Red Flags: Employee Theft at the Cash Register

Shockingly, 33 percent of all businesses go bankrupt due to employee theft*. Laziness and dishonesty can put a significant dent in your cash register’s profitability.

Being aware of the atmosphere at and around your cash register is the key to preventing loss due to employee theft.

employee theft at the cash register


To protect your business from employee theft at the cash register, be aware of these suspicious indicators:

  • Cash drawer left ajar
  • Money is out of place
  • Calculator and/or phone near the cash register
  • Bills facing different directions
  • Keys left in lock
  • Tick marks
  • Prices written down
  • Markers (such as paper clips, rubber bands, etc.) in cash drawer

Why are These Suspicious Indicators Important?

It is important to look out for out-of-place items around the cash register, often used as counting devices to calculate what’s been stolen.

Several paper clips in the cash drawer may just be the avoidance of putting paper clips where they belong. Or…they can indicate the amount of cash stolen, so the register report can be reconciled. Be aware of small indicators of potential employee theft at the cash register.

Easy Pickings

Cash drawers left ajar, money kept out of place, and keys left in the lock are unacceptable business practices—and potential signs of employee theft.  No cash register should be left open unless a customer is being serviced. If the key remains in the lock it’s difficult to determine who has opened the register.

Cash Askew

Bills facing different directions, tick marks, prices written down, and markers (like paper clips) in the cash drawer are all potential signs of employee theft.

Cash registers are designed to keep track of all business transactions so unneeded crutches like notated prices, calculators, and tick marks are suspect.

Solutions to Stopping Employee Theft at the Cash Register

  • Take a hard look at your cash register stations, cleaning and purging unneeded clutter and potential markers from the space
  • Give clear instructions to all staff on how sales and returns are processed
  • Correct any anomalies as soon as you recognize them
  • Review your surveillance video alongside your exception reports to find red flags in cash handling procedures

DIGIOP is a complete software solution that helps identify employee theft at and around the cash register. Let us help you identify risk and eliminate theft.