Are You a Target?

Oct 24, 2019 | Leadership

Crime is costly. The financial losses from theft alone exceed over $50 billion per year. Add in what businesses spend to prevent loss, and that amount more than doubles. When you recognize how criminals might target your business, you can strategize ways to stop them.

How Criminals Target Your Business

Overtly

Criminals may target your business overtly, such as in an armed robbery or heist. Some types of businesses are more prone to overt criminal activities than others. Convenience stores, for example, have historically been targets because of their long hours, small staffs, and quick entry and exit locations from the front door. Other businesses that handle large amounts of cash are also prone to robbery.

What to do about it: Thieves that commit robbery are looking to get in and out quickly without drawing too much attention from outside, so your job is to make that as difficult as possible. The placement of security cameras, location and visibility of your register, open and close procedures, and strict cash handling policies can all deter criminals. Train your staff to both prevent robbery and handle it correctly if it does occur. The safety of your staff and customers should always take priority over potential financial losses.

Covertly

Criminals are more likely to target your business covertly, such as through shoplifting or phone scams. Retail businesses are obvious targets of shoplifters, but theft of assets or intellectual property can happen at any business. Employee theft can also part of this type of criminal activity and can happen anywhere.

What to do about it: Security systems, including simple anti-shoplifting signage, can help deter theft of merchandise and other assets. Clear policies and training that explains employee theft and its consequences can discourage employees from stealing.

Digitally

Cybertheft is theft that occurs through unlawful access to a business’s electronic systems. Any business that accepts credit card payments or maintains a database of consumer information is at risk of becoming a victim of digital crime. Digital crime can be perpetrated by an outside entity, such as in the case of skimming operations or data breaches. Employees can sometimes participate cybertheft by knowingly or unknowingly providing access to systems. Other forms of cybertheft may be perpetrated directly by employees, such as in the case of embezzlement or theft of intellectual property.

What to do about it: As with overt and covert criminal activity, your policies, procedures, and employee training can determine whether or not you fall victim to these crimes. Information is your greatest protector – the more employees know about how these crimes occur and their role in protecting the company, the more likely it is that thieves will look for an easier target than your business presents.

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