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Remote Work and Employee Time Fraud

by | May 21, 2020 | Investigative

COVID-19 has resulted in a significant increase of remote employee and  given rise to new types of employee fraud.  Many companies are saying they will continue to utilize remote employees for the foreseeable future.  So, how do these companies deal with potential employee time fraud.  Some employers are turning to Private Investigators  to verify remote work employees are “on the job” and not becoming lax or even fraudulent with their time keeping.

How to Determine If Time Fraud is Occurring

If your staff is not supervised and is only checking in digitally a few times each day there is a possibility that they may not perform required tasks.  If you have concerns that an employee is not at work and feel you may need to terminate,  a private investigator can be helpful to gather the evidence you need.

These cases involve a significant amount of surveillance and tracking and the investigative techniques may vary depending upon the scenarios.

Employee Refuses to Return to Work

If you have asked your employee to return to work and they refuse citing they are worried about contracting COVID19, and instead are taking unemployment benefits this might constitute fraud. Accuracy is key in these situations.  Having a handle on the local and state mandates for social distancing and PPE is helpful in determining your responsibility and the rules you need in place for employees.  Having a plan in place reduces the likelihood that your employee can refuse an order to return to the workplace.

Tracking Employee Movement

Private Investigators can look for indications that your employee is traveling.  A PI can gather evidence of car rentals, flights, and vacant homes to help determine if your employee is “locked down” working.

Employee travels freely in public

When your employee goes out in public, is he/she wearing masks and social distancing?  If their excuse is virus related, then the natural behavior is to observe safety protocols in public,  however, if your employee is going to bars and restaurants, or attending other public gatherings, they may not have a fear of public contact and are being deceptive. Gathering proof of this behavior can help your business make a determination if this employee is being honest.

Employees Doing Personal Tasks on Company Time

Observing at home behavior might also be beneficial for employers.  Is your employee working on company business or tackling personal projects.  Is your employee busy doing yard work or working on a home remodeling project on your time and dime? Getting answers to these questions is key to your business’ success.  These situations are good cause for termination.

Absolute Investigative Services is experienced in lawful techniques to legally obtain the evidence you need to prove if employee fraud is occurring.  Contact us for more information.


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