Ask most business owners and they’d tell you that their employees would never dream of stealing from them. They’re far too happy and loyal to do that, so internal fraud isn’t something that they need to worry about. The thing is, no matter how great you think your workplace environment is, there is always the chance that an employee is committing fraud against you.
Employee theft and fraud cost businesses huge amounts of money if they go undetected, so if you suspect that something is going on, you need to deal with the situation immediately. However, you have to approach it carefully because you could find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit if you start making false accusations without the evidence to back them up. So, what should you do if you suspect an employee of committing fraud?
First off, you need to collect as much evidence as possible before confronting the employee. This evidence must show that they have been committing fraud against your business and it needs to be presented in a way that can stand up in court if necessary. You don’t want to go into the meeting without being able to prove what you’re saying because if you do, they’ll just deny everything and make a counter-accusation instead.
It’s a good idea to set up a hidden camera or two around each area where money exchanges hands, such as the cash register or reception desk. You can also hire private investigators to look into the situation for you. They will help you gather all of the evidence you need and tell you whether your suspicions are correct or not. Remember, you might find at this stage that you were wrong and you can’t find any evidence of fraud.
Find Out if Customers Are Affected
It’s vital that you determine whether any of your customers have been affected by criminal activity. As a business, it’s down to you to protect your customers from fraud and you need to be able to prove it. If your business has been negligent in its duty of care, you might have to reimburse customers for any losses they incur as a result.
Confront the Employee
If you do find that an employee has been committing fraud against your business, then it’s time to confront them. Again, you need to be as calm as possible and avoid getting emotional. It might seem impossible but the last thing you want is for them to walk out or sue you! You also need to be very careful with the language you use. Nothing has been proven in a court of law yet, so you can’t just paint them as guilty right away. At this stage, you may have to terminate them if you think the evidence is strong enough. Just make sure that you follow the right legal procedure when doing so.
Contact the Police
If your business has been subject to a large amount of fraud, then you might have to go one step further and contact the police. You can fill out an incident report which highlights any suspicious activity that may have taken place since the start of the year. This incident report covers you legally and ensures that your insurance remains valid if anything goes wrong in the future.
Internal theft hurts businesses and their customers and it’s important to stamp out as much as possible before even more damage is done. Follow these steps and you can handle the situation without doing any more damage.