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Petrosoft Blog
Nov 23, 2020 20:57 pm

Learn 4 Secrets to Reduce Convenience Store Employee Theft

Employee and customer theft, fraud, and other retail losses increased a whopping 22 percent from $50.6 billion in 2018 to $61.7 billion 2019, according to the National Retail Federation. The top reasons for increased theft included employee theft (58%), shoplifting, and organized retail crime. 

What are the top 4 ways that you can you reduce convenience store theft? 

#1 – Develop A Great Working Relationship with Your C-Store Employees: 

  • Make your c-store employees feel respected, and reward them with bonuses, gift cards, time off, and store discounts for doing their jobs well.  
  • Provide good career opportunities. C-stores with happy employees have the lowest turnover rates and the lowest internal theft rates.  

Despite your best efforts, dishonest employees can usually find ways to steal. If you suspect theft, call your security or loss prevention personnel or your local police department. Don’t play detective and try to solve the crime yourself.  

Warning: Avoid the trap of jumping to unwarranted conclusions. A false accusation could result in serious civil liability for you and your convenience store. 

#2 – Issue Access Control Cards to C-Store Employees 

  • Replace keys to your convenience store with access control cards for each employee so you can keep a record of who uses them and when.  

Top Tips: No one can duplicate control cards and give them to unauthorized people. You can deactivate them when reported missing or when an employee’s authorization ends. You can also limit their use to specific doors of your c-store by the time of day and day of week. Employees can also use access control cards to open parking lot or structure gates. 

  • Deactivate missing, lost, or stolen control cards immediately. 
  • At least annually, check that all employees have their own control cards. 
  • Do not allow contractors and cleaning services to keep temporary control cards. Ask them to sign out cards each day, and return cards at the end of the day. 

#3 – Closely Monitor C-Store Bank Deposits and Train Employees on Correct Procedures 

  • Provide a receipt for every c-store transaction. Encourage customers to expect a receipt by posting signs at each register directing customers to ask for a receipt if they did not receive one. 
  • Assign one employee to oversee setting up cash drawers. Assign another employee double-check the cash count. 
  • Make each employee responsible for his/her cash drawer. Issue one cash drawer to each on-duty employee. Do not allow another employee to open or use another’s cash drawer at any time. At the end of each shift, the employee should balance the cash drawer and another employee should double-check the calculations for accuracy. 
  • Mandate employees to close the cash register drawer after each transaction, never leave a register unlocked when not attended, and never leave the register key with the register. 
  • Identify each over-ring and under-ring. Managers should sign off all voids and over-rings. 
  • Check signatures against those on file. 
  • Limit the amount of cash accumulated in any register. Use a drop-safe to house excess cash that is over the determined limit. 
  • Check cash-to-sale ratios, which, along with unusually frequent refund transactions, can indicate employee theft. 
  • Keep tendered bills on the register until the end of the transaction. Short-change artists frequently pay with large bills. 
  • Train employees to conduct only one transaction at a time, and not be intimidated by a long line of waiting customers to make employees believe they have rush through every transaction. 
  • Perform cash reconciliation every day. Invest in an affordable c-store back-office system to accurately track sales and help you to reconcile correctly. 
  • Train employees on how to check for counterfeit currency. The look of the paper and its “feel” are usually the most obvious signs. A common counterfeiting practice is to “cut corners” off large bills and affix them to small-denomination bills. Inexpensive devices are available to help you detect counterfeit bills. 
  • Use an armored car service to make bank deposits, if possible. Otherwise, assign two employees to make deposits at least daily. Vary the time of day they make deposits to avoid establishing a pattern of making deposits at the same time every day to discourage thieves. 

#4 – Use Technology to Spot Convenience Store Employee Theft  

Do what successful c-stores and gas stations have already done: Invest in technology to monitor your c-store point-of-sale (POS) analytics and integrate your POS with security cameras. You can aim cameras over the cash register, facing the customer at the counter, and at your lottery counter.  

Technology solutions to these problems involve data mining programs and surveillance cameras. You can review data to determine whether one cashier is refunding far more items than other cashiers. Cameras can show whether a cashier repeatedly gave refunds to the same friend or relative, or whether a cashier failed to run merchandise over the scanner. 

Tip: If you suspect theft or errors at your POS, you can view video footage of the transaction using loss prevention cameras to nail down the root cause.  

Warning: Employee theft involving gift cards is growing because the cards are like cash and it is a lot easier to leave a store with a card than an item of merchandise. Cashiers can fake refunds and then use their registers to fill in a gift card, which they take. Or when shoppers buy a card, they give them a blank card and divert the money into a card for themselves.  

However, the most common type of employee theft is “sweet hearting,” where cashiers fail to ring up or scan goods their friends or relatives bring to their register. 

Protect yourself with these 4 tips. Learn more about affordable convenience store theft prevention technology, and schedule a demo here: Loss Prevention Analytics. 

Article sources include City of San Diego local government website.