There are many obvious reasons why employers should conduct background checks when hiring new employees. Most importantly, you want to hire people you can trust. Employee theft in the workplace is a growing problem that affects many businesses. A recent report showed that 95 percent of all businesses suffer from theft in the workplace, and approximately 75 percent of all employees have the tendency to steal from their employers at least once.

Considering why employees steal may expose how to avoid employee theft within the workplace. Even though there may be different motivations, however, the most common circumstances surrounding theft are that the opportunity is present.

Take, for  instance, a former Iowa Falls bank teller, who was convicted last month in federal court of embezzling over $144,000 from Iowa Falls State Bank. Teresa Ann Kobriger, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement by a bank employee. She admitted during the plea hearing to embezzling more than $144,000 from the bank while was being employed as the head teller from December 2008 to December 2012.

Kobriger was in charge of all the tellers, bank vault, and ordering cash for the bank. Records showed that she stole the cash from her own teller drawer, as well as the bank vault. She then modified a spreadsheet used to track cash going into and out of the bank vault in order to hind the theft. Bank employees discovered the cash discrepancies in January 2014.

One of the best ways to prevent stealing in the workplace is by conducting a thorough background check of an applicant before they are hired. You can verify the applicant’s past employers and contact them for references.  Most employers will just verify the position and dates of employment, but you can often tell by the tone of voice what the former employer thought of the employee.

Background checks can also reveal an applicant’s credit history, which can give you insight into their financial situation.  People with financial problems can tend to be more inclined to take desperate measures, such as stealing.  Although a person’s credit history should not be the only factor you consider during the hiring process, it is a good course of information about the applicant’s broader situation.