Southeast Missouri State University

Crime in businesses costs millions every year. One of the first things that you can do to help eliminate crime in your business is to identify problems in areas of possible high risk. Hopefully you will find the information in this brochure helpful and will possibly be able to utilize some of the tips to make your business more secure.

Robbery and Making your Business Uninviting

  1. Good lighting, both inside and outside your business.
  2. Avoid working alone.
  3. Vary the schedule and route for your bank deposits.
  4. Make it hard to get inside. Exterior doors should be heavy, not hollow. A deadbolt lock is best for exterior doors. Break-resistant glass windows are best. Locks are also useful on windows.
  5. Make it likely that the thief will get caught. Consider installing a burglar alarm system.
  6. Ask police about the use of hidden video cameras.
  7. Record serial numbers of large denomination bills. Also, a small amount of marked "bait money" may help trace a thief.
  8. Lastly, insurance on your business is a must.

Computer Fraud

Many companies are turning to computers for checkout, billing, inventory records, and payrolls. The technology may be new. However, the crimes are still the same: theft, larceny, embezzlement, and fraud. Following are several tips to help reduce computer fraud.

  1. Make use of special devices and procedures to control access to the terminals and to certain files.
  2. Maintain all passwords in a secure place. Do not allow other persons access to the password.
  3. Maintain a duplicate copy of all software in a fireproof location. Ensure all copies are locked in a secure place.
  4. Minimize after-hours access to and use of the computer.
  5. Make sure programs contain a statement of ownership.

Employee Embezzlement

Some experts believe that businesses lose more money due to employee theft than to burglary, robbery, and shoplifting combined. Examine your management practices. Make your employees feel they have a stake in your business, so they will not be tempted to steal from your business. Sometimes employees only take a few items from your business, such as office supplies. Or, for personal purposes, they use company equipment, like cars, or copying machines. However, embezzlement can become a lot bigger. Cashiers may use "short ring-ups"--ringing up a lower price on the sales register to cover money they have taken from the register. In addition, they may overcharge customers and pocket the difference, or undercharge other employees and friends. Don’t underestimate the importance of checking our potential employees before hiring.

Frauds Against Business

Signs of Credit Card Fraud:

  1. If the check writer has trouble with the signature.
  2. If the card is on the issuer’s warning list.
  3. Signatures on the card and the sales slip do not match.

Signs of Check Fraud

  1. If the check writer has trouble with the signature.
  2. If the check appears to be altered.
  3. The date on the check is past.
  4. The cashier of the check cannot produce adequate identification (a picture ID).
  5. The check cashier attempts to distract or rush a salesperson or teller.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement can include simple overloading of expense accounts, payments made to nonexistent suppliers, or complicated juggling of the company books. Listed below are indicators of possible problems:

  1. Records being rewritten so they will appear neater.
  2. Inventory shortages increasing in size or frequency.
  3. Employees refusing vacations or promotions.
  4. Business patterns changing when a certain employee is absent.
  5. Customers complaining about errors in monthly statements.
  6. Employees seeming sensitive to routine questions about procedures.

Bribery and Kickbacks

The employee who allows a business secret to slip "accidentally" for a price, the loading supervisor who ignores a short order for a little fee, and the contracting officer who will speed things up for a small present, are all examples of bribery. These situations may seem minimal at first, however these little favors can be the start of big problems unless identified quickly. Watch out for these warning signs:

  1. Purchasing agents using one supplier despite a company policy of rotating suppliers.
  2. Employees frequently associating with vendors or suppliers.
  3. Employees receiving free tickets for sporting events, shows, concerts, etc.
  4. Reputable businesses refusing to submit bids.
  5. One person having responsibility for issuing and approving bids.

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