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Use these tips to prevent financial fraud

A lot of people seem to think that white collar crime isn't really that serious. They justify their thinking by saying that, unlike violent crimes, "nobody gets hurt." Maybe that's why some employees are willing to take the risk and steal from an employer.

Unfortunately, white collar crime can destroy your business faster than you built it, whether you're dealing with embezzlement, fraud or some other scheme. As a business owner, it's your job to be constantly on watch -- and to do what you can to prevent workplace crimes before they happen.

How can you do it? Try these tips:

1. Never assume that your employees wouldn't do something

The reason that some white collar criminals have been so successful is simply that nobody would suspect them. They seem like nice people. They've been in their positions a long time. They have the trust of their employers.

2. Have a system of checks in place

You can't be everywhere at once, so make sure that your employees have a system they can follow -- and make sure they use it. Signing in and out of computers and cash registers is important. Making sure that nobody shares passwords is also critical.

3. Review your employees' work regularly

An employee is much less likely to steal if there's a chance of being caught. Make sure that your employees know that you randomly check their work and will question any inconsistencies you find.

4. Encourage employees to report their concerns

Do you have a system your employees can use to report a suspected problem? If not, you should. Make it clear that concerns can be reported to you privately without fear of reprisals.

Naturally, you don't want to treat your employees like each one is suspected of being a secret thief. You just have to operate with the reality that white collar graft does happen in every industry -- and adjust your policies accordingly.

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