The fastest way to conduct employee theft investigations

December 11, 2017
Employee theft is the leading cause of loss and shrink in both the restaurant and retail industry. Often employees that steal do so in small quantities over an extended period of time and this can really add up. So being able to effectively conduct an investigation is just as important as detecting signs of potential fraud in the first place. In this post, we outline inefficiencies that slow you down and how you can conduct employee theft investigations.


What Slows Down Investigations

Disconnected data systems: Information used in audits is gathered from multiple data systems, most commonly Point-of-Sale (POS) and surveillance video. These data systems are completely separate from one another it can take hours of manual searching to find a transaction record that aligns with a specific time stamp.

Not knowing the exact time and location of a transaction. Time and location search is a basic method of investigating a transaction. It requires you to know the time of the event and location (store number, the exact POS station). But you can’t rely on always knowing this information. For instance, a customer complains about an order they made yesterday but they don’t have the receipt anymore.

Operating more than one store. “The more the merrier” isn’t always true. If your video and transactional data can only be accessed on-location, you are likely spending a lot of time on the road driving from one store to another. This is fine if you want to check up on your staff or spend more time with customers, but it’s a huge time killer when you just need to review a transaction.

Exporting evidence to case management software. Having to export your evidence from one system and import it to a case management software is just another tedious step in the investigative process that can be avoided.

The Solution: Software for managing employee theft investigations

At Solink, we worked closely with our clients to understand and address these issues. As a result, Solink was designed to solve these painpoints that can hinder investigation. Solink allows you to:

  • See video + transaction details on one view, in the same app. Solink creates transaction integration (automatically links POS transactions to corresponding video)
  • Search and filter with ease. Solink catalogs moments in time with by menu item or products sold, transaction type, staff name, and more.
  • Search from anywhere, for every site. Solink offers a mobile app that gives you the details inherent in our platform, but with the mobility you need to keep track of all your locations at once.
  • Built-in case management. Keep all your evidence and case notes in one place

Below is an example of how we went about conducting an investigation on employee discounts in a quick service/fast food restaurant but the same steps apply for a retail or financial scenario.

Investigating employee theft in less than a minute

Employee theft investigations can often be conducted based on a trend of related transactions. For instance, we know that QSRs are vulnerable to theft when employees are able to apply discounts to orders. So we want to be able to quickly find these particular transactions among the rest. In this example, we have reason to believe that an employee named Vera Gallo is abusing discounts, so we want to find every instance in the last week when she applied a discount to a transaction.

Step 1: All POS Transactions

From the Search page, we see that the system has a combined total of 277,239 POS Transactions from several stores that are being managed centrally.

Audit Employee Discounts 1

Step 2: Apply filters to narrow down search

By applying the three filters listed below, we can narrow down over 277k transactions to just the eight that we are looking for.

  1. Set the time frame to October 9th-16th 2015
  2. Indicate name of employee
  3. Show only transactions with a discount
Audit Employee Discounts 2

Step 3: Review the receipt and video footage

Opening any of the search results takes us to the Event Details page where we can see the receipt and a snapshot of the transaction. By default, only a jpeg snapshot from the video is recorded for each transaction to minimize the bandwidth usage. But the ‘Stream Video’ feature allows us to stream the full video whenever we need to. In addition, we can escalate the investigation by adding this event to an existing case or creating a new one.

Audit Employee Discounts Step 3


This example demonstrates that with the right tools, conducting employee theft investigations in a high-volume business can take just minutes rather than hours. After all, your time is better spent providing exceptional service. If you would like to see us demonstrate an audit or investigation around a different scenario, please leave your suggestion in the comments and we can cover it in a future blog post. To learn more about Solink’s Loss Prevention system, request a demo today.

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