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15+ Employee Theft Statistics, Facts & Trends

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Employee theft costs businesses millions yearly. This illegality takes several forms, from direct money theft to data theft. Likewise, many of these incidents have long-term consequences for the organization.

There is no easy way to predict which employees will most likely steal. 

However, you can educate yourself on previous employee theft trends and patterns and use this information to protect your company.

General Employee Theft Statistics

1. In an average month in 2022, about 2.5% of employees stole sensitive data.

Another 9.4% of employees copied sensitive data from their organizations within six months.

employees theft statistics
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2. In 2021, 56% of surveyed organizations experienced potential data theft due to employees leaving or joining.

Additionally, 42% of insider threats researched involved employees stealing intellectual property or customer data.

3. In 2021, a pharmaceutical company’s employee downloaded over 12,000 confidential files before quitting.

In the same year, 31,000 US healthcare files were open to all workers without special protections.

4. The average number of employee credential theft incidents has grown by 4.7 from 2016 to 2022.

In 2016, there was an average of 1.0 incidents, 3.2 by 2020 and 5.7 by 2022.

5. In 2022, 44,834 employees were arrested for theft.

This was up 18% from 2021. Over $50 million was recovered from them, a 14.7% increase from the recovered amount in 2021.

Employee Theft Statistics by Demographics

6. North America had the highest rate (5.2) of employee credential theft incidents in 2021.

It was followed by the Middle East & Africa (4.2) and Asia and Europe (4.0).

7. Employee theft was the second-largest category of retail crime in Australia and New Zealand in 2022.

It comprised 24% of losses and was only second to customer theft, comprising 53% of losses.

8. In Australia and New Zealand, retail employee theft cost an average of $1,200 per person in 2022.

While external theft cost around $415 per person.

retail employee theft cost per person
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9. Stock theft was the most common retail employee theft in Australia and New Zealand.

The 2022 report also showed that employee discount misuse follows closely alongside unauthorized discounts for family and friends.

Other common retail employee theft avenues were refund fraud, cash theft, stock theft in collaboration with others, unauthorized borrowing of stock, stock transfer fraud, and theft of personal belongings.

Employee Theft Statistics by Type

10. In 2022, the top 1% of thieving employees were involved in 7.7% of sensitive data transfers.

While the top 10% were responsible for 34.9% of these data transfers.

11. Client data theft was employees' major type of sensitive stolen data transfer in 2022 (44.6%).

Source code theft follows (13.8%), while regulated personally identifiable information (PII) rounded up the top three at 8%.

Meanwhile, over 80% of these sensitive data thefts were identified as intellectual property (IP), while 17.9% of exfiltrated data were regulated.

12. 27.5% of employee data exfiltration incidents in 2022 were done through personal cloud storage.

18.7% sent the stolen data to their web email, and 14.4% chose corporate email to exfil it.

Dropbox and Google were the most commonly used personal cloud storage at 44.8% and 25.5%, respectively.

13. 109.3% of employees fired in H1 2022 stole company data on the day they were fired.

Fired employees were 23.1% more likely to exfiltrate the day before being fired. Additionally, employees who quit were 68.7% more likely to steal some data before officially resigning.

14. In H1 2022, organizations experienced a monthly average of 0.045 potential employee data theft incidents per employee.

In one month, just 2.5% of employees were responsible for one or more sensitive data transfers, 6.8% in three months, and 9.4% in six months. 

In addition, 71% of employees only exfiltrated data once.

data theft monthly average
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15. The technology sector had the most employee intellectual property or data theft incidents (38%) in 2021.

The pharma & life sciences sector followed at 21%.

Employee Theft Statistics by Company

16. In 2022, an Apple car engineer AirDropped 24GB of sensitive data to his spouse’s laptop before quitting.

He joined a competitor after downloading confidential prototype designs of unreleased products. This data included a 25-page whitepaper containing engineering schematics for an autonomous vehicle’s circuit board.

17. A BART employee in 2022 received payment and benefits for time not worked.

The employee was paid for working 12 hours each day and other extra earnings, despite not being at work for most of that time.

18. In May 2022, a Yahoo employee stole over 500,000 source code pages.

This was done when he quit to join the company’s competitor.

Protect Your Company

These employee theft statistics reveal that many employees have stolen from their employers at least once. While most employees do this due to their dire financial situation, even those with good financial standing are also prone to stealing from their employers.

There are no sure ways to completely prevent employees from stealing from company resources. However, you can look at our encryption statistics for more insights on data protection against employee theft.

Interesting Reads:
  1. https://www.cyberhaven.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Cyberhaven-2022-Insider-Risk-Report-081122.pdf
  2. https://www2.dtexsystems.com/l/464342/2022-02-07/3lt8pp/464342/16442867128628IH8M/DTEX_Insider_Threat_Report_2022.pdf
  3. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/insider-threats-in-healthcare.pdf
  4. https://www.ekransystem.com/en/blog/insider-threat-statistics-facts-and-figures
  5. https://www.cyberhaven.com/blog/yahoos-lawsuit-alleged-engineer-stole-sensitive-data/
  6. https://www.cyberhaven.com/blog/apple-car-engineer-airdropped-24gb-of-prototype-designs-to-wifes-laptop-before-joining-competitor/
  7. https://static.poder360.com.br/2022/01/pfpt-us-tr-the-cost-of-insider-threats-ponemon-report.pdf
  8. https://shoutout.wix.com/so/tr/5be39def-4bbb-4366-8d48-1327feec46ee/c?
  9. https://www.bart.gov/sites/default/files/docs/REPORT_BART%20Employee%20Collected%20Pay%20and%20Benefits%20for%20Time%20Not%20Worked_Final_020323.pdf
  10. https://hayesinternational.com/news/annual-retail-theft-survey/