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Stopping Employee Theft

Employee theft is on the rise, even in charitable organizations, and it’s not the occasional office supplies employees are swiping. Large sums of money are being stolen from employers, leaving devastating affects on businesses and Habitat affiliates alike. At the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program, we want to help your affiliate reduce the risk of such a loss.

To prevent employee theft, implement the following procedures:

Selecting the Right Employees

A good way to detect the character of someone you’re considering as an employee is to verify past employment. While a prior employer may not tell you more than the dates the person was employed, they may give an impression of the candidate through the tone of their voice. Ask if the applicant is eligible for rehire. Aside from past employment verification, verify their education and licenses or certifications as described on a resume, especially if the position will be handling finances.

You may also conduct reference checks. Many applicants list people with important sounding titles, expecting that the hiring manager will not actually look into the references they’ve provided. Call the references and ask about their impression of the candidate.

Check for prior criminal convictions, especially convictions that involved dishonest conduct or theft. Public record services such as Nexis and ChoicePoint have criminal conviction records for most large counties in the U.S.

You may need to obtain the consent of the candidate before conducting some of these checks. Numerous federal and state laws governing the gathering and use of information for pre-employment purposes, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, require that you obtain written consent from the candidate before amassing some types of information listed above.

Be consistent. If you choose to screen one candidate, you must screen all candidates.

Policies and Procedures that Help Deter Fraud

It is possible to create this perception by implementing these procedures:

Carefully review the employee theft prevention controls you currently have in place, if any. Determine if the procedures are followed and if they are effective in deterring employee theft. Management should always look for ways to improve procedures. Theft prevention is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and improvement.

If you do catch an employee stealing from your business and can prove it, notify the police and press charges. This will demonstrate to your employees that Habitat for Humanity takes allegations of employee theft very seriously.

If you have any questions, please call the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program at (888) 553-9002.