Reducing Internal Theft and Point of Sale Manipulation

Retail theft, both internal and external, causes millions of dollars of loss each year for businesses. While shoplifting can account for a significant percentage of the annual loss, employee actions are responsible for a larger portion. Employee theft usually occurs in two areas, the back door and the cash register. Knowing this is helpful, but without assistance through technology, it is difficult to hold people accountable and catch employees that are stealing from your business.


Let’s look at simple ways for a business owner to regain control in these two critical areas.


Area 1: Monitor the Back Door

This is typically a locked door used to receive inventory and take the trash out. It is not usually visible to management and staff during normal operation hours and items that have not been paid for can easily exit the building. Common ways that this happens:


  • An employee slips out during their work shift and puts the stolen items in their car
  • An employee opens the back door and hands off the stolen items to an accomplice that is waiting for them
  • An employee puts the stolen items in with the trash and takes it to the dumpster to pick it up after their shift


The following are simple, cost effective solutions that will allow you limit back door and dumpster traffic.


  • A back door typically has a camera positioned on it. By installing a $25-$35 door contact on the back door and connecting it to the camera, a text or email alert can be sent to the manager with a snapshot every time the door is opened.
  • Installing an exterior camera that captures the dumpster in its field of view allows us to create a “motion detection window” that will trigger when there is activity at the dumpster, alerting the manager via text or email with a snapshot. If the culprit is an employee without a trash bag, the manager can review the video to see if the employee picked up an item that was left earlier.


Area 2: POS Software + Video at the Cash Register

With all the transactions that occur during a shift on multiple cash registers, it is impossible for a manager to create accountability on each transaction without the use of technology. By integrating the Point of Sale (POS) software with the Video Surveillance Solution, your management team has the ability to have eyes on every transaction. Then, by creating exception reporting within the solution, suspicious activity can be proactively presented in short 20-30 second clips for further review. If the manager’s activity is questionable, these exceptions can be pushed to a regional manager or owner for review. The following are several examples of exception reporting that are typically considered suspicious and should be reviewed:


  • Returns or refunds over $10
  • Manager overrides
  • Any non-promotional based discount
  • Any customer cash back request over $50
  • Any coupon transaction, if till does not balance
  • Manager meals in excess of two per shift


POS has always been able to alert you to these suspicious activities, but by integrating the video solution, there is a visual audit trail that supports the POS data. They say a picture is worth a thousand is very difficult for an employee to dispute a cash register theft when there is video evidence of them putting the cash in their pocket.


After 35 years in the industry, it has been my experience that being proactive about securing these two areas can make a significant impact in your Loss Prevention program - resulting in much better bottom line.

Doug Jones
ITech Digital offers experienced security professionals who partner with organizations across the nation to design custom security solutions for industries like retail, restaurants, and commercial properties.
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