Retailers Keep Databases of Thieving Employees

Taking 100 percent off a purchase? That’s a good way to get yourself hung up on the clearance rack, according to The New York Times.

They report retailers ranging from Target to CVS and Family Dollar use huge databases to screen potential employees to see if they’ve been previously implicated in theft.

According to the National Retail Federation, employee thefts account for 44 percent of stolen merchandise – around $15 billion worth. It makes sense retailers want to minimize their losses. Unfortunately, the databases don’t have much detail and can be inaccurate, the article says.

Sometimes employees who simply get questioned about missing merchandise get added to the database, just on the suspicion they may have stolen something. The employee may not even know they’re being branded a thief in a widely shared database until they apply for another job, if then. It can also be difficult for people to dispute database claims, which has led to lawsuits. Some companies, like Home Depot, have stopped using the databases.

They’re considered legal for now, but the Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether they might violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is meant to prevent inaccurate information about consumers.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,186 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.