How to prevent employee theft while working remotely (infographic)

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Corey Doane

Every year, employee theft has a huge financial impact on businesses of all kinds. When we think of this kind of crime stolen cash often comes to mind, but there are so many different types of employee theft that can affect businesses. Sensitive information or data, time and business ideas are all assets that can be stolen from a company.

Workplace thieves are typically motivated by three things: revenge, opportunity and financial need. Unfortunately, these kinds of crimes can often last for months and months before being discovered. A study from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that the average loss per employee theft case was around $125,000 and companies lose about 5% of their revenue to theft each year. Any type of business, no matter the size, can be affected. With many of us working from home during these unpredictable times, it may be hard to think that these crimes are possible, but they are.

Common types of theft when working remotely

– Time theft: time theft is any time an employee lies about the hours they worked. This happens when an employee still accepts pay for time they did not work. This can be harder to spot when employees are working remotely since it is harder for managers to monitor them. It’s suggested to use time tracking software and project monitoring tools to make sure your employees are logging the correct hours. Employers should also be checking in with employees often and keeping an open line of communication.

– Data theft: data theft occurs when an employee steals private data that is stored on computers, company servers or any other device. When working remotely, consider setting up a secured network for employees to work on or installing firewalls and virus scanners to protect any information from being stolen.

– Intellectual theft: intellectual theft happens when an employee steals confidential information or ideas from their employer. To prevent this type of theft from happening, there are many software tools available that can help protect sensitive documents and keep track of who is using them.

How to spot employee theft

Acts of fraud can typically be hard to spot, which is why it’s important to make sure you know what signs to look out for. Typically, there may be a shift in an employee’s behavior. For example, if they have a poor work ethic and their motivation is down, this could be a red flag. One of the easiest signs of theft is any missing files or items. This is a clear indicator that an employee may be stealing from you. Similarly, if there are any discrepancies in financial information or funds, you may be at risk.

Other warning signs to be aware of are hesitation to turn over work, strange working hours, and a lifestyle that doesn’t match the employee’s earnings.

To help us understand employee theft further, JW Surety Bonds created this visual guide that breaks down the different types of theft, signs to look out for and ways employers can prevent employee fraud from happening at their workplace.

combatting employee theft in the workplace

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