Confessions of a Cheating Nation: One in Four Have Stolen From Their Employers

A new survey of 2,000 adults released today show that one quarter of respondents admit to stealing from their boss.

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By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Take a good look around your office. If the figures are right, one in four of your employees are stealing from you. And that's just who will admit to it.

A new survey of 2,000 American adults released today from personal-finance comparison website MoneyRates.com finds that one quarter of adults have stolen company property for personal use at home.

And that's just employees. If you think that your customers are playing fair, think again. Almost four in 10 survey respondents admit to keeping extra change that a cashier may have accidentally given them. A quarter of them say they would do it again -- even if they were immediately aware that they had been given more money back than they were owed.

As a business owner, don't take American dishonesty personally. Twenty-three percent of survey respondents say they have fibbed to Uncle Sam by under-reporting their income, and three in 10 say that if they were sure they wouldn't get caught, they would be willing to do the same.

Related: How to Motivate Employees in Less Than 5 Minutes

In addition, about 13 percent of survey respondents say they have under-reported the amount that their child uses their car to the insurance company to keep their premiums down.

And do they feel guilty? Get a picture of a puppy queued up to make you feel better about life because the answer is likely to bum you out. About half of respondents say they felt guilty enough about cheating that it would dissuade them from repeating the dishonest behavior. But one in five cheaters report having no guilt whatsoever and say they would be more than willing to repeat the behavior.

Our question: Of the 2,000 responses to a survey about cheating, how many participants cheated?

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Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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