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Own a small business? Beware of embezzlers

Here’s the saddest truth about embezzlement: It’s more likely to happen among a small, tight-knit company than it is in a big corporation.

Why? Because small companies are often staffed by people that know and trust each other well. They often have less oversight, and nobody expects someone who is “like family” (or actual family) to steal from them. In large corporations, there’s a lot less free agency, and everybody tends to be a little suspicious of anything unusual that happens because most people don’t know their co-workers that well.

That’s probably why 80% of embezzlements happen in small businesses — rather than large corporations.

Ready for another shocker? The typical embezzler is probably not the person you picture. If you think of “someone likely to steal” from a small firm, and you picture a younger, male employee with the flashy smile and savvy electronic skills — you’ve got exactly the wrong image in your head.

The typical company thief is more likely to be female, 40 years of age or older, with no criminal history. She’s probably working in your finance or accounting department or handles your billing.

Granted, that’s the stereotypical embezzler, so you don’t have any particular reason to be suspicious of any specific employee in your firm based on that description — it’s just as important to be aware that most embezzlers get away with stealing money from the company simply because nobody would ever suspect them of doing “something like that.”

Embezzlement doesn’t just damage your company’s bottom line — it can seriously damage your reputation if word gets out about the theft. Your reputation is everything — and one dishonest employee can ruin everything you’ve built. If you’ve been the victim of embezzlement, find out what legal solutions are available to you.