Employee theft and fraud


Employee Theft and Fraud: Although it is not a pleasant topic to discuss, the fact is that theft by employees of small businesses costs Australian retailers almost $3 billion per year. The general rule of thumb for retailers is employee theft contributes to around 55 percent of shrinkage.

As hard as it is to believe that someone you hire to fill a trusted position in your company would actually take from you, it happens every day in all kinds of businesses and in a variety of ways. Moreover, it is estimated that up to 75 percent of all employee theft goes unnoticed.

Some security experts predict that up to 30 percent of the nation’s workers will steal at some time in their career. Difficult economic times, lack of salary increases, and the threats of downsizing and cutbacks make it even more tempting for employees to help themselves.

Employee theft can take many forms, from stealing office supplies or merchandise, to stealing time by improperly reporting sick leave and vacation to stealing intellectual property and confidential information. When employee theft is discovered, the employer/owner feels violated and often reacts out of emotion. Remembering that this is a business problem and addressing it as such will aid in quick resolution and prevention.

If you suspect theft and decide to investigate, do so thoroughly and factually. Making an accusation toward an employee can permanently damage relationships not only with that employee but also with those with whom the individual works closely. Be sure you are on solid ground before you make your suspicions known or state any accusations.


Issues commonly affecting businesses today include:

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • Embezzlement
  • Management Fraud, Dishonesty, and Incompetence
  • Employee Fraud
  • Other Breach of Trust and Fiduciary Issues
  • Product Diversion
  • Theft of Proprietary Property or Information
  • Brides and “Kick-backs”
  • Conflict of Interest



  • Increased number of adjusting journal entries
  • Shipping documents not matched to sales reports
  • Expenses charged to petty cash have risen dramatically
  • Cash refunds or charges to petty cash made without proper documentation or approval
  • Incomplete or false customer information
  • Sequentially number receipts or invoices are missing
  • Employees receiving gifts from customers or vendors
  • Inventory counts are altered to match perpetual inventory
  • Inventory shortages cannot be explained
  • Differences in the physical and perpetual inventory charged to cost of sales
  • False credits to inventory to conceal unrecorded or understated sales
  • No source documents to justify inventory write-offs
  • Returned merchandise not returned to inventory
  • Unverified write-offs to accounts receivable
  • Sales reports not matched to shipping documents
  • Customer always waits for favorite employee to serve them
  • High number of altered or voided transactions

If you have concerns about activity happening in your workplace, we highly recommend that you contact one of our investigators so that we could indicate the type of investigation will work best for you.    All inquiries are handled in the strictest of confidence and with the utmost of discretion. Online Investigations offers both male and female investigators and are highly experienced in both online and offline infidelity.

We provide private investigator and detective services Nationally (Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Sydney and other major cities) and Worldwide.