The risk of internal theft is a grievous reality for most businesses handling cash. Employee dishonesty is a major concern for businesses of any size that often results in crippling losses.
According to ACFE’s 2014 Report to the Nations, an annual publication detailing world-wide fraud and abuse:
- 4 percent of all studied fraud cases are the result of asset misappropriation, including cash larceny, skimming, theft of cash on hand, and the like.
- 77 percent of frauds involve persons in seven departments: accounting, operations, sales, executive/upper management, customer service, purchasing and finance.
- Only 14 percent of businesses make a full recovery from losses due to fraud.
Keys to loss prevention:
- Be aware of the warning signs of fraud and internal theft– Employees with a propensity for dishonest practices share a distinct set of identifiable characteristics. These can include immediate lifestyle changes (expensive cars, clothes, etc.), sizable personal debt, and behavioral changes related to drug or alcohol abuse.
- Be thorough in hiring practices and background checks– Drug screening, reference checks, credit checks, and criminal background checks play a significant role in reducing the risk of fraud.
- Implement a fraud reporting mechanism– Hotlines, a method for employees to hold others accountable, are statistically the most effective means of fraud prevention. Fraud instances within organizations implementing hotlines were 41 percent less costly and companies detected problems 51 percent faster.
- Establish a culture of integrity– Check if fraud prevention goals are met and if the organization has established a process for the oversight of fraud risk. Educate employees about the cost of fraud and constantly evaluate to see if their job performance expectations are realistic.
- Use a Safe that Audits – Smart Safes require an individual user login before any transaction can take place. This ensures that all transactions are reconciled and auditable to each employee. Because Smart Safes collect, store, and report cash automatically, this means fewer people touching the cash. Fewer hands mean fewer chances of theft.
- Install a Visible Camera System – Ensure that cameras are focused over the cash register- this is the main location where video surveillance is necessary. A system of visible cameras holds employees accountable, and keeps honest people honest.