Despite the advancements in security technology, it doesn’t appear to be halting retail theft. In fact shoplifting continues to be a huge problem and just last year alone it cost Australian retailers over 4 billion dollars.

The issue is that seasoned shoplifters are extremely skilled at what they do and as a result they’re not easy to spot. So coming from the point of view that ‘In order to catch someone in the act, you need to know how they work‘, here are 4 of the most common (and clever) shoplifting techniques explained.

  • Fitting room scam

Typically carried out in busy clothing retailers this scam involves entering a changing room with a foil lined bag and large amounts of merchandise at a time when the store is full. Once out of sight the shoplifter will conceal the items in the bag and after a while, walk out. Normally they don’t arouse suspicion because genuine customers walk in and out of changing rooms all the time and what’s more, any clothing with RFID devices fitted won’t set the door alarm off because it’s being shielded by the foil lining.

How to avoid it – Alert changing room monitors who keep an eye on the coming and going of customers, coupled with controlling the number of items customers can take in.

  • Receipt passing

This is a two-person scam and involves the first person who walks into a shop and purchases a high ticket item such as an iPad. On the way out they hand the receipt over to the second person (the accomplice) who enters the store with receipt in hand. They then pick up the exact same high value item, plus a lower value item such as an accessory. They show the receipt to the cashier explaining that the high value item has already been purchased, but that they forgot to buy the accessory. The accessory is then bought and the duo get away with a high ticket item that they haven’t paid for.

How to avoid it – Keep high ticket items under lock and key and maintain strict key control.

  • Barcode counterfeiting

This is a clever scam that involves some inside help – namely the cashier. The shoplifter will already have acquired some fake low value barcodes that they proceed to stick over the top of the high value item. The item then taken to the till which their accomplice is operating where they scan the item as normal. This time however it will be at a fraction of the price. The shoplifter pays the cashier the money requested and because the security tags are removed and the item is bagged, the culprit walks out of the store having paid very little for the item; and guess what? Nobody is any

How to avoid it – keep a close eye on so called hot items and carry out regular inventory checks.

  • Accidental stealing or left-handing

This is a clever rouse that is intended to confuse a cashier. It involves a shoplifter taking their place in the line with several items including the item they intend to steal. The thief then shows the items they intend to pay for while holding in full view the item they intend to steal. Because the shoplifter appears to be voluntarily paying, there’s a strong chance they’ll avoid suspicion, especially as they then switch the stolen item to their left hand while making payment with the right. In the event that the cashier does notice, they can pass it off as forgetfulness and either make the full payment or put it back.

How to avoid it – A higher degree of cashier training – making them aware of the possibilities.

If you want to protect your retail outlet from shoplifting or internal theft then come and talk to MA Security. As well as providing all manner of security we can help with detailed risk assessments, This enables us to highlight any potential problem areas and suggest ways of addressing them. Don’t become part of the statistic, instead, for peace of mind, call us today on 1300 020 406 to find out more.