Workplace Ghosts: Not Paranormal

Workplace Ghosts

While a ghost employee may sound like a haunting at your business, it’s actually much less supernatural but still terrifying. They are actually involved as a part of workplace fraud, possibly costing your business a great deal more money than you expect.

What Makes an Employee a Ghost?

A ghost employee is someone who is on a payroll but doesn’t actually exist or no longer works there, according to They come to be when the employee in charge of payroll manufactures fake identities or uses terminated employee info in order to give themselves multiple paychecks. When a business is managing a large number of employees, it can be easy to overlook these ghost employees, as a few extra employees are hard to notice.

How to Exterminate Ghosts

There are multiple preventative actions that can be taken in order to reduce the chance of a ghost employee fraud and to notice anything fishy going on.

  • Have multiple people work to manage payroll
  • Check employee SSNs regularly through Social Security or IRS verification
  • Keep employee information up-to-date
  • Be wary of requests for paper checks rather than direct deposits
  • Have employees verify who they are when they receive their payments, such as with a swipe system, and keep an eye out for specific employees regularly swiping at the same time
  • Have a Crime policy as part of your insurance, giving you extra protection should something go unnoticed too long