Mystery shopping has been used by a variety of businesses for decades. Most of the time, mystery shoppers are used to make key evaluations of employee behaviors and to evaluate the customer experience. They evaluate what employers train for. This is used to make sure training is effective and that employees are following guidelines and policies of the company for which they work. It is very effective when done properly and it actually incentivizes employees to do a great job. It is the best feeling in the world to be rewarded for a job well done! Getting a 100% mystery shop report from your employer can mean a lot.
From time to time, hiring a company to send in mystery shoppers is not enough. When employee theft is suspected, it is best to refer to a Private Investigator.
During the past year, we engaged the services of Private Investigators twice. The very first time was for a retail store who sold high end suits. The owner of the company felt that a Sales Associate was “stealing” customers by showing them suit options, and then steering them toward his own online store for a less expensive alternative.
Why not send in a mystery shopper?
Several reasons. The most important reason is the legality. Investigators are trained in the law and know exactly how to gain information that can be used in court if necessary.
Secondly, the gathering of evidence. Private investigators are allowed by law to gather evidence of employee dishonesty and fraud. This is very important because in some cases, it can actually save the company money if the case goes to court.
A Private Investigator has knowledge on how to obtain information on a suspected employee by watching behavior in person (surveillance), and online. We work with Investigators across the United States to assist in the timely online collection of information on a person of interest. Our service, e-chatter, researches online information that is publicly available. If an employee is stealing retail goods for example, many times they will use easy, online ways to sell that merchandise. This breadcrumb can allow the Private Investigator to attempt to make a purchase or attempt a meet up.
Two-thirds of all US-based small businesses fall victim to employee theft, according to employee fraud stats.(National Federation of Independent Business)
According to Certified Fraud Examiners, a typical company can lose up to 5% annually to employee fraud. In fact, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners conducted a study in 2018 titled, “Report to the Nations: 2018 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse.” The study included 2,690 known cases. Many do not get reported due to the stigma and bad public relations to the company itself.
The study goes on to reveal some other commonalities.
- The overall amount of loss by men is 75 percent larger than those caused by women.
- The most common way employee frauds are discovered is via tips.
- Internal control weakness is responsible for nearly half of frauds.
- Employees committing fraud who have been with their companies longer stole twice as much.
- Small businesses lost almost twice as much to fraud per scheme as larger ones.
Contact us if you need direction as to which way to go if you have an internal employee issue. We can get you in touch with the right Investigator for your business.