Small Business Brief

Accounting, Employees, Safety & Loss Prevention

What Is Time Card Fraud and How Do You Prevent It?

Did you know that time-theft schemes affect around 75% of US businesses?

Timecard fraud is a big problem for employers. You’d like to believe that all your employees are trustworthy, and the vast majority are. However, the time card cheaters among your workforce are stealing directly from your company.

Learning about time card fraud and how to prevent it will help you implement a time card fraud policy. This guide explains how to get started.

Read on for more information.

What is Time Card Fraud?

There’s more than one way for time card thieves to steal company time. Let’s take a look at some of the most common forms of time card fraud:

Buddy Punching

Buddy punching is when employees clock in or out on behalf of each other, giving the impression that they were in attendance when they weren’t. This scam is easier to achieve if your company still uses paper timeslips. 

Exaggerated Hours

This is one of the most common ways that employees steal company time. By adding 15 minutes here and there, untruthful time card frauds can quickly start to become a drain on the company. This can happen with both paper and digital clock-in systems unless monitoring is practiced. 

Extended Breaks

Again, this is often just 5 or 10 minutes extra on scheduled lunch breaks. However, this amounts to hours in the long term, especially if your company is relaxed around breaktimes. Employees who take longer than their mandatory break commit time theft, whether intentional or not.

Not Working

If your employees work out in the field, on job sites, or visiting clients, your company is particularly vulnerable to time theft. Because workers clock in on a remote app, it’s easy for them to go online while also taking care of their personal business.

Overtime Favoritism

Sometimes, your employees need to work overtime to achieve goals and deadlines. In terms of productivity, it makes the most sense to assign a worker who has not reached their 40-hour week yet. With overtime favoritism, managers may allocate overtime to preferred employees who have already worked a full week, costing time and money.

Preventing Time Card Fraud

If you want to stop time theft, develop time monitoring and reporting procedures. If you use paper time tracking methods such as timesheets and time clocks, going digital is also a good idea.

When you track employee hours digitally, it makes it more difficult to falsify data and guarantees that your firm can readily record when and where workers are working.

Your time card fraud policy should be thorough, dealing with all types of potential abuse. Immediate dismissal is the only fair time card fraud punishment.

Dealing With Time Card Fraud By an Employee

There’s no place on your team for time card fraud. You need employees who are trustworthy, reliable, and honest. While being diligent at the interview stage is crucial, you also need a time card fraud investigation procedure to root out those who fall through the cracks.

We hope this brief guide has offered some clarity on one of the biggest challenges facing employers today. 

If so, check out the rest of our blog for more forward-thinking advice.