How to Prevent Common Forms of Small Business Theft
~by Anica Oaks~
Thefts of all types unfortunately happen in business, and small businesses are no exception. From employees with sticky fingers to computer hackers who steal sensitive data, small businesses are surrounded by potential losses. To protect your business, familiarize yourself with the four most common forms of small business theft and know what to do about them.
Individuals are not the sole targets of identity theft any longer. Many thieves have learned that it is lucrative to steal a business’ identity to access large amounts of cash and credit. To prevent identity theft, require dual authorization for all wire transfers and reconcile your bank accounts daily. Teach employees about phishing scams so they don’t mistakenly hand your information over to thieves. Be sure to lock up checkbooks and always access online banking from the same computer.
Unfortunately, employees have been known to steal money from cash registers and petty cash funds in addition to stealing office supplies or retail merchandise. The first step in minimizing employee theft is to perform criminal background checks before hiring someone. Once hired, monitor your employees with video security and keep valuable merchandise and supplies under lock and key. If you catch an employee stealing from you, press charges. Many small businesses decline to press charges, but doing so tells other employees that they can get away with stealing and not face any legal consequences.
The information on your computers is invaluable, so be sure you’re really protecting it. One way to do this is to hire a professional, such as Ottawa IT support, Bedrock IT or one in your particular area. These firms have the expertise to protect your data and make it a point to stay current. When new viruses and hacking techniques are born, professional IT Services know it and can respond much more nimbly and effectively than a business owner who has other things to focus on. This option works best for smaller companies that don’t have the time or resources to devote to full-time IT staff.
Perhaps the most commonly stolen asset in your company is the one you’ll never get back: time. Taking long breaks and extra breaks while on the clock steals time and money from your company. So does time spent surfing the internet and checking personal email on company computers. Prevent time stealing by asking managers to sign time cards to verify their accuracy and by blocking access to Facebook and other parts of the internet on work computers. Video cameras, too, can tell you where employees are, and when, so that you can catch break room stragglers.
The ways that your business is at-risk for theft seems to increase each decade with the progression of technology. Don’t be caught flat-footed, or your company will suffer.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean and anything outdoor related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.