Can you prevent IT fraud?
The video below is about a security breach at the Michaels Arts & Crafts Store Chain. They suspect fake IT technicians came in and replaced debit card machines with compromised devices of their own. This video addressed primarily the technology, but read how other factors can help thieves of all types succeed in your store.
Could Michaels have protected themselves better?
Michaels could have been more proactive to help deter this type of fraud. I shopped there just yesterday and observed several problems that can really open the doors to thievery. Read on…
Michaels and other big box stores are often horribly understaffed. When you have too few people on hand to cashier and help customers, not only does customer service and satisfaction suffer, even the most unsophisticated thieves will hone in on the resulting vulnerability.
In a store that large, the staff obviously can’t be everywhere all the time. Additionally, since understaffing creates excessive stress on the small staff on hand, employees will be less likely to attend or even notice questionable customers or circumstances. And the employees themselves have ample theft opportunity when visibility is not a problem with so few staff around to notice any questionable practices.
Lack of trust
Big box retailers (and other retailers, too) generally don’t trust their staff. For example, at Michaels, customers frequently purchase multiples of the same item, yet the staff is not allowed to use the quantity key. I know this because, just yesterday, I was at Michaels and purchased a dozen skeins of yarn (all the same color) and yet the cashier had to scan each skein instead of scanning one of the skeins and then keying “Quantity” x 12. I made the remark that a quantity key would surely be useful at their store and certainly they were available on all modern POS systems. She said they have one, but are not allowed to use it.
I then remarked that they were obviously not trusted. The cashier replied the staff wasn’t trusted with anything. Apparently the staff is highly controlled in regard to POS practices. This is shallow thinking on corporate’s part. Sounds like the CFO is making all the management decisions.
If Michaels doesn’t trust their staff to use the quantity key, it’s an obvious conclusion that the staff isn’t allowed to make any independent moves or decisions.
In this apparent case of the fraudulent IT technicians, the staff involved would not have bothered to call corporate to check that IT servicing was actually requested by corporate. Why? Could it be that…
- employees are so overworked and under-respected they don’t care enough to look out for the store’s best interest
- employees are used to a lack of empowerment and just assume the work is requested without their knowledge or participation and therefore don’t question the fake technicians.
- employees may actually be told not to question anything.
Rah, Rah, who cares…
Great morale builder. Management has deemed that use of quantity keys leaves room for fraud. Yes, that can be true. But in the long run, when you disrespect the staff, they are far less likely to look out for you and far more likely to defraud you regardless of all the precautions you may take. Disgruntlement goes a long way toward revenge…
And what about the inconvenience to the customer who has to stand there waiting for each item to be individually scanned even when they are exactly the same. My checkout process would have been far quicker if the cashier could have used the quantity key.
A happy staff is a loyal staff
Yes, employee pilferage is a greater concern than customer shoplifting and you must protect your assets. But usually, employee pilferage is the employer’s fault – too many opportunities left open and an unhappy and indifferent staff. The point here is the more you disengage the staff from the operations of the store and the less supported they are, the more likely fraud can occur on both sides of the counter.
The bullets and bombs are flying
Your staff is the frontline of your store. Do you really want unempowered, unprepared, unsupported, overstressed, unhappy personnel running your store?
You’ll never get the chance to run a counteroffensive if you never had enough troops or reserves to begin with.
- Top 10 reasons your staff is blaming you for their poor performance (bizcommunicator.wordpress.com)
- How to motivate your staff and increase sales (bizcommunicator.wordpress.com)
- Why profiling customers can kill sales (bizcommunicator.wordpress.com)