Beware of the office creeper

Imagine this scenario as a security manager. You've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the latest access control and surveillance equipment. You think you've pretty much covered all your bases as it pertains to ensuring that only authorized personnel are entering and exiting the building.

Later, you discover that a slew of laptops, purses and other personal gadgets have been stolen from the building. How could this have happened? You have card-controlled access throughout the building and you have cameras monitoring the facility. Initially, you think this was an inside job of some sort. Perhaps it was a building technician or a member of the cleaning crew. Then the thief hits your office yet again.

If this has happened at your company, you may be the victim of what Dan Millhouse, general manager of the Atlanta office for Walden Security, calls the office creeper. Millhouse visited the suburban Atlanta office complex where SIW is located this week to provide some general security and safety tips for the workplace.

An office creeper is someone who looks and acts like a regular employee, but is there to rip you off. One of these individuals may case out your facility to check and see what they need to wear to blend in with other employees. In one case, Millhouse said he encountered a thief who would don scrubs, as well as the uniforms of sanitation workers or security guards to make it appear as though he belonged at the building. Even at those buildings that employ card-controlled access, Millhouse said that office creepers will simply tailgate an employ through the door.

Millhouse advises workers who notice someone who they feel shouldn't be in their office to go up and introduce themselves. Often times it's apparent that someone shouldn't be in an office complex, but people fail to say anything to them or even mention it to their security staff.

In addition to office creepers, Millhouse also offered up a few tips on general office safety. Obviously, laptop computers are one of the most sought after items by workplace thieves, followed by purses, palm pilots and checkbooks. Millhouse said that these items should be locked up by workers and companies. While people are quick to blame building staff such as cleaning crews for these thefts, the perpetrator is usually someone from within.

For those that may be approached by someone in the parking lot, Millhouse says that rather than confronting the attacker, to throw your keys and yell "fire" as you run away. A big part of potentially thwarting a criminal is attitude and letting them know that you're not an easy mark.

"If you don't look like a victim, you won't be a victim," Millhouse said.