Safeguarding Your Business From Crime

This week's troubles on Wall Street make me reflect upon an earlier downturn in the 90's in the financial services industry once i was a VP of HR for a large national retail and mortgage bank account. While working in this industry, I managed two separate selective reductions in place affecting about 85 employees, plus a plant shut down of approximately 330 employees.

Certainly it was a difficult time for me and for my employees. My husband called me "the black widow" then, asking me at the end of each workday how many employees I'd over. Once I finished managing the plant shut down, I then received my own severance package and exited the company to begin my own HR consulting experience. I'd been offered the option within a transfer to another division or a severance package. Quite honestly, I didn't want to manage anymore RIFs even though I'd become an issue retail outplacement matter expert, then i opted for the severance package.

As the economy tightens, overall criminal activities increase drastically. This includes every type of crime from theft & embezzlement to workplace violence and corporate espionage. The American Bankruptcy Institute reports that consumer bankruptcy filings rose to at least.06 million in 2008, compared with 801,840 during 2007 & that trend will be far higher in '09.

More and more, individuals are facing increased financial pressures; which leads to a sharp spike in a variety of areas of crime and litigious demeanor. As individuals struggle with foreclosures, layoffs, rising expenses, increasing medical costs, and better interpersonal stress, these factors increase the chance that employees will steal from employers, or leave the taking company assets or other sensitive information with these people. Expect IP theft and identity theft to reach record highs in next year, and take additional precautions preserve your business' most valuable assets.

Businesses both large & small are heading into bankruptcy in record numbers: 28,322 businesses filed in 2008 and also 29,960 in your first three quarters of 2008 (according on the American Bankruptcy Institute), with no signs and symptoms of slowing down soon. So it's not surprising to see theft & litigious activity sky-rocketing. The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that employee theft costs businesses $40 billion dollars each year. This total is significantly the value of street crime losses annually in north america. The US banking industry reports losses of in excess of $1billion annually along with that is well above the combined losses due to bank robberies. American businesses lose about 5 percent of annual revenues to fraud resulting in staggering losses close to $638 billion (based on research from your Association of Certified Fraud Examiners). Compromised systems, data leakage, and network security vulnerabilities also top the list of damaging and criminal activities when the economy nose-dives. Businesses, governments and educational facilities reported nearly one half more data breaches last year as compared to 2007, exposing the private records of not less than 35.7 million Americans, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center of San diego. Organized crime rings are expanding, using insider employees, and are responsible for much of this theft. The FBI states that employee theft is the fastest growing crime found today.

Businesses should your effects of prior employees as well as recently laid-off employee behaviors, in addition to some existing employees. Employers and managers often overlook their existing employees who possibly be outwardly happy to experience job but inwardly feel they are owed more along with company for their loyalty, because their pay or options have been reduced, or simply for the reason that often feel qualified to have more. The incidence of Workers compensation claims are already increasing and incidents of petty theft internally within companies is at an all-time high.