Take, Lock, Hide at Your Workstation


With the Christmas shopping rush coming up, perhaps you’ve seen the public service signs at your local mall reminding you to:

  • Take your valuables
  • Lock your car
  • Hide anything you leave behind

You might see these signs cropping up at work as well with office thefts on the rise for the holidays. You probably don’t like to think about evil little elves rifling through your workstation. But you may want to think twice about leaving anything of value in your cubicle overnight – or even while you are away at lunch. One Colorado woman left her wedding ring in her desk because her finger was too swollen to wear it. When she went to a meeting, a thief lifted the ring and the woman’s credit card out of her desk. The card can be cancelled and the charges reversed by the credit card issuer; but the wedding ring may never be seen again.

Tips to Limit Workplace Theft

Wallets, purses, car keys, and petty cash are obvious things to avoid leaving in an unlocked drawer. However, your swipe card for the vending machine could be used to rack up a few bucks too. Your employer may have a weekly cap (such as $20) to prevent high dollar losses, but it’s still a pain to have to request a correction on your wages and get a new card issued.

If you occasionally take care of personal business at a work computer (such as paying bills or shopping online), your login information and passwords should be kept secure as well. Don’t write these down anywhere. Don’t leave a browser open or a screen up after you’re done with an online transaction. Also, don’t have your browser cookies automatically save your login and password on any sites you visit.

You can put valuables in a locked drawer or overhead bin, but realize that these locks are very easy to defeat. Plus, many desk and file drawer locks may be keyed alike in the same set of office furniture, giving other workers easy access to your belongings. Sometimes these locks are even numbered so you can tell which key fits.

Even if you trust everyone you work with not to steal, be aware that building security isn’t exactly airtight. In the case of workplace theft in the news article linked above, someone off the street came right into the office and pilfered through desk drawers in search of plunder. It’s safest to carry valuables with you – even if you are just going to lunch.

CC license image courtesy of Flickr user squeaky marmot


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