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On average, it takes 18 months for an employer to catch an employee who is stealing
Employee theft -- pilfering, larceny and embezzlement to name a few -- comes under the umbrella of what is considered fraud. However defined, the end result is the same: businesses suffer a loss because an employee unlawfully takes something from an employer. On average, it takes 18 months for an employer to catch an employee who is stealing. Most employee theft comes to the attention of the employer either by another employee or is revealed by accident.
According to "How to Prevent Small Business Fraud: A Manual for Business Professionals," there are two key factors that contribute to the large losses suffered by small companies -- lack of basic accounting controls and a greater degree of misplaced trust. More often than not it is the long-trusted employee -- typically the small business's one-person accounting department -- who is found to be the thief. In other words, the person you least suspect is usually the one who commits the crime.
Why and which employees steal from their employers
Generally, it is more often the younger employee under the age of 35 who steals from an employer, although older workers who do steal tend to take much more than their younger counterparts. Managers are the usual culprits for the worst cases of fraud. It's typically not the new-kid-on-the-block, but the long-term and trusted employee who ends up being the company crook. Often, it is someone who's been with a company for more than three years. Employees at private companies cause more losses than those at public or non-profit establishments.
There's an old saying that's long been accepted in fraud prevention circles called the 10-10-80 rule: 10 percent of people will never steal no matter what, 10 percent of people will steal at any opportunity, and the other 80 percent of employees will go either way depending on how they rationalize a particular opportunity.