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As the song about the December holidays goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." But it's not so wonderful for employers that are unprepared for crime risks. The year-end holidays are typically exceedingly busy, with employees racing to complete projects and, for some businesses, lots of temporary workers hired to help serve customers. Here are five tips to help businesses mitigate the risks of theft, fraud and other crimes. 1. "Sweethearting" can break your heart — or bank. In this form of retail fraud, workers ring up purchases at steep discounts or for free to friends or family members. Sales are ubiquitous at the holidays, but don't let your profits fly out the door. Video surveillance and software programs that detect discrepancies and unusual patterns make it much harder for employees to commit or enable theft.2. Make a list of temps and check it twice. Temporary employees can be a huge help for businesses, but be sure to conduct background checks. Even simple checks can screen out the potential for pilfering or, as it's known in the retail trade, inventory shrinkage.3. 'Tis the season for more scamming. Employees who are feeling taxed with overtime hours are more susceptible to scam artists, who know that the year-end period is a time when many workers just want to get requests off their desks. Social engineering is a risk that businesses face all year, but expect to see more attempts at this time of year. Train employees to recognize scams and red flags, and to verify requests before responding in e-mail or on the phone.4. Be careful with logins, or yule regret it. Account takeovers are unfortunately common risks, as more strangers may be present in the workplace to pick up or deliver shipments. We have seen cases where criminals impersonated delivery people and cruised around offices looking for information to use in phishing or malware scams — or to snag the login and passwords that some employees jot down on Post-It notes. Know who is in your building, why they're there, and don't let them wander unaccompanied.5. Avoid the ghost of payrolls present. Payroll fraud can be a problem, when businesses ramp up their hiring. Some hiring managers may add "ghost employees" to the payroll who don't actually do the work. To control this kind of fraud, employers can use software to spot abnormal patterns. Gregory W. Bangs is XL Catlin's Crime Regional Leader for North America insurance. He has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. Before joining XL Catlin, he managed one of the industry’s largest crime insurance operations. He has held various management, underwriting and product development roles in the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and France.

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  • Crime Regional Leader - North America
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Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and its affiliates (“AXA XL Risk Consulting”) provides risk assessment reports and other loss prevention services, as requested. This document shall not be construed as indicating the existence or availability under any policy of coverage for any particular type of loss or damage. AXA XL Risk. We specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that compliance with any advice or recommendation in any publication will make a facility or operation safe or healthful, or put it in compliance with any standard, code, law, rule or regulation. Save where expressly agreed in writing, AXA XL Risk Consulting and its related and affiliated companies disclaim all liability for loss or damage suffered by any party arising out of or in connection with this publication, including indirect or consequential loss or damage, howsoever arising. Any party who chooses to rely in any way on the contents of this document does so at their own risk.

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In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
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