Protecting Your Business From Theft
Research shows that theft, burglary, and fraud are some of the most significant threats to businesses, which leads to sizeable financial losses annually. With the current advancement in technology, cyber theft against businesses, corporations, companies, shops, and other entities has become rampant. As a business person, putting adequate investment in your enterprise’s security is inevitable. Such an investment will ensure your products are safe, which has a satisfying effect on your inner peace.
Although there is a law in place concerning theft, many culprits have gone scot-free, maybe because they had good lawyers or were corrupt. In such cases, the victims have suffered tangible losses in their business. Therefore, it is your responsibility to take the “better prevention than cure” direction to safeguard your business. This article will look at types of business theft, how to protect your business from theft, steps to take after a theft, and a few frequently asked questions.
Types of Business Theft
Theft in businesses is a whole extensive field, which contains different actions that can negatively affect your survival and growth. At the most basic level, two major types of theft occur in businesses; internal and external theft. We have other sub-types under these two categories as discussed below:
Today, enterprises, companies, supermarkets, shops, and other businesses are not safe from their employees. When we talk about internal theft, we refer to that committed by someone within the business, such as an employee or a partner. Some businesses become victims of internal theft because the management may be too trusting towards their employees. People within a business are aware of its security system, including how its alarm systems function. The most popular types of internal theft include:
- Stealing from the till, especially for those who work at the cash registers.
- Skimming – when an employee takes part or all of the money from a sale.
- Embezzlement – when funds are misappropriated or rechanneled for the gain of those in financial control. This is common in non-retail businesses.
- Data theft – this happens when an employee who has access to private and sensitive information about the business steals it to orchestrate fraud or sell to scammers.
- Shoplifting occurs when employees take products home without paying for them.
- Padding hours is when employees lie about the hours they have worked to take home more money than their fair share.
Someone from outside the business commits external theft. This is the most common type of the two, and its rates are higher. Many businesses have an increased vulnerability to external theft mainly because of gaps in their security, such as faulty parking lot security systems. The common types of external theft in business include:
Shoplifting customers sneak out products from the business without paying for them.
Robbery happens when thieves come into your business and threaten or intimidate you using weapons and other tactics to make you give them your merchandise and money.
Burglary involves thieves breaking into your business, especially during the off-hours, and making away with merchandise and money from your store.
Fraudulent returns are another type, but they are not so common. However, this happens when scammers develop schemes to return some items to get refunded. In such cases, you will realize that the merchandise in question was not even purchased by those who want to return them.
The Best Ways of Guarding your Business against Theft
Crime is on the rise in the world today as people struggle to make ends meet. For this reason, businesses are becoming extensively vulnerable to theft. As a business owner, there are several measures you can take to ensure you are on the safe side. After all the hard work of making your enterprise stand, nothing is as heartbreaking and traumatizing as having your money and merchandise stolen. Therefore, what can you do to keep your business safe from such actions? Here are some of the best ways we found that can help you out:
Invest in a Sturdy Security System
Security alarms and cameras are the best way to keep track of what is going on in and around your business. If you are ready to prevent any imminent losses caused by burglary or theft in the future, be ready to cough out some good dollar for a reliable security system. Additionally, you can consider hiring a local locksmith to strengthen the doors and increase the locks. If you do not have such an expert in your locality, you can always find many online offering commercial locksmith service. There are so many professionals available today who have mastered the art of security surveillance system installation. Work on the blind-spots and have cameras and mirrors installed appropriately.
Hire Security Experts
Sometimes the human eye sees better than most cameras. Therefore, although you might have a reliable security system in place, you might also consider hiring a security company to increase the efficiency of your business’ monitoring. I understand this means a realizable increase in the expenses, but you will not think twice about getting these professionals once you realize its worth. The other advantage is that human guards can use force when needed to fight off robbers and burglars. CCTV cameras and security alarms cannot do that! However, you also need to ensure that your business lighting is top-notch so that the cameras and the security people can easily see whatever is happening around you.
Train Yourself and your Employees
The best way to stay ahead of burglars is by being alert of anything and anyone suspicious. You and your staff must have hints on how to identify a potential threat. Everyone within the business must be aware of what reaction to take in case of a serious threat. Sometimes, running is recommendable in an event where saving your life is more important than the money and merchandise you try to defend. Having signs showing “staff-only” areas is also a good way to keep unwanted people away from some regions. Additionally, your staff should clear the tills regularly and remain with as little on-site cash as possible, and all the excess should be taken to the bank. Finally, your employees should be trained on how to report a crime to you correctly.
Check an Individual’s History when Hiring
The mistake that many business owners commit is hurriedly hiring new employees without deeply scrutinizing their past. This happens when hiring casual, part-time, and even full-time employees. Getting the individual’s records from their previous employer can be a great way to curb internal theft in a business. If you employ a goon unknowingly, you can be certain that the petty cash and till money are the most vulnerable. Besides checking references when hiring, it is also advisable to have stringent policies about theft and clearly explain them to your employees. Moreover, keep clear stock records and count your money regularly. With such steps, you will indeed reduce staff theft and, consequently, prevent future losses.
Minimize the Access to the Computers
Data theft is a real threat, and it can have severe implications for your business. Stolen data can be used to master-mind crime against your business or blackmail you into giving out your money and merchandise. Having strong access codes to your business’ computers is one way to ensure that data theft is minimized. Additionally, you should have a few selected individuals who can access these computers to minimize the number of people getting certain information. Other network security threats are of concern, including Adware, viruses, and malware. For such, you should ensure your computers have u-to-date antiviruses.
Conduct Risk Assessment
Full and thorough risk assessments are worthy because they help you identify where your business premises is most vulnerable. Identifying the most vulnerable areas will help you know where you need to focus when defending your premises. It is advisable to conduct such assessments both digitally and physically.
Steps to Take After Employee Theft
It is always a sad day for a businessman who has had their business vandalized and their money and merchandise taken. It could mean a fresh and stressful financial start to rekindle the business, especially if you do not have affordable insurance. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you don’t suffer as such after one of your employees has stolen from you:
Investigate the theft – This should be done following the policies you have in place in your business regarding theft. The policy should state clearly that any suspected employee is an investigation candidate. Besides stating the consequences of such misconduct, the policy should have clear parameters for any dishonesty or theft.
Discipline the culprit – many employers run for job termination as their first punishment for any employee who steals from them. However, employers are supposed to use other mitigating factors to handle this situation. For instance, if the employee has been performing so well, there could be some leniency on their punishment. Additionally, if the organization is somehow linked to misconduct, especially when it comes to policymaking. Deciding to terminate an employee should be done cautiously because potential lawsuits are waiting to happen. An employee could sue the business if they were pregnant, ill, or disabled during their termination. However, if you successfully go through with the suspected employee’s termination, the following steps should follow.
Suing the ex-employee – after the verification of the theft, you may decide to sue the suspect. The claims you lay against the former employee should not interfere with the employment contract. They should just be used to recover the value of the merchandise said to be stolen by the employee. In such a case, lawyers can request freezing of the suspect’s bank accounts and assets until a fair judgment is reached. If the suspect is found guilty, the court may order them to return some of the money as part of their sentence.
Recovering through insurance –several policies can cover your business against fraudulent employees, such as fidelity bond and crime fidelity insurance.
Which crimes are particularly associated with businesses?
Embezzlement, murder, fraud, armed robbery, rape, and kidnapping are the most common felonies in businesses. Other petty offenses are commonly known as misdemeanors or infractions.
Is stealing from a store a crime?
Stealing from a store is known as shoplifting, and it one of the most significant types of theft that businesses are experiencing today. There are varying consequences to this crime, depending on the judge and the seriousness of the crime. Some shoplifters will only be required to pay a fine and do community service, while others may be required to complete a particular jail term.
Can I be tracked down for shoplifting?
Shoplifting is a misdemeanor crime, which does not require a lot of follow-ups. However, the police are at liberty of tracking you down if it is their wish, although it might consume a lot of time and resources.
Can a corporation be charged with crimes?
In the olden days, corporations and businesses could not be charged with crimes. However, this has changed over time, and today, such entities can be sued and sue another legally. They can also be charged in front of a judge for any crimes they have committed.
Businesses today are among the major targets for crime, especially theft. Having that in mind, business people are going the extra mile to ensure their premises are safe and protected from thieves, robbers, and burglars. In a business setting, two types of theft can take place: internal and external theft. Internal theft is one committed by people inside the business. External theft refers to the one committed by individuals from outside the business.
We have discussed both types of theft at length in this article. I believe you have gathered all the information on how you can protect your business from both. Additionally, we have discussed the best protection tips for your business against theft. Some of such ways include having reliable security systems, being keen on an individual’s past life, carrying out risk assessments, and hiring security experts.