Ahhh, The holiday season is here. So many of us look forward to seeing that new electronic device under the tree. Even better if the device is a flat screen HDTV or a new computer. These are fantastic presents but their arrival brings about an opportunity for theft of CPE equipment used with the HDTVs and computers.

New TVs and computers bring a new need for internet and cable. Once the gift is unwrapped the next step is to hook it up to watch content. What if the new owner of the HDTV does not have cable? We would like to think that the consumer will soon become a subscriber and purchase all the premium channels. Watching premium content requires a CPE converter box and this is where the opportunity for CPE holiday theft begins.

Some consumers choose the route of attempting to obtain free premium cable. This is called secondary theft and normally involves the purchase or use of illegal CPE and equipment designed to modify or unscramble premium services.

How you can reduce theft at this point:

  • Stop opportunity theft of CPE at the warehouse by keeping tight track of CPE equipment using a warehouse management system in conjunction with a billing system. Unorganized warehouses provide unethical employees an unnecessary opportunity to grab CPE and sell it to potential subscribers or worse yet pirates for additional income.
  • Track and audit all hotboxes. Hotboxes preset to receive all premium content make an excellent theft target for technicians. Make sure where the hotboxes are, confirm with clients if necessary.
  • Examine all CPE returns and repairs for tampering. Although illegal, there are countless firms that manufacturer unscrambling devices. When tampering has identified, it would be a good idea to cross check with your billing system and see which technician delivered the CPE Look for patterns that can be turned over to the tap audit department.

Employee theft is a question of opportunity. The tighter and more organized your controls are the less theft that is likely to occur. The holiday season is a prime time for employee theft to occur due to vacation schedules and higher consumer demands resulting in less supervision.