Time Card Fraud: How to Catch a Cheating Employee

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Employee theft costs American businesses an average of $50 billion annually. But it’s not just about property, financial, or inventory theft. According to the American Payroll Association, time theft is also an issue that can cost a single business up to 7% of its annual payroll costs. And in some cases, that may be enough to hire additional or replacement staff. Fortunately, there are some practical ways to catch a cheating employee

Keep Your Employees on Their Toes

If you suspect employee time card fraud, unexpected measures may be required to throw a wrench into the fraudster’s plans. One option is to run unannounced checks to confirm employee attendance. The easiest way to ensure compliance is to inform employees of the random checks but not tell them when they’ll occur. If your employees really want to be there for the right reasons, there will be nothing to hide or cover. Catching employees off-guard can help ensure your business is always run by the right people. 

Implement an Internal Reporting System

Encourage all employees to anonymously report any observed or suspected fraud. Management may need to cross-check such reports to ensure they’re all legitimate, but anonymous reporting can give insights into consistently problematic patterns or areas of concern. Chances are, most reports will allow employees to make authentic reports without fear of retaliation.

Cross-Check with Other Records

Time cards aren’t the only options for verifying expected or scheduled employee hours. Compare the time cards with client records, project records, and security logs to see who came and went or who stayed through their shifts. HR departments or managers may need to hire employees or create specific projects or positions to cover this if fraud is extensive enough. It may take some extra time and work to compare those records, but it could save a lot of money in the long run. 

Implement Technology 

Technological advancements in computer applications can improve business dealings all around. But special applications, programs, and even internal logging devices can make timecard logging and recording a breeze. Data analysis can also easily catch discrepancies in scheduling records. If specific programs aren’t reasonable for the company’s budget or industry, apply apps or other options to record and analyze the data for you. Even hiring a company or individual can reduce HR headaches and eliminate potentially pricey mistakes. 

Hire a Confidential Private Investigator

Consider hiring outside help to save time, headaches, and internal resources. Competent private investigators have access to the newest updated tech devices, so they can easily analyze the necessary data, apps, and programs needed to highlight scheduling discrepancies and discover employee fraud. A private investigator can conduct personal surveillance, set up surveillance cameras throughout the business, or record data through business apps, programs, and computer entries. They can also perform spot checks or audits, compare various records, and continually run background checks to ensure you’re keeping the right staff on the payroll. Catching a cheating employee doesn’t have to be an internal pain.  Be sure to contact ASG Investigations when you’re ready to discuss your needs with a confidential private investigator.