requiring your employees to work on secure networks, and ensure virus scanners and firewalls are being used. 

If businesses are still bringing on new employees, they should have a proper recruiting and hiring process in place to ensure any talent that is brought on is trustworthy. As an employer, you should be verifying past employment as well as running thorough background checks. 

Employee theft is preventable as long as you know the signs to look out for. As an employer, you should set the standard for your employees by effectively communicating the policies you have in place. Employees need to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Explain what employee theft is, the consequences they could face if those acts were committed, and how to report it. 

When working from home, try your best to motivate your employees and keep morale up. Communication is key, especially during these tough times. 

Some other preventative measures an employer can take include: 

  • Monitoring employee behavior
  • Creating a system of checks and balances
  • Ensuring all sensitive information is protected
  • Maintaining a positive work environment 

To better understand employee theft and how to prevent it, check out this visual guide JW Surety Bonds created that highlights and examines everything you need to know about employee fraud

Educate yourself and your employees to make sure your company doesn’t fall victim to these crimes!

Author Bio: Corey Doane is a Content Marketing Specialist at Siege Media and has a B.S. in Public Relations. She has a passion for writing and loves creating content that covers business and lifestyle topics. When she isn’t working, you can find her sipping on an iced coffee and spending time with her family.