Internal Theft

Theft can be detrimental to any business. It cuts into your bottom line because not only will you have to replace the item lost from your inventory but you will lose the opportunity to sell that item while you are waiting for its replacement. Theft takes away time, money and resources and can divert your attention from customer service and follow-up. We will discuss internal theft.

Unfortunately, internal theft is more common than external theft. Internal theft is caused by your employees, acquaintances and people you know and trust in your store. There are many ways internal theft can take place. It could simply be physical theft – pocket and carry. You could have an employee checkout policy where employees must open all personal bags and purses with managers before exiting the store.

Internal theft is not limited to new inventory items. Employees who abuse discounts and coupons are another form of internal theft. Fraudulent point of sale (POS) transactions, such as ringing up the wrong item or changing the price of an item, are very easy to do within any POS (unless the POS is locked down to prohibit any prices changes) and can go undetected. POS voids and post-voids make theft easy. At first glance everything appears normal – a customer is rung up at the register, their items are scanned and their payment is accepted. Five minutes later, the employee cancels the record in the register by voiding the transaction. The pending credit card payment is stopped, or worse, the cash paid by the customer is not recorded and goes into the employees’ pocket instead of the cash drawer. Have a void and post-void audit policy so your employees know that you will be checking all transactions for fraud.

Trash runs are easy for employees to get merchandise out the door undetected. Look for merchandise hidden in the store trash, kitchen trash, pizza boxes, etc. Employees can set aside and pick up what they want to steal out back after hours. Have a manager with an employee walk trash from store doors to dumpsters, open all bags and empty them one by one into dumpsters.

Does you company have an anti-theft policy in place? Do they regularly enforce this policy?

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