Christmas time is a boom time for small business owners and is the time of year to finally rake in profits, but it is also a time when your staff is stretched thin and when criminals are doing their worst. Local police are doing their best to prevent theft and work with business associations to educate small business owners on the latest trends in fraud and theft.

New technology, like the pay wave system, has brought tech-savvy thieves into small shops and credit card fraud has sky rocketed as a result. Proper training of staff on business processes and educating them on fraud and theft policies is a good first step. New temporary staff working on their own or in conjunction with associates, can target weaknesses with sophisticated scams from within; so it is always good to do cautionary background checks on these new workers.

Cash handling and inventory systems should be watched carefully and checked by senior management. It is estimated that retail fraud has cost Sydney businesses $2.3 billion annually so no business can afford to take the issue lightly.

Having the optimal amount of staff on shift is a general form of protection but more specific methods would be having security cameras and hidden security tags. Signs displaying bag check policies should be placed prominently and the policy should be enforced. Thieves often focus on smaller less expensive items since they tend to be less guarded but the loss of this merchandise will add up quickly and will eventually be detrimental to the business. Even small items can carry a big price tag when multiplied over a holiday season.

Small business owners and local law enforcement along with management and staff, will need to work together this holiday season to create a team atmosphere and work together against petty criminals and sophisticated criminal schemes. A positive work environment goes a long way in the prevention of crime. Staff should always feel comfortable coming to management if they suspect a thief in the store, even if it is another staff member.

Christmas time is a wonderful time of the year and a time when small business owners are rewarded for the risk they have taken on being entrepreneurs. The best way to minimize that risk this holiday season is to take preventative actions and know retailer’s rights so as not to fall victim to shoplifting and fraud.