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February 24, 2022

Is employee theft on the rise?

Customer theft, including shoplifting and organized retail crime accounts for roughly 42.4% of shrink in most businesses, followed closely by employee theft at 35.3%, according to the most recent edition of the Global Retail Theft Barometer.

Theft Assuming you’ve given up on the first category, how do you handle less-than-honest coworkers? Say someone at the store is offering your employer’s immediate-family-only discount to just about everybody she meets. What should you do?

Talk to her directly and remind her of the rules; notify management anonymously or simply let it slide, since it’s really a victimless crime?

There is a victim – the owners of the company are being stolen from, say Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz, authors of Isn't It Their Turn To Pick Up the Check? Dealing with All of the Trickiest Money Problems Between Family and Friends, from Serial Borrowers to Serious Cheapskate.

Unless you’re completely confident that talking to your coworker will put an end to the theft, you should go directly to management about the problem, they advise. Your supervisor will then clarify the rules for your colleague, taking you off the hook at the same time, they add.

Most loss prevention experts warn that taking a laissez-faire attitude towards "petty" dishonesty like this can lead to more damaging actions and behaviours down the road.

Doing nothing is a big mistake
, suggests Ray Esposito, executive VP of LP Innovations, the largest loss prevention solution provider in the United States.

A company's best defence against shrinkage is to create a culture of integrity, and in doing so it must react and correct any action that detracts from that culture, regardless of the actual size and magnitude, he says.

What would you do? If someone was acting unethically, would you follow along, intervene or blow the whistle on them?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...