Employee Retail Theft On the Rise
As if you don't have enough to worry about this holiday season, a report came out earlier this month that American retail staff steal a lot more from their employers than actual dedicated thieves.
According to The Global Retail Theft Barometer report released by Checkpoint Systems, employee theft cost U.S. retailers $18 billion in 2013. That’s $2.3 billion more than shoplifting cost them and $13 billion more than vendor and supplier fraud and administrative and non-crime losses cost them apiece.
What's more, American employees steal from their employers at significantly higher rates than workers in other countries, with the exception of Argentina, according to the report. While shoplifting is the biggest cause of retail shrink in 16 of the 24 countries surveyed, employee theft ranked first in the U.S. at 42.9 percent, with shoplifting next at 37.4 percent.
According to a recent article in MarketWatch, experts at The Global Retail Theft Barometer say it’s not clear why employee theft is so high in the U.S. — at least compared with other countries’ workers — but they do have information on how these workers steal from their employers.
Most of it happens during checkout “when an associate purposely manipulates a transaction for the benefit of themselves or someone else,” said Ernie Deyle, the report's author and leader of the business consulting practice at data analytics firm Sysrepublic. For example, workers may issue refunds, discounts or voids at the register when they shouldn’t, or cancel transactions, modify prices or say someone used a coupon when they didn’t.
The MarketWatch article also pointed out that employee theft at certain kinds of stores in this country is more prominent than at others. Discounters, for example, experience a very high rate of employee theft as a percentage of total shrinkage, while home improvement and gardening stores do not.
Are you worried about employee retail theft? If so, what are you doing about it? Please leave your comments below!