July 13, 2021 6 min read

60+ Employee Theft Statistics for 2021

Is your company a den of thieves? Shockingly, 75% of employees admit to stealing at least once from their employer. Whether it’s a result of entitlement or just general dishonesty, employee theft comes in many forms and at varying degrees.

Everything from scrolling social media during a meeting to sharing confidential documents with an outside source can be considered workplace theft. While some cases are more serious than others, if you’re leading a company, it’s important to stay up to date on what’s what (legally). Because internal theft can have a major impact on your bottom line — alone, it’s estimated to cost U.S. businesses up to $50 billion a year. From fraud cases to data security incidents, we cover the common types backed by statistics and trends for 2021 and beyond.

Table of Contents

header 1

Internal Theft Statistics

A man putting a folder in his jacket pocket.

  1. 75% of employees have stolen at least once from their employer. (Source: CalRest.org)
  2. More than 30 percent of business bankruptcies are due to employee theft. (Source: Service Management Group)
  3. 90% of all significant theft losses come from employees. (Source: Willis North America)
  4. Cash theft is the top cause for over 20% of businesses. (Source: Balance Innovations)
  5. 40% of employees who steal from their work have experienced HR red flags prior. (Source: SHRM)
  6. 60% of employees would steal if they knew they wouldn’t get caught. (Source: FBI)

 

Employee Theft Demographics

  1. 34% of millennials justify stealing from their job. (Source: Service Management Group)
  2. 72% of all occupational fraud is committed by men. (Source: ACFE)
  3. The median age of a perpetrator is 48. (Source: Hiscox)
  4. An employee with any level of education (from a high school diploma to post-grad degree) has been reported to steal. (Source: Service Management Group)
  5. Finance or insurance insider attacks are primarily done by those in their twenties or thirties. (Source: Carnegie)

 

Top Industries for Employee Theft

  1. The top three sectors where insider attacks occur are finance, insurance, and healthcare. (Source: Carnegie)
  2. Finance and insurance have the highest number of perpetrators who are business partners, followed by healthcare and information technology. (Source: Carnegie)
  3. 84% of incidents in healthcare occur because the perpetrator is looking for financial gain. (Source: Carnegie)
  4. 27% of employee fraud occurs in government, healthcare, construction and service industries, while 23% occurs in finance, technology and other sectors. (Source: Ernst & Young)
header 2

Costs of Employee Theft

A person touching money in a cash register.

  1. Every year, businesses lose $50 billion as a result of employee theft. (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce)
  2. Employee theft costs are rising at a rate of 15% per year. (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce)
  3. Cash, property, or merchandise are targets of employee theft. (Source: Reference for Business)
  4. People estimate U.S. companies lose 20% of every dollar to workplace fraud. (Source: Ernst & Young)
header 3

Retail Theft Statistics

A website showing jeans for sale.

  1. The average retail theft case costs $1,380 due to dishonest employees. (Source: Jack L. Hayes International, Inc)
  2. Only 6% of retail theft losses are recovered. (Source: Jack L. Hayes International, Inc.)
  3. Organizations report a shrink rate average of 1.62%. (Source: NRF)
  4. 44% of retail professionals are allocating more budget towards loss prevention. (Source: NRF)
  5. 29% of organizations consider ecommerce crime much more of a priority. (Source: Statista)
  6. The top three e-commerce crime concerns are identity theft (71%), phishing (66%) and account theft (63%). (Source: WorldPay)
  7. Retailers with 500 or fewer stores are more concerned with stopping ecommerce fraud. (Source: NRF)
header 4

Employee Fraud Statistics

Confused woman scratching her head.

  1. Fraud causes companies to lose an estimated 5% of revenue every year. (Source: ACFE)
  2. One-third of cases occur because companies lack internal controls. (Source: ACFE)
  3. 40% of people find it’s easier to commit fraud with technology, while 41% think it’s more difficult. (Source: Ernst & Young)
  4. The average fraud case costs a company $1,509,000. (Source: ACFE)
  5. 42% of cases are reported by tip — most commonly from another employee. (Source: ACFE)
  6. Customer data is the target for healthcare insider fraud, while money is the target for the finance and insurance sectors. (Source: Carnegie)
  7. A typical fraud case lasts 14 months before it’s detected. (Source: ACFE)
  8. Fraud cases most commonly occur in these four areas: operations, accounting, executive and upper management, or sales. (Source: ACFE)
  9. Founder and executive fraud costs a median of $600,000, but only accounts for 20% of cases. (Source: ACFE)
  10. 42% of fraudsters live beyond their means, while 26% have issues with their finances. (Source: ACFE)
  11. Asset misappropriation accounts for 86% of cases, while corruption accounts for 43% and financial statement fraud accounts for 10%. (Source: ACFE)
  12. One-third of perpetrators commit more than one type of fraud. (Source: ACFE)
  13. 44% of fraud cases occur at private companies, while 26% occur at public companies — both having a median loss of $150,000. (Source: ACFE)
  14. Billing and payroll fraud occurs at twice the rate in small businesses compared to large companies. (Source: ACFE)
  15. Almost half of perpetrators try to conceal the crime by creating fraudulent documents. (Source: ACFE)
  16. 80% of perpetrators face internal discipline from the company itself. (Source: ACFE)
  17. The most used anti-fraud controls at organizations include: an external audit, code of conduct, internal audit department, and management certification of statements. (Source: ACFE)
  18. The longer an employee works at a company, the more revenue damage they cause in terms of fraud. (Source: ACFE)

 

Embezzlement Statistics

  1. One-third of perpetrators had a hand in their company’s accounting or finance. (Source: Hiscox)
  2. 85% of embezzlement cases are perpetrated by a manager, with one-fifth of cases by a C-level exec. (Source: Hiscox)
  3. 8 years is the average time a perpetrator works at the company. (Source: Hiscox)
  4. The average company loss of embezzlement is $357,650. (Source: Hiscox)
  5. Over half of businesses recover less than one-third of what was embezzled. (Source: Hiscox)
  6. 79% of cases involved more than one person who committed the crime. (Source: Hiscox)
header 5

Employee Time Theft

A man writing on his time card.

  1. Employers lose about 4.5 hours per week per employee to time theft. (Source: Robert Half International)
  2. 1 in 4 people admit to reporting more hours than they actually work. (Source: Software Advice)
  3. 75% of companies lose money from “buddy punching,” the most common type of employee time theft. (Source: American Payroll Association)
  4. Other forms of time theft include: late starts, early finishes, extended breaks, unauthorized overtime, and conducting personal activities at work. (Source: Pay Pro)
header 6

Cyber and Data Theft Statistics

Man sleeping in front of the computer.

  1. In 2020, the average cost of an insider attack is $11.45 million. (Source: Ponemon Institute)
  2. Insider threat incidents have increased by 47% since 2018. (Source: Ponemon Institute)
  3. Insiders are involved in 57% of data breaches. (Source: Verizon)
  4. 20% of cyber incidents are caused by a misuse of privileges. (Source: Verizon)
  5. 50% of companies have over 1,000 sensitive files and 22% of files available to every employee. (Source: Varonis)
  6. Healthcare, information technology, and financial services are the top three sectors where insider breaches occur. (Source: Verizon)
  7. Halting cybercrime is of higher priority for 68% of merchants. (Source: NRF)
  8. 25% of insider data theft involves stolen privileged user credentials. (Source: Ponemon Institute)
  9. 60% of companies have experienced 30 or more cyber incidents in one year. (Source: Ponemon Institute)
  10. Employee or contractor negligence causes 63% of attacks. (Source: Ponemon Institute)

 

Making sure your business is prepared and protected in any incident should be top of mind. A commercial crime policy aims to protect your company from losses caused by both third parties or internal employees. For cyber security breaches or similar events, cyber liability insurance aims to keep your company covered.