Top 10 Warning Signs of Employee Theft

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that employee theft costs American employers more than $50 billion dollars each year. In a study conducted last year by The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, executives of 60 percent of the companies surveyed said they expected their employees to steal money or equipment. Another study conducted by The Chubb Group in 2004 found that 39 percent of private companies had employees who stole company funds, equipment, or merchandise.


Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to employee theft. Many dollars are saved when business owners and managers make prevention their top priority.

Look out for:

#1 Big spenders: Large purchases such as cars, TVs, jewelry, vacations and more, especially if they cry poormouth.

#2 Violators: Employees who habitually violate company policies are breaking the rules in more ways than one. Often that means they steal too.

#3 Drug abusers: Employees that have a substance abuse problem need to feed their habit and they steal to do it.

#4 Liars: White lies are lies. If you catch employees in a little lie, chances are they are lying big.

#5 Disgruntled: Employees who may have cause to feel wronged justify their theft. If work conditions are unfair, morale goes down and theft goes up.

#6 Loners: If an employee makes an effort to work alone that may mean they are scheming and planning to steal.

#7 Comes in early, leaves late: While this may please some employers, the extra 30 minutes before and after everyone arrives and departs allows for plenty of time to toss items in their car with no one watching.

#8 Cooked books: The moment a discrepancy is recognized a deep investigation into the numbers must be performed.

#9 Protect your business by performing background checks as they are the best defense against internal theft. Screen all employees before hiring them. Limit the number of employees authorized to ring up other employees’ sales, reducing the opportunities for collusion. Use a card access system rather than traditional keys to digitally document who comes and goes.

#10 Install a closed-circuit television system. It allows you to monitor employees and serves as a very strong deterrent when employees know one is in place. Install hidden cameras. Employees will seek out blind spots where there are no cameras.

Robert Siciliano personal and small business security specialist toADT Small Business Security discussingADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures