When you suspect an employee of stealing from your business the employee theft investigation is broken down into two main components: The Fact Finding, and The Interview. During the first part, all efforts are spent on separating fact from fiction, and solidifying the who, what, when and where. The interview section is designed to corroborate the evidence and to determine why it happened.
The starting point of conducting an employee theft investigation is garnering a lead. That could be a suspicion based on your own personal observations, a lead from another employee, or information that has shown up on a report (cash over/ short log, exception report, etc). Wherever you get the information from, it should start you in the direction of where, and possibly whom you need to investigate.
Based upon this information, you need to start to narrow down the scope of the losses. If you have a till that was short one day, you would start to reduce the number of suspected employees. By reviewing transactions, employee numbers used, CCTV surveillance, you should be able to eliminate possible suspects. Sometimes it might be from tracking multiple losses over a period of several weeks or months to establish a pattern; sometimes you might find who the employee is based off of a single incident.
With merchandise losses, you would work the process in a similar fashion. Determine a starting point- was it a specific item of merchandise that went missing? Maybe it was an incident with a specific employee that raised the red flags. From this starting point continue to further investigate to see if you can substantiate this initial incident.
Once you have solidified who took what merchandise on which date and at what time, expand your search to see if this particular employee can be traced back to other losses using this same method. Also look to see if this employee is using multiple ways to steal, and if there are other employees involved.
One particular employee made a rather large purchase. Upon review of the journal tape, only a portion of the items was rung up. After reviewing the employees purchase history, it was determined that he had made several purchases where only a portion of the product was rung up to be sold. By reviewing multiple transactions, we found that there were at least three employees involved in under-ringing the employee’s purchases. We then looked at the employee purchases for the employees who had been the cashiers in these instances, and found that they too had made similar purchases.
Had we not continued to research, we would not have discovered just how much merchandise had actually been stolen. We also would not have known about the other three employees, potentially leaving them in their current positions to continue to steal from our store. We would have suffered even more losses due to the incomplete investigation.
The ways to successfully complete an investigation into employee theft are as varied as the actual methods used in those thefts. The end results, however should be the same- you can provide specific information as to which employee stole what product at this specific point in time.
For more information on employee theft, employee theft investigation or internal theft contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia
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