When an employee steals from their job, it’s known as internal (or employee) theft. The good news is that employee theft apprehensions were down significantly in 2020 compared to 2019 (2020 saw an average of 361.6 arrests compared to 560 arrests in 2019). To continue lowering employee theft in retail stores, you should know the types of theft to monitor your business. Then you can start implementing procedures. 

5 Types of Employee Theft to Monitor 

Employee theft in retail stores can happen in many ways. Here are the most common theft occurrences to watch out for in your business. 

Product Theft

The most apparent theft – stealing merchandise. Unlike shoplifters who attempt to walk out of the store with products, employees are more creative. For example, they may hide items in a trash bag, then retrieve them from the dumpster later. Or another way is to steal items from the back of the store, where there are usually no cameras monitoring back inventory. 

Money Theft

This can also be known as “skimming” and occurs when employees take a few dollars from the cash drawer every few days. They do this because they know management won’t usually check for losing money if the discrepancy is only a few dollars. However, this type of loss can cost you thousands of dollars (if not more) over time. 

Gift Card Theft

This is hard to detect because a person could process a “fake refund” and issue a gift card. Another way this occurs is if a customer purchases a gift card, and the employee swaps the purchased card with a blank one. 

“Sweethearting” Theft

This is when the employee checks out a family member or friend and purposely does not scan items or give them a discount on their purchase. 

Online Theft

This happens when an employee is packaging shipments from an online order. When shipping merchandise, they either ship less than the order (taking the other items with them) or place additional products in the box (this happens if they’re working with the customer who placed the order).

It’s important to note that employees might find other ways to steal, so investigate your concerns if you notice something suspicious. If your suspicions are confirmed, proceed with caution because it can be a dangerous situation confronting a thief.

10 Tips on Preventing Employee Theft in Retail Stores

Now that you understand more about the different ways employees can steal from you, here are some ways you can prevent it.

  • Perform background checks on potential employees
  • Implement a loss prevention policy for all employees
  • Explain how the company takes an active approach toward preventing all types of losses
  • Share loss prevention goals with everyone 
  • Offer employee incentives when achieving loss prevention goals
  • Ensure all employees complete proper training 
  • Use inventory management or POS software to monitor for product discrepancies
  • Use a “buddy system” for taking out the trash
  • Require receipt only returns, no exceptions 
  • Organize inventory and reduce clutter, making it easier to notice when products are missing

Implement Loss Prevention Procedures in Your Business 

Loss prevention success can help secure your bottom line and keep you running a profitable business. It’s important to prevent as many losses as possible for your business. That’s why at Product Protection Solutions (PPS), we’ve created a loss prevention checklist for retail business owners to use to help prevent losses. 

You can download the printable checklist here.

Take The Next Step Towards Success 

The PPS team works with businesses of sizes and can develop solutions to fit your needs and goals. Contact us online or by calling 866-750-5744 to learn how we can help you.