The Rise of Office Theft
We’re not talking just about pens and paper clips; employee theft is on the increase and becoming a serious issue for many companies. The retail sector is one of the big problem areas, but many industries have to deal with the rise of office theft.
A report from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has revealed some shocking facts regarding employee theft.
Some highlights include:
- Around 27 % of large companies have seen an increase in theft cases.
- 7 % of annual revenues are lost due to fraud.
- 37.1 % of total frauds were committed by managerial staff
- On average it takes 2 years to detect office fraud
- 29 % of employees have had their ideas stolen while at work
- 1 out of every 30 retail based employees have been arrested for theft in the workplace
It was found that men are much more likely to steal, and those who do steal more.
Here is a break down of the education level of office thieves:
- High school degree – 34 %
- Some degree – 21 %
- Bachelor’s degree – 34 %
- Postgraduate degree 11 %
Why do Employees Steal?
One of the big reasons behind workplace theft may come as a surprise. Employees who were caught stealing or those who later confessed to it have given their reasons. In most cases it wasn’t because of any real financial pressure, but that the company made it to easy to do so. This would lead to the temptation of stealing, even though ethically they believed it is wrong. Some employees pointed out that they saw senior staff helping themselves to whatever they wanted, so they assumed it was an ok for them.
What do Employees Steal?
There are many ways that workers can steal from their employers. Some common ways are:
- Taking cash from the register
- Stealing customer data and information
- Helping themselves to products
- Copying digital assets belonging to the company
- Cheating when filling in their time sheet
Dealing with employee theft
Investigating cases of potential theft must be handled with great care. Making wild accusations is very risky. There has to be some very strong and tangible evidence to prove the case. Tools such as CCTV footage or computer records are the kinds of evidence that can firmly prove someone’s guilt.
Always seek legal advice before proceeding to confront an employee suspected of theft.