50+ Shocking Employee Theft Statistics [2024]

November 23, 2023 0 Comments

Is your business a thief’s den?

Maybe you are a victim of employee theft without even knowing it.

As 95% of companies encounter employee theft issues.

Employee theft costs employers up to $50 billion annually.

That’s huge, right?

Hence it is crucial to understand Employee Theft Statistics, its reasons, and types to save your company from suffering losses.

Here we have presented 50+ Shocking Employee Theft Statistics you need to Know.

Top Employee Theft Statistics: Editor’s Pick

  1. 75% of employees admit to stealing from their employers at least once. [1]
  2. Employee theft is costing US employers up to $50 billion annually. [2]
  3. More than 30% of business bankruptcies are due to employee theft. [3]
  4. Disagreement or conflict with HR and managers is one of the top reasons for employee theft.
  5. 40% of employees who indulge in stealing have experienced HR issues. [4
  6. One in four employees admitting to reporting more hours than they actually work is also a type of employee theft.
  7. 20% of data breaches are done by company insiders. [14]
  8. Dishonest employees are the reason behind the $1,380 average retail theft loss. [8]
  9. 75% of companies lose money from ‘buddy punching’, the most common type of employee time theft. [13]
  10. It’s confirmed that 33% of corporate bankruptcies in the US are linked to employee theft. [13]
  11. There were no attempts made to conceal crimes in 12% of cases. [15]
  12. There were no charges, only convictions for 58% of cases, and only 45% of embezzlement cases had charges. [15]
75% of employees admit to stealing from their employers at least once

Employee Theft Demographics

Are you wondering which age group or gender is most likely to steal?

Though there are no certain patterns, statistics draw our attention to some age groups.

72% of internal frauds are committed by men. [4]

The losses occurred by men are also higher than those caused by female counterparts.

34% of Millennials are found to be stealing from employers. [3]

The average age of a fraudster is confirmed around 48 years. [6]

However, Employee theft is not dependent on educational qualification. Everyone from high school passouts to post-graduate professionals can cheat their companies.

University graduates are most likely to steal with a 49% chance. [4]

employee thefts by education level

Reasons Behind Employee Theft – Employee’s POV

Curious to know why someone would steal from an employer.

Here are the reasons employees usually give after being caught:

  • 40% of thieves have experienced HR-related red flags before committing fraud. [1]
  • 14% of employers took revenge on negative performance reviews in 2019. [1]
  • 13% had a fear of losing their job and retaliated with stealing and fraud. [1]
  • For a majority of employees, the main reason was low salaries and the inability to manage family expenses with low wages.
ReasonPercentage
Motivated by money71%
Improve living standards42%
Sold secrets to known customer19%
HR-related red flags40%
Negative reviews14%
Fear of job loss13%
Faced internal discipline from the organization80%

Types of Employee Theft Statistics

Do you know, from scrolling social media and neglecting work during work hours to selling company secrets all come under employee thefts? 

It is important to familiarize yourself with all kinds of employee thefts and frauds before you fall innocently victim. 

Stealing cash, time theft, inventory theft, embezzlement, cyber theft, and database breaches are all different types of employee thefts.

Retail Theft Statistics

dishonest employees are the reason behind retail theft loss
  • 29% of retailers prioritize e-commerce risks and threats.
  • Dishonest employees are the reason behind the $1,380 average retail theft loss. [8]
  • Organizations report a shrink rate average of 16.2%. [9]
  • 44% of employers have increased the loss prevention budget. [9]
  • Only 6% of retail theft losses are recovered. [8]
  • Retailers with around 500 stores are more concerned about e-commerce fraud. [9]
  • Employers are most considered about Identity theft, Phishing, and Account theft. Making them the top three e-commerce crimes. [10]

Embezzlement Statistics

What is embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a type of employment theft where an individual misappropriates assets entrusted to them. In this white-collar crime, the person is authorized with assets legally but uses those assets for illegal purposes.

Chequekiting, kickbacks, cash skimming, and overbilling are all examples of embezzlement.

  • Managers are reported as perpetrators for 85% of embezzlement cases. [7]
  • The companies lost $357k on average due to embezzlement. [7]
  • Only half of the businesses recovered from one-third of the embezzled amount. [7]
  • 79% of embezzlement crimes were group activity. [7]
  • One-third of the perpetrators were involved in companies’ finance or accounting matters. [7]
common embezzlement methods

Employee Time Theft

Have you ever heard, ‘Time is Money’

Companies losing money because of employee time theft is the proof.

Employee Time Theft usually occurs when an employee uses paid working hours for non-work-related activities.

Scrolling social media, using wifi for activities other than work, arriving late, leaving early, taking very long breaks, and reducing productivity are all time thefts.

employee time theft
  • One in four employees admits to reporting more hours than they actually work. [11]
  • Employers lose approximately 4.5 hours per week per employee to time theft. [12]
  • 75% of companies lose money from ‘buddy punching’, the most common type of employee time theft. [13]
  • Employees do time theft in various forms like late starts, early leaving, extended breaks, and personal activities at work. [13]

Cyber and Data Theft Statistics

  • According to the US Department of Commerce, 63% of cyber attacks are caused by employee or contractor negligence.
  • 57% of data breaches are caused by insiders who have access to information. [14]
  • Misuse of privileges is the reason behind 20% of cyber incidents. [14]
  • The average cost of an insider attack is $17.19 million as of 2022. [15]
  • Major cyber breaches occur in the healthcare, IT, and Finance sectors. [15]
  • 30% of well-performing companies experience 30 or more cyber incidents in a year. [15]
  • Reducing cybercrime is a high priority among 68% of merchants. [9]

To cope with losses due to cyber security breaches companies should have cyber liability.

Cost of Employee Theft

employee theft causes one-third of all business bankruptcies

Employee theft is an increasing concern among companies with alarming losses. 

Thefts and frauds can lead companies to take loans or even bankruptcy. 

Covid has drastically impacted the situation. 

During 2019, the average retail theft cost for businesses was $369.42. [16]

It has increased to $440.48, 19% after 2019. [16]

It’s confirmed that 33% of corporate bankruptcies in the US are linked to employee theft. [17]

Employee theft causes one-third of all business bankruptcies in the US. [14]

Total business losses from bankruptcies amount to $50 billion annually. [17]

$42 billion is the total loss due to employee fraud. [14]

Businesses lose 5% of their annual revenue to employee fraud and abuse. The average loss per case is about $1,509,000. [5]

Let’s explore the connection between the age of fraudsters, gender, position in the company, and median losses in detail:

  • Occupational fraud caused by owners/executives is most financially damaging as these people have access to critical information, data, and finances. Though it is the least common fraud (20%), the median loss is approximately $600k. [5]
  • Employee thefts where you have been working for the company for six years or more caused twice the median loss ($200k) compared to the newer employees with tenure of five years or less ($100k). [5]
  • Male thefts cause more losses ($150k) than female thefts ($85k). [5
  • University graduates or higher degree holders cause more losses (4195k) than lower degrees of educated employees ($100k). [5]
  • Employees aged 55 or above caused median losses of $425k. [5]
  • Loss caused by employees aged 40-54 is around $150k. [5]
cost of employee theft statistics

Employee Theft by Industry Statistics

Are you wondering, Which methods are most likely to be used by employees for thefts?

This highly depends on the type of industry. The method of stealing and significant loss is different for each industry.

Here is what we found about employee theft by industry:

IndustryMedian lossNumber of cases registered in a year
Mining$475k26 
Energy$275k60
Real Estate$254k45
Banking and Finance$100k386
Communications$115k15
Education$65k101
Insurance$70k85

Employee Theft Prediction and Prevention Statistics

Employee theft cases have been increasing every day. The losses are alarmingly high due to business rise in the IT sector and cyber crimes. 

Employers must be aware of the types and methods of crimes to prevent them.

It is better to predict and prevent fraudster cases, there is too much work associated with dealing with thefts and recovering.

As they say, ‘Prevention is better than cure.

48% of fraud cases were detected via tips from college employees. [16

70% of cases lasted more than a year before being discovered. [16]

Loss prevention teams have prioritized different crimes:

  • 61% cited organized retail crimes [9]
  • 59% prioritized e-commerce and cybercrime
  • 58% prioritized internal theft
  • 54% prioritized return fraud

There were no attempts made to conceal crimes in 12% of cases. [15]

There were no charges, only convictions for 58% of cases, and only 45% of embezzlement cases had charges. [15]

Tools for Employee Theft Prevention and Detection

  • In 33% of cases, phone hotline and email were used by whistleblowers. [5]
  • Retail theft statistics show that 52% are allocating additional technology resources, 36% of prevention budgets, and 30% are adding loss prevention staff. [9]
  • The top five loss prevention systems as of 2019 include
  1. Burglar Alarms – 92.1%
  2. Digital Video Records – 84.1%
  3. Armored Car Deposit Pickups – 68.3%
  4. POS Data Mining – 65.1%
  5. Live Customer Visible CCTV – 61.9%

How Companies Handle Workplace Thefts

After companies discover employee theft, they usually go with the following steps:

  • 29% of companies laid off employees
  • Meanwhile, 27% increased their spending on auditing
  • 26% lost customers and time discussing security and audit requirements
  • 25% went on to purchase or enhance current insurance coverage
  • 24% switched auditors. [7]

Employee Theft FAQs

What percentage of employees steal from their employers?

75% of employees are reported for stealing from their employers at least once. Employee theft is costing US employers up to $50 billion annually. And more than 30% of business bankruptcies are due to employee theft. 

What are the most common things stolen from the workplace?

The most common stolen office equipment and things include: Writing accessories, electronics, critical documents, cash, and even furniture.

What do you mean by employee time theft? How often does it occur?

Employee Time Theft usually occurs when an employee uses paid working hours for non-work-related activities. 

Scrolling social Media, using wifi for activities other than work, arriving late, leaving early, taking very long breaks, and reducing productivity are all time thefts.

One in four employees admits to reporting more hours than they actually work. 

Employers lose approximately 4.5 hours per week per employee to time theft. 

75% of companies lose money from ‘buddy punching’, the most common type of employee time theft.

What is embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a type of employment theft where an individual misappropriates assets entrusted to them. In this white-collar crime, the person is authorized with assets legally but uses those assets for illegal purposes. Chequekiting, kickbacks, cash skimming, and overbilling are all examples of embezzlement.

What do company statistics say about handling workplace thefts?

After companies discovered employee theft, 29% of companies laid off employees. Meanwhile, 27% increased their spending on auditing, 26% lost customers and time discussing security and audit requirements, 25% went on to purchase or enhance current insurance coverage, and 24% switched auditors.

Conclusion

Employee theft includes all the ways in which an employee might steal from their employers. 

Employers need to understand types, prevention, and prediction methods to handle employee thefts. 

Employee Thefts cause huge monetary losses for companies.  

Better safe than sorry, right!?

75% of employees admit to stealing from their employers at least once. 

Employee theft is costing US employers up to $50 billion annually. Employee Theft is more common than we actually realize. 

Businesses lose 5% of their annual revenue to employee fraud and abuse. The average loss per case is about $1,509,000.6

According to employees’ POV, they steal from their employees because of negative reviews, HRrealted crisis, and low wages. 

71% of thefts are motivated by money. Major types of employee thefts include time thefts, cyber and data thefts, embezzlement, and retail thefts.

There are various methods to tackle employee thefts regardless of industry type. Companies should install proper security and insurance to handle theft crimes. 

Sources

  1. CalRest. Employee Theft: Why do employees steal?
  2. CNBC. This crime in the workplace is costing US businesses $50 billion a year
  3. SMG. Are happier employees less likely to steal?
  4. SHRM. Why Is Workplace Theft on the Rise?
  5. ACFE. 2020 Global study on occupational; fraud and abuse
  6. GlobalNews wire. Employee theft cost US businesses an average of $1.13 million in losses, according to 2017 Hiscox
  7. CUTimes. Hiscox Study Confirms Prominence of U.S. Employee Theft. 
  8. Hayes International. Annual Retail Theft Survey
  9. NRF. National retail security survey
  10. Worldpay. Merchant  Solution
  11. Software advice. Time Theft Report.
  12.  Cision. Wasted Workday: Employees Lose Over Two Weeks Each Year Due To IT-Related Issues
  13. Solink. 9 types of time theft
  14. Verizon. Insider threat report
  15. Varonis. 2019 Global data risk report
  16. Loss Prevention Magazine. Shedding Light on Retail Theft Statistics.
  17. Forbes. Shoplifting Has Become A $100 Billion Problem For Retailers.

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