Shoplifting has always been a problem for store-owners and makes quite a significant impact on their bottom-line. A lot of shoplifters are amateurs just looking to save a little money, some are professional thieves who “earn their living” by reselling stolen property, and sadly the majority of thefts and fraud are committed by the actual employees of the establishment.
Common techniques people use include simply placing items in their pockets or purses, barcode counterfeiting, bag switching, coupon scamming, defective merchandise returns, false alarms, fitting room bagging, gift card cloning, metal-lined clothing or containers and the common grab and run.
To counteract and prevent future shoplifting, retailers have come up with many good strategies including CCTV systems, EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) systems and security personnel. CCTV systems are generally easy to install and monitor, catching criminals in the act of shoplifting while maintaining a record of it to give to law enforcement officials when they arrive on the scene. The term EAS refers to the small tamper-proof electronic tags that are attached to merchandise that will set off an alarm if someone attempts to leave the store with one. These tags are deactivated or removed by employees at the time of purchase.
Security personnel includes both uniformed and plain closed guards that patrol the store. The plain clothed guards generally pretend to be real shoppers as they browse around and try on clothes while looking for signs of shoplifting.
Right now employees are stealing less merchandise overall but shoplifters or theft by consumers is steadily on the rise. In a down economy there are fewer watchful employees in stores which creates more opportunity for thieves to take items and resell them very inexpensively to people looking for deals at swap meets and garage sales.
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