The term employee fraud is often thought of as primarily monetary theft, but it also includes physical theft and workers’ compensation fraud. In any case, it’s business-related theft from the employees themselves, and almost all small businesses in the U.S. are affected by the deceptive employee practice. But how can you tell if you’re a victim of employee fraud?
Sudden or Continuous Work Schedule Concerns
Life demands require specific attention, especially in today’s pandemic-driven era. However, there’s a difference between taking off time from work for reasonable health or family-related concerns and excessive call-offs or absences. The same can be said for any employee who refuses to ever take a day off or schedule their vacation. Obvious work schedule issues and even a sudden decision from that employee to need to work independently can indicate suspicious or fraudulent behavior.
Changes in Lifestyle and/or Work Habits
Seeing an employee showing extra effort and interest in business success can greatly benefit the success of the business and highlight an exceptional worker, especially when it’s needed. However, if an employee is consistently showing up early and staying late when there’s little to no need for the effort on their behalf, that can be a sign of fraudulent activity. Also, pay attention to your employees’ lifestyles altogether. Sudden changes in vehicles, clothing, accessories or even pictures or statuses on social media can indicate you’re potentially a victim of employee fraud.
Computer Activity Becomes Suspicious
Approximately 65 million U.S. adult employees use computers during their daily work tasks. While workplace computers are usually specifically meant for business-related functions, it’s not uncommon for employees to check their personal email or social media on breaks, or even keep a game running in the background for slow times. However, management can always monitor activity, and if an employee is consistently hiding their screen or acting suspiciously on their computer, they may be engaging in fraudulent activity.
Obvious Employee-Related Client and Vendor Preferences
Fondness, friendliness, and even favoritism are often fine qualities between employees and clients or vendors as long as it remains professional and doesn’t cross a line. However, giving or receiving meals, gift certificates, merchandise, entertainment coupons, and other gifts on either side can clearly indicate you have a deceptive employee on hand. Pay attention and review security footage to verify if you’re currently or about to be a victim of employee fraud.
Increased Damaged Merchandise and Inventory Issues
If merchandise is damaged or unwanted by customers, businesses usually either have to toss it out, write it off, or go through a lengthy process of selling it to liquidators and wholesalers. Damaged and unwanted merchandise can cost the average retailer approximately 4.4% of its annual revenue, and smart business owners expect a moderate amount of loss. However, if that loss is increasing due to sporadic, ongoing, or consistent inventory issues, it may be more than accidental damage or manufacturing glitches. You may, in fact, be a victim of employee fraud. If you believe you have a deceptive employee or employee concerns resulting in fraud, contact ASG Investigations to get to the root of the issue.