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  • Table of Contents
    1. Part 1 … 
  • Part 2 … 
  • Part 3 … 
  • Part 4 … 
  • Part 5 …
  • Part 6 … 
  • PART 7… 

Written by Scumbag.


This guide is to help you better understand what goes on in retail petty theft know as SHOPLIFTING. I have compiled this information from my own experience and many different sources from the web. This information is to be used as an education tool and at no time do I recommend anyone commit an illegal act. I do not claim that this post is 100% correct. I am sure I have made errors. It is only a basic guide for an armature who may have not known some of the important details behind Retail Redistribution. You must understand that knowledge is power and the more you know may keep you safe in the future. The information that I am giving is already on the internet. I am not letting any trade secrets out. I have only compiled it into a more useful reference guide. There are methods that I have not placed within this guide that a more advanced individual may use and are not widely know in the internet community. Please read and enjoy for your entertainment.



There are a lot of risk when you shoplift and unfortunately getting caught is the end result of a poorly executed shoplifting attempt. Even if you don’t go to jail, and you probably will not on your 1st offence, you will still end up with a considerable fine. You may be able to have your first charge expunged with some luck, but your actual arrest will remain on your record and may easily be found on any background search. It will be hard to try and explain in your job or college interview why you were stealing.

Always plan ahead of time and know your store. It is a good idea to check out the store before you ever take anything. Look for cameras, security, find where desirable targets are located, locate where all the exits are, and where employees go into back rooms. Locate where the best blind spots are, and when they’re busiest – for most shops this will be Saturdays. Don’t ever assume that a camera dome is empty, always assume that every dome has a camera in it and that it’s watching you. Once you have a good idea of the layout of the store and the layout of the merchandise, leave. Come back another day to do your lifting. Proper planning will help you avoid being at risk for being apprehended.

From the time you enter the parking lot, to the time you leave, you should act as if someone is watching your every move (because they probably are). The biggest mistake a shoplifter can make is to act like a shoplifter. Nervousness, constantly looking around, looking at security cameras and suspicious behave are what the Store Security (Loss Prevention) are looking for. This is what they were trained for and you will make their job much easier. Employees know that if you are acting nervous, then you are usually up to something no good. You want to remain calm and look as normal as possible. Shoplifters get caught because they get sloppy, and don’t pay attention. Keep in mind what you are doing and focus on the task at hand and maintain your appearance, both physical and mental. You should have already done your research and studied the layout of the store beforehand. You want to look like an everyday shopper who has no worries in the world.

Loss Prevention are trained to watch everyone, regardless of race or age. If you walk into a store wearing the latest baggie hip hop cloths, a jacket when its warm out, or leave your sunglasses on to hide your eyes, then yes you will be watched. You want to blend in. Notice what the average shopper is wearing and dress like them. Being professional, well dress, groomed, speaking clear understandable English, with a friendly outgoing attitude is the best illusion you could give. The object here is not to draw any attention to yourself. You want Loss Prevention to be watching the other guy. Every store and every area will be different. A “high end” department store will have better dressed shoppers then a discount or home improvement store. No matter what, always wear clean cloths, bath, comb your hair, and have a clean respectable look.

You should never trust another person while you are shoplifting. The majority of Loss Prevention Associates will be dressed in street cloths and will try and blend in with the everyday shoppers. Don’t be fooled by the person who is shopping next to you or is in the dressing room next to you. He might look like a teen age punk, but in reality he is an under cover Loss Prevention Associate watching your every move. Also just because she looks like a sweet old lady doesn’t mean that she wont alert the staff to your wrong doings. Do not stereo type Loss Prevention personnel. They could be either male or female and any age. Some will even work in teams as a couple just to blend in.

One of the biggest ways to get caught is to look directly at the cameras. You would be surprised how many nervous amateurs will glance repeatedly, or just boldly stare at the camera dome, giving security a clear view of what you are doing and the perfect chance to capture a picture of your face. Trust me – you cannot see through the domes to tell if it’s pointed at you. They are double-layered to prevent this. Observe cameras from afar, use your peripherals vision, and never tilt your head or eyes up. An upturned face is very easy to see, and will instantly attract attention.

Keep track of how often you visit stores and shoplift. Avoid routine. Cashiers, stock boys, and even Security will forget about you and your actions for a little while, but if they suspect you of causing merchandises to walk out of the store, they will notice patterns in your routines. Make sure you have a feel of the security, and have an understanding as to how many times it is safe to remove items from any one store in a period of time. The busier the store, the more times you can go into it without raising suspicion. Keep in mind that major retailers have installed computer systems that share records, and CCTV footage between stores specifically to keep tabs on repeat shoplifters. If you were noticed doing something suspicious in one store they may send a picture of you to any of the surrounding stores so that they can keep an eye on you.

Stop what your doing, drop what you have and leave – come back another time. If it don’t look or feel right always go with your instincts, they could be right. It doesn’t matter how insignificant it is, it is better to leave behind your goods and come back another day, then to slip in some way and be apprehended.

Never do a lot of your shoplifting at a store you frequently shop at. If you really want something bad enough, then spend a little gas money and go across town. The reason you want to do this is because if, for some reason you slip up and get busted, you will not be able to go back into that store again. You will then have to travel across town to do any legitimate shopping. Imagine your embarrassment if your neighbors just happen to be there as they haul you out of the store in handcuffs. Also the employees will recognize you quicker if they are use to seeing your face.

This goes to the belief of sticking it to “The Man”. You will find this written many times throughout the anti-establishment community. Whether it be the government or the large multi national mega store, hurting them is more enjoyable and less personal then the small shop owner down the street who is more then likely already having a hard time making money because of these mega stores. These stores are smaller and have fewer employees who may recognize you as a returning thief. There have been many instances where a shop owner has attacked a shoplifter with a bat or some other instrument of pain because they take the theft more personal. If caught the judicial system will also be a lot harder on individuals who committed personal crimes against small shop owners as appose to large companies and your jail time could be lengthier.

The number one reason shoplifters get caught is because they become greedy. You can shoplift your whole life and never get caught, but it takes a lot of skill and even more importantly, patience. Most people will get away with something and instead of being satisfied with that one time they have to press their luck and try it again and again in the same store. Eventually you develop a pattern that the Loss Prevention or Police can easy discover and then apprehend you.

You walked out of the store and you hear that dreaded “Security – may I speak with you” behind you. You take off running as fast as you could, but on this day the Loss Prevention just happened to be a marathon sprinter, and he tackles you. At this point realize that they have won and you have lost – deal with it! Fighting back or using a weapon will only guaranty you a long visit to prison. A simple shoplifting charge means just that – simple. Most cases you will be free in a couple of hours. Be as polite and remorseful as you can be under the circumstances. The Loss Prevention person is only doing a job. The more you are a Dick – the bigger Dick they can be. Sure it sucks but just play it out cool & calm and it will work out for the better.

If you are caught, don’t give them any more evidence then they already have. The best evidence they will have against you is your big mouth. NEVER give any more info then you have too. Answer the basic questions. Loss prevention will tell you that if you talk it will be easier on you and you will receive fewer charges – not true. They already have enough evidence against you or you wouldn’t be there. All they want is a confession so they have a stronger case against you. Do not admit to anything, just sit there and remain quiet. You will not gain anything by incriminating yourself or your friends.

Remember this is a game of opportunity and luck as much as it is skill. All it takes is one slip too ruin a perfectly good day. Always think, plan, then think again before you do any shoplifting. If you spend a little time doing research, you might not end up doing any time in jail.


This group represents the majority of shoplifters. They generally take items on impulse. They are not regular thieves, but are influenced by opportunities such as easily accessible display areas, or goods left unattended on counters. Amateurs are not as skilled as professionals, and are generally nervous and self-conscious.

Those who take items on a dare or for excitement to gain influence among a group of young people. They are influenced by peer pressure and only take merchandise that they intend to use.

This is a group between the amateurs and Professionals. They have gain useful knowledge through practice yet lack the contacts (cash Man), opportunity and skills necessary to become a full time shoplifter. Most will shoplift on a weekly basis and are becoming knowledgeable on the Tricks of the Trade. Some still do not possess a criminal record and after being apprehended for the first time, they will leave the shoplifting adventures to others.

Those, who out of economic need, will take necessities, like food, diapers, toiletries, or children’s clothing for their own use due to a lack of money.

This type of individual has a psychological compulsion to steal. Kleptomaniacs are impulsive and often careless. They will often take items they don’t need and can’t use. They will shoplift whenever the urge hits them.

The addict needs money to support their habit. Their methods are crude and usually not well planned. Like Professionals, they prefer stealing expensive, high end items, usually multiple items at a time. They will either resell the merchandise to someone for cash, or attempt a refund. They are usually less careful than the Professional and can become frantic, or even violent.

Also known as Boosters. Professionals will shoplift for a profit. Taking items usually to return for cash, or to sell another individual referred to as a ‘cash man’ or ‘fence. They will try to target high value, expensive items, often taking multiple items at one time. Most will shoplift on a daily basis and are skillful and know all the Tricks of the Trade. Many carry tools to assist with removing items. Sometimes they will work with others to maximize their profits. Due to the fact that they operate in a very smooth manner, they are very difficult to detect.

This is usually a Master in the Shoplifter Game. They are older professional and have been ‘in the business’ for over a decade. At one time or another they more then likely made a living at shoplifting and now do so mostly for personal gain. They have been shoplifting for so long that it has become a normal everyday thing for them. A lot of your shoplifting Veterans will have extensive crime records and will know the law system inside and out. They are very hard to detect because of their ability to blend with the everyday customer and their extensive knowledge of Retail Redistribution.



Blind Spot
A blind-spot is a section of the store where you are barely visible by any cameras or employees and can thus feel free to both collect and dump stuff, without fear of being seen. Make sure your blind-spot is not under surveillance. Never do anything where someone else may see you, even a customer. You can make your own spot inside a shopping cart with large packages to conceal your movements or use display units to your advantage. Also a friends body can be used to block viewing. You will always want to act quickly once you have entered your blind spot and never grab an item and walk straight to your area. Shop your way into it like you need something from there and then shop your way out like you did nothing wrong. Never hang around your blind-spot for too long and don’t keep using the same spot, especially if you are leaving opened packages. Most of all, be careful to never lead Loss Prevention to your blind-spot and remember that Loss Prevention will know their store better then you and will already know where all the blind spots are.

Dressing Room
After selecting cloths you head to the Dressing Room to try them on. While your in there you decide that instead of purchasing them, you’re going to shoplift them. This can be easily done in the privacy of this little room as long as you know what your doing. The inside of dressing rooms will normally not be monitored by Loss Prevention. If they do they have to have a sign saying that “Dressing Rooms are monitored” for it to be legal. Also most dressing rooms are not 100% private. A lot of times the door or curtain stops about 2 feet from the floor giving Loss Prevention an opportunity to observe some of your actions, especially with a small shoe mirror. Regardless of all of this, you’re going for it and there are several ways you could go about concealing your items.

First thing you do is to remove any security tags on the cloths. Removing tags is discussed in the ‘Tools of the Trade’. The most common way to obtain your new cloths would be to place them into another stores bag that you walked in with. Second would be to wear the new cloths under what your already wearing or fold them up and tape them to your body. You could also just exchange the old cloths you are wearing for new ones. Remember to never leave any tags or hangers behind. Otherwise you will be alerting the staff that you took something. Some store will now count the clothing going in and out of the dressing room. To get around this just bring in some older or cheaper cloths in another stores bag, exchange them and place all the tags / stickers on them.

Body Stuffing
This is a common technique used by women. With a dress on they will take an expensive item such as a bluray and hold it between their thighs and walk out. Also you could have a inflatable ball so that you appear pregnant. Gather cloths and go into a dressing room, deflate the ball and place the cloths in its place, so that you still appear pregnant. Men could taking some small expensive items and place them in the small of your back. Wearing a tight shirt tucked in with a baggier outer shirt would help conceal any item. Cloths can be wrapped and taped around your torso and your legs while wearing baggier cloths. Remember you have to be able to walk out the door without arousing suspicion.

The Drink Cup Concealment
A large drink is purchased and then brought into the store. You then proceed to drop small heavy items like jewelry into the drink cup. On leaving the store the drink cup is unlikely to be searched. You must be wary of drinking too much or the items will be revealed in the bottom of the cup.

Sleight of hand
This is a technique used to manipulate items by secretly palming them and hiding the items out of sight while diverting the sales associates attention somewhere else. This is easily done with jewelry and an inattentive sales person. While looking at multiple jewelry you have the sales person distracted while an expensive item is slipped into a pocket. Though it is easy to distract the human eye, the camera is a little harder to fool, so you must keep this in mind when using this tactic.

The Drop Bag
This Simple technique is use when a person brings a bag from another store in with them. As they shop around the store they will pick up two of the same items and inconspicuously drop one of the items into the open bag while looking the other item over. They then put the one item back as if they didn’t want it and make another selection.

Magic Bags
A person will bring a foil lined bag that they made out of approximately 10 layers of heavy aluminum-foil, into a store. This is to help shield the security tags that are on merchandise from the alarm towers at the exit of a store. Choose small expensive items and place them into your Magic bag. The tags must be completely shielded for this to work. Seal the bag so that it cannot be penetrated by radio frequency. If there is a “leak” (i.e. If the signal from the tower reach the tag through a opening in the bag) the towers will be activated. You can test it by inserting a cell-phone in to the bag and calling the number. If the phone rings that means the layers are too thin, or there is a hole that is allowing the radio waves in. This bag will only work with the RF (radio frequency) tags. In order for it to work with AM (acousto-magnetic) tags you will need to increase the amount of foil to 30 layers of heavy aluminum-foil. A side note – you may use copper or tin plates instead of the foil to make a magic bag. The only issue with this would be weight. Read ‘Anti-Shoplifting Devices’ to better understand the difference between the RF and AM security tags.

Magic Box
Like the Magic Bag a shoebox is lined with the appropriate layers of aluminum-foil and inserted into a bag of a local store. The box is placed so the opening is facing up, thus when you are in a concealed area you can discreetly drop items into your box. When you are ready to leave, just close the box with the lid (which was never removed from the bag) and walk out.

Magic Pocket
You can line a hidden pocket inside of a jacket with aluminum-foil to create a Magic Bag. You would typically cut the bottom out of an inside pocket and then insert a envelope that has been wrapped in foil. You would then place small items into it and seal the flap so that the radio waves won’t penetrate the envelope.

Bag Switching
Bag switching is attempted by two people who come into the store separately The first person will gather a large amount of merchandise that they want to remove from the store and place it into a large bag. They will then inconspicuously switch their bag with the second person, who has a matching bag that is already filled with items that came from another store. If Loss Prevention is watching the first person and miss the bag switch they will more then likely stop them while the second person walks out with the goods.

Box Stuffing
This Technique requires the use of a low priced box. You open the box and remove the contents of the box. You then proceed to refill the box with more expensive items. You then reseal the box and take it to a checkout aisle, where you pay the purchase price for the item. You then leave the store with the more expensive items concealed. If the items in the box have security tags on them they will still be active and will set off the alarm towers as you exit. Most of the time the staff will flag you through thinking a mistake was made at the register and the box was not deactivated. You can also leave the low priced item in the box if you have room for your concealed merchandise, make your purchase, then just bring the box with the item back in for a full refund.

Shoe Switching
This is a typical switch a roué technique where you leave a store with new shoes while leaving your old pair in the store. Some shoe stores will still have both shoes in the box with no security tags on them. These shoes will be the are the easiest to remove. Just swap out when no one is looking. If one of the shoes has a security tag in it then you will need to either use a tag detacher to remove it or if the tag is in a shoe lace hole you can cut the leather a little and pull the tag through the ripped hole. In a store where the employee has to retrieve shoes for you, find the shoes you wish to liberate. Once the salesperson retrieves the right pair, have them go back to the stock room to get another style so you can compare the two. Once the employee is sent back to the stockroom, you simply walk out with the new pair of shoes leaving the old pair in the box. It is always good to have at least two boxes of shoes left on the floor with the old pair in a bottom covered box and an other new pair exposed on top of it. This should allow you time to move away from the store as the employee seeing that you left the new shoes and boxes, will assume that you changed your mind and left.

High / Low Shopping Cart
With this technique two people will fill up a couple of shopping carts. One will have a few expensive items in it while the other cart will be full of miscellaneous items. You then proceed to the cashier and unload the expensive items first. The cashier scans the items and removes the security tags. As one person loads up the first cart with the high value goods the second person continues to unload the second cart. The second shopper distracts the cashier while the first leaves with the expensive items in the cart. When it comes time to pay the second shopper pays with an invalid credit card or gift card. After a few embarrassing moments the second shopper tells the cashier that they will have to go and get the first shopper who has the cash and leaves the rest of the items behind. They both then leave with the expensive items.

Shopping Cart Passing
Shopping cart passing is attempted by a two-person group. The first person will gather the desired merchandise into a shopping cart and take it to the register. The cashier will then ring up all the merchandise and place it in bags. Once the total is rung up, the shopper pays with an invalid credit card or gift card. Acting embarrassed for not being able to pay to first shopper leaves the store. Most cashiers will put the shopping cart off to the side and resume ringing up other customers. At this point, the second person moves in and grabs the cart and walks out of the store with the stolen merchandise already in bags.

Shopping Cart Hiding
You find the item that you are looking for and place it under the cart. You then continue to gather a small dollar amount of merchandise and places it in the upper part of the shopping cart. You then bring the cart to the register and remove all of the merchandise with the exception of the item you wish to take on the bottom of the cart. A lot of times this will be overlooked by the cashier and not rung up. Also small expensive items can be placed under large boxes or bags that are to big to be picked up at the register. If the cashier is not paying attention you will usually be able to get the merchandise past them without much effort. After paying for the smaller dollar items you leave the store.

Push Out
You fill the cart with a lot of high dollar items and you then proceed to the exit. This technique works well when there are register stands throughout the store and there are multiple exits. It would also help to have a receipt in your hand from a prior visit so that it looks like you have paid for the items in the shopping cart.

The Self Bagger
With this technique you enter the store with the stores bags already on you. The bags should be as new as they can be and you should have already acquired them in advance. Never walk into a store and pick up a bag out of the recycle bin or an empty cashiers stand. Begin by making your selections and then proceed to a predetermined blind spot in the store. You will then bag up the merchandise and place it the cart. With the merchandise bagged proceed to leave the store. This works really well if there are multiple cashiers stands through out the store.

The Texas Twofer
This in also called the Two for One technique and works well in stores that have multiple check out stands and exits. You enter the store and proceed to gather items you wish to take into a shopping cart. Then placing the cart in a predetermined out of the way area, you grab a second cart and gather the exact same items into the cart. You then take and pay for all those items and leave the store with your receipt. You can either have a second partner or do it yourself. Come back into the store with the receipt and go to your first cart. Bag up the items and proceed to another exit with your receipt as if you just purchased it. This technique could be done for a third time if the store has three exits, but I would caution that this should only be done with a partner.

Bag Alarm
This works best in Mall stores. You walk into a store with a bag of items from an other store. Inside the bag is a concealed active security tag that will trigger the security alarm towers at the entrance of the store. Make a big deal out of it and make sure an employee notices that it was you that trigger the gates as you entered. Comment that there must be something from another store in their bag that triggered the gates. Ask them if they want to hold onto your bag while you shop and just pick it up on the way out. Find the items you want and conceal them on your body. If you still have your bag you may want to put items underneath the items you brought in. Remember though an alert staff may want to look into your bag as you leave. Before you leave find the employee that saw you come in tell them that as you go out you might set of the alarms again. When you trigger the gates again, just keep on walking.

False Alarm
Have a friend enter the store a few minutes before you do and act as if you do not know each. You collect the items that you wish to take while your friend gets a few low dollar items and purchases them. As they leave the store you will walk out right behind them. As they reach the alarm towers have them hesitate a little as you walk through setting off the alarm. You discreetly keep on walking while your friend stops and draws all the attention by looking confused with the bags. They should be very co-operative and happily opens all of their bags for the employee to see yet nothing they have will triggers the gates again. Give an explanation of the False Alarm by saying that it must be cell phone interference.

Decoy Alarm
You place an active tag into another shoppers bag while they are not paying attention. This works especially well with someone with children. You follow closely behind them as they walk through the alarm towers. The active tag will set off the alarm and the unsuspecting shopper will stop, as you continue to walk through. Parents will think that maybe their kid had something on them. All the attention will be on them as you leave the store.

Suspicious Friend
Have a friend enter the store a few minutes before you do and act as if you do not know each other. The friend will walk around the store acting very suspicious. Picking up items and putting them into a pocket making sure that they are seen, but not being obvious. When an employee sees someone acting suspicious they will begin watch that person. You then proceed to the opposite side of the store and retrieve the merchandise that you wish to take. Make any necessary adjustments to the items in order to remove them and then leave. Your friend should place any objects that where concealed back and then depart. If they are stopped while exiting they can easy prove that they didn’t take anything.

The Bathroom Heist
You need two people for this. Have a friend go into the store a few minutes after you. You go in and select whatever you want. The second person will have already entered the store and gone into the restroom. Have them wait in a stall. You go in with the merchandise. Go into the other stall next to your friend. Peek down at your friend’s shoes to make sure they are really next to you. Hand the merchandise under the stall, have them conceal the item and walk out first, leaving the store. You wait a couple of minutes, and then leave. If you are approached while leaving the store say you don’t know what they are talking about because you didn’t take anything. You decided not to buy anything and set the item down. You don’t know what happened to it, it is not your responsibility to keep track of stores stuff. Do not admit to anything.!. You did nothing wrong and Loss Prevention will have to let you go.

This commonly happens at a grocery store. While you are walking around shopping, you pick up some food such as candy, and eat it. If questioned you say that you entered the store with the item. When you are done with the item you discard the empty package on a shelf.

Out The Wrong Door
Some stores will have a separate one way entrance and exit doors. The entrance door will normally not have an alarm and can not be opened from the inside of the store. The alarm towers will be on the exit doors. This method will require two people or the help of an unsuspecting customer. You go in and retrieve merchandise from the store and conceal it. When you are ready to leave the store with your items, you wait at the entrance door. Have your friend open the entrance door for you as you walk out. You could do this without a friends help. Just wait by the entrance as a customer comes in and grab the door before it closes and walk out.

Walk Out
You go into a store and shop like you normally would collecting as many expensive items as you can carry. As long as your appearance and attitude are not of a suspicious nature you should go unnoticed. Once you have collected your items just walk out and go to your car and leave. This is easily done in small clothing shops that do not have Loss Prevention. The sales associates will be slow to react. It could also be done in large department stores that have multiple entrances as long as you have a friend waiting in a car ready to leave. If the store has only Ink Tags you may not even be noticed as you leave. If an alarm sounds, then continue to walk calmly out the door.

Grab and Run
You enter a store with prior knowledge of what you are looking for. You move toward the merchandise you wish to take. Once you have the merchandise then proceed to the nearest store exit, very quickly. I recommend two people, one as a driver and the other as the runner. Before entering the parking lot for the store, remove the license plate. Coordinate watches and have a set time that the car will pull up the door. Before dashing out, make sure the driver knows to open the rear passenger door. This way you can just run out and dive into the back as the driver peels off because employees are sure to follow you out. Find a safe place to reattach your license plate. Due to the short time that you are inside the store, the people who attempt this are rarely caught, or in some cases even detected. Also a group of people can rush a store and grab as much merchandise as possible and then rush out. The speed with which this happens and the large numbers of people involved make it very difficult to stop.

Emergency Exits
This a very old technique and still may work from time to time especially during the holidays. A person gathers a lot of expensive merchandise into a cart and goes to the nearest Emergency Exits . You grab all of your items, push the bar that sets off an alarm and open the door. Have a friend in a car waiting right outside the door for a fast get away. You need to remember that exits will usually have cameras watching them and all of your actions and your face could be recorded. Emergency exits will all have alarms and the newer ones are on a time release. This means when you hit it, it will not open for 10 seconds after the alarm goes off. Loss Prevention are very aware of this tactic and will be watching for suspicious behavior around these doors.

Cashier Scanning
An easy scam done by a cashier is to have a barcode stuck on the inside of their wrist so when a friend wishes to purchase something, instead of swiping the item the cashier actually swipes their wrist. This is effective when purchasing fifty dollar video games, which will actually ring up a couple packs of gum. This method eludes security cameras since it looks like an actual sale transaction is taking place.

Receipt Matching
This technique requires that you already have a receipt for the merchandise that you are going to return. You could search either retailer’s parking lot or trashcans looking for receipts that have a high dollar item on it paid for in cash. The problems with this is that stores try to prevent this type of return by installing outdoor cameras to watch the parking lots. Some will also have a greater who will give you a sticker when you enter with a return. This prevents people from acquiring items from within the store to return. Newer stores now have their return desk entrance separate from the store entrance to prevent you from doing this. If these are not issues then enter the store and compare the items on the receipt to the merchandise in the store. Once the you find a match take the merchandise to the return area and receive money for it.

Receipt Passing
With this technique you need a partner who waits out side as you enter the store.
You select an expensive item and proceed to the checkout and purchase the item. Outside of the store you Pass the receipt and the stores bag off to your partner while you take the item to your car. With the receipt and bag concealed the second person goes into the store and finds the same item. they will then inconspicuously place the item into the bag and pick up a cheaper item on the way to the registers. With the receipt in hand they pay for the cheap item telling the cashier they thought that they had better get this item before they leave.

Fake Returns
You go to the returns desk with a receipt and a box that contains a used or broken item, or something that has the same weight as the original item. This is best done when the return cashiers are busy and will not open the package. It also helps to have completely resealed the box and saying that it has never been opened. You would just like to have something different. However most high dollar items and almost all electronics will have a serial number on the outside of the box and it will be scanned at time of purchase. If it is returned, it will have to match the serial number on the item inside the box. They will open the box to double check it. You should have purchased the original item with cash so as to leave no evidence pointing to you.

Receipt printing
This method is a little more involved then most techniques because it requires you to have a thermal printer and receipt paper from the store you wish to make returns to. This can only be done with stores that do not use Bar-coding identification on the receipts. You purchase a few high value items with cash and gain a receipt that you can then copy. You proceed to make multiple copies of the same receipt so that you can use them to return items that you have taken from the store for a cash refund.

Receipt-less returns
This is a way of receiving cash or a store merchandise card without a receipt. You could attempt to remove items from off of the sales floor, walk up to the return desk, say that you lost your receipt and you would like to receive a refund. Unfortunately this is a risky move because Loss Prevention might be watching you as you go the return desk. After concealing the items, you leave the store. You would then proceed to another store and return the item there with out a receipt. Most stores will now require you to have a photo ID to return an item without a receipt and will limit how many returns you can make in a year. Large dollar amounts will always have to be approved by a supervisor. You can have fake Ids made up so that you can return more often to a store.

Fence Sliding
In stores that have garden centers one may be capable of sliding small expensive items under the fence. You then leave out the exit and come around to where slide your item under the fence. Or you could slide it to a waiting friend on the other side. Just remember to watch for those outdoor cameras.

Key & Serial Numbers
Many people download versions of games or software from the internet but cannot use the full version without a valid license. There are a couple ways of obtaining a license without removing the merchandise from the store. Take the item into a blind spot so that the packaging can be removed. Conceal the item and then take it into the privacy of a bathroom or dressing room to remove the packaging. Copy the serial number and then place the package in an inconspicuous place away from prying eyes.

Defective Software
A person buys a piece of software from a computer store, exits, opens the software, and records the serial number / CD key for single license of the software purchased. After at least a few hours the same person re-enters the store where he bought the software and complains to customer service that the installation disc is defective. Most computer store policies allow same-item exchange for opened computer software, so the person is given a different copy of the same software. The person now has two licenses after only paying for one.

It is possible to pass small items expensive items or large items through the self checkout without scanning them. You can do this if you have a lot of items you are purchasing. You can take a large item and pretend to scan it and place it right into the bag at the same time you pick up on the bag and place into your cart. The bagging area has a weigh scale that checks the weight of the scanned items. If there is a discrepancy, the supervising attendant is signaled to come to the station for assistance. The object is to never let the unscanned item sit in the bagging area. The scales will some times miss small light items so you could place multiple items into a bag without the computer noticing it. Beware – these checkout lanes are watched very closely by LP. Most have a camera overhead watching what you scan and a computer screen off site mirroring what your scanning.

Barcode Counterfeiting
While you are shopping you find an expensive item that you wish to have. You also noticed a cheaper version of the same item. You copy the numbers down from the UPC / Barcode off of the cheaper item. You can find bar coding applications and information on the internet that will generate a bar code for you. Print one out on a sticky label and then take it back into the store and place it over the barcode of the expensive item. Go through the checkout process, make a payment, have any security tags deactivated by the cashier and then walk out without arousing suspicion with your new item.

Ticket Switching
You find an item on clearance and remove the clearance tag. You then find a similar high dollar item and apply the clearance tag to it. You then bring the high dollar item to an unsuspecting cashier and pay for it at a clearance price. Unfortunately most retailers today now utilize electronic barcodes that when scanned will ring up the correct price.

Gift Card Cloning
With this tactic you go into a store and remove a bunch of Gift Cards that have no value. With a card reader you obtain the numbers off of the magnetic strip on the back of the cards and make copies of them. You then return the cards and wait for a customer to activate one. Once activated and money is added to the card the value is also then passed to the cloned card.

Oops – Did I Do That
When a person takes their place in the check out line with the items they intend to take, and pay for only one of those items while holding what they want to take in full view to cause confusion but avoid suspicion due to their apparent intention of payment. If the unlikely event of being caught, they could simply pass off the attempt as accidental.


In the retail environment stores will hire security personnel, also known as Asset Protection or Loss Prevention (LP), to protect their goods from disappearing. Their job is to reduce and prevent the loss of merchandise (also called shrinkage) in a store. It is their job to apprehend shoplifters and employees who steal from the store. They will also investigate embezzlement, credit card and check fraud that may occur at their store. Asset Protection and Loss Prevention are usually hired to deter theft instead of preventing it. The belief is that people will feel more comfortable shopping if they believe they are safe from crime.

Not all stores will have a Loss Prevention associate within the store. Some of the smaller chain stores will have a roaming district Loss Prevention in which they will have many stores to look after. Their main concern is with employee theft and to follow up on investigations into fraud and organized retail crime. This leaves the employees and management to guard the store against any potential shoplifters.

This however is not the case for large department / big box stores. They will always have a least one Loss Prevention associate working while the store is open. It is common for a lot of stores to use a team of Loss Prevention personnel, with one person watching the cameras, while the other covertly walks around the store looking for suspicious activity. It is not that uncommon during, busier periods or holidays, for there to be four or five Loss Prevention associate covertly walking around the floor area of a store. Some of the larger stores have also been know to use a Theft Deterrent Team made up of specialized Loss Prevention personnel who go around to problematic stores to help with the investigation and apprehension of shoplifters.

Some things you need to know about Loss Prevention.
They come in all ages, colors, sexes, and sizes. Just like shoplifters there is no distinctive type of person who will work as an LP. It could be an 18yo white male to a 50yo black female. It really just depends on the type of store they are in. The better department stores will generally pay there Loss Prevention a better wage and therefore will a have an older, more professional associate then a discount store. In fact the discount stores will generally have the younger, less experienced, overly rambunctious Loss Prevention . Almost all Loss Prevention will be in street cloths so that they can blend in with the customers and go unnoticed by everyday shoppers. Retail stores are on a tight budget and will only employ as many Loss Prevention personnel as they feel is necessary to maintain the shrink of that store. What this means is if a store is in a high crime area it will employ more Loss Prevention associate then a store in the more affluent part of town that has little crime. So if a part of town that is known to have a drug issue or has a large impoverished population then the stores in that area will have a stronger Loss Prevention presence and should be avoided.

Some easy ways to spot a Loss Prevention person:

– Pretending to shop with no interest with what their looking at.
– Always looking down aisles when walking past.
– A bulky two way radio in the small of their back.
– Wearing a ear piece.
– Talking quietly on a cell phone.
– Always checking out / looking at people.
– Hovering around end-caps.
– You continuously see this person in and around the store.
– In a department they would not normally be in.
– Having odd non perishable items in their basket.
– Walking around with just one or two items in their hand.
– Not wearing a jacket on a cold day.
– A person who knows / friendly with employees.
– Hanging out around the electronics or other high theft items.
– Always seeing the same person in the store on different trips.
– A cheap chain around their neck for a hidden badge.
– Moving around the store quickly with an arrogant attitude.
– A person who just looks out of place.

In order to prevent ‘bad stops’ ( when a customer is stopped for shoplifting and found to be innocent) stores have a series of steps designed to help establish probable cause. The number of steps may vary from company to company, but here is a basic outline of what a Loss Prevention associate should do in order to stop a customer suspected of shoplifting.

1 – Initiate observation … Must see the individual enter the area without the stores merchandise.2 – Selection … Must observe the subject select the stores merchandise.

3 – Concealment … Must observe the subject conceal the merchandise.

4 – Maintain observation … Must maintain reasonable observation of the individual and be certain the store merchandise is not discarded / dumped else where in the store.

5 – Exit/Apprehension … The individual must pass all points of sale, making no attempt to pay for the merchandise, before conducting an apprehension.

Often Loss Prevention associates will not follow all five of these steps in order to apprehend a suspect. In fact many times they will lie about steps 1 thru 4 on their report just to catch a shoplifter. Also reasonable doubt can be used. For instance, if someone has a CD in their hands, and they turn around, with their back facing the cameras, and when they turn back the merchandise is no longer in their hands or if going into a dressing room with four items and walking out with only two, it is possible to assume that the individual probably has concealed the merchandise.

Loss Prevention personnel are trained to watch for shoplifting behaviors, not stereotypes. Of course, if someone walks into a store dressed all raggedy and obviously has a drug habit, LP are probably going to watch their every move. It helps to be neatly dressed, well-behaved and to be with another person. Single males who walk in quickly and go straight to a section or float around a general area without actually *shopping* are instantly watched. Having a shopping cart and shopping means you are planning to spend more time in the store. Having a shopping cart and your girl / boy friend with you means you’re probably not thinking about stealing.

Most shoplifters like to use a shopping cart to help with opening and concealing items. Men with shopping carts are more then likely to be watched if the cart is not used for heavy items or at least multiple different items. Single shoppers are more likely to be watched then a couple (man / women or parent / child). A group of teens is much more likely to watched then one teen on their own or with their parent. The reason being is that teens are prone to peer pressure from other teens. Lets don’t forget about racial profiling – I don’t care how many times they say they don’t do it – you know they do.

LPs are trained to look for certain behaviors!! Avoid these behaviors.!.

  1. Nervousness. Fidgety body movements and looking anxious.
  2. Constantly looking from side to side or looking around at other shoppers and employees.
  3. Facial expressions of worry, such as wide open eyes, raised eyebrows and crinkled foreheads and gaping mouth. This is usually seen immediately after concealment has already occurred and eye contact is made with the suspect.
  4. Releasing nervous tension through exercises such as stretching, cracking knuckles, rotating arms.
  5. Walking faster or slower then normal customers.
  6. Entering the store and proceeding directly to an area at a brisk pace while eyeballing customers.
  7. Walking around the store briskly through aisles while carrying merchandise, attempting to not be seen or followed by associates while concealing the merchandise
  8. Refusing assistance from store staff and obviously avoiding contact with others.
  9. Asking an associate for directions to an item or department, then proceeding in the opposite direction.
  10. Asking an associate unusual questions about merchandise.
  11. Removing security tags.
  12. Peeling off price stickers.
  13. Constantly looking at security cameras.
  14. Ducking down and out of employees’ or cameras’ view.
  15. Uninterested in shopping. Repeatedly picking up random items with no interest and putting them back.
  16. Selecting multiple merchandise at a high rate of speed and not checking prices or sizes.
  17. Wandering around store, handling items, lingering here and there, without doing any real shopping.
  18. Removing merchandise from one department and depositing it in another, then walking away; creating a depository of merchandise for a later theft.
  19. Removing hangers from clothes for no apparent reason. Double hanging clothes. Placing clothing inside of other clothing.
  20. Hiding merchandise behind other merchandise.
  21. Carrying large seemingly empty purses, bags, or back packs.
  22. Placing purse/bag opened in the child seat area of the shopping cart.
  23. Large or open purses and shopping bags carried on the arm or shoulder.
  24. Handling of bags, backpacks, at the same time glancing around.
  25. Carrying a shopping bag from a store that is not in the same shopping center.
  26. Carrying items around the store then going into out-of-the-way areas.
  27. Constantly walking into a hidden area (Blind Spot) from the view of security.
  28. Entering a store empty handed and staring at the Returns desk.
  29. Removing a crumpled receipt from their pocket, matching to items on shelf.
  30. Suddenly walks quickly to an exit without making a purchase.
  31. Opening a wallet and showing cash, in attempt to alleviate suspicion.
  32. Wears bulky, heavy clothing during warm weather or coats when unnecessary. Wearing baggy or oversized cloths, hoodies and backpacks.
  33. Wearing sunglasses in the store.
  34. Caring umbrellas or wearing fake casts. Pushing wheelchairs, and baby strollers.
  35. Enters a dressing room or rest rooms with merchandise and then exits with nothing.
  36. Repeatedly sends sales staff away by asking for other sizes or colors or distract you with constant chatter.
  37. Quickly enter change rooms with a large number of clothes, so staff are not able to check the number of items taken.
  38. Backing into a parking space.
  39. Leaving the trunk of the car cracked.
  40. Leaving another person in the car or at the front of the store.
  41. A group entering a store at the same time and then splitting up or come in the same car but enter the store at different times.

A well trained Loss Prevention personnel will watch the merchandise not the customer. They will know what items are being removed from the store and will watch those items. Once someone has selected that item they will watch their behavior and act accordingly.

Some people believe that if you were to purchase something it would make you look less suspicious, this is not always true. If a Loss Prevention associate were watching you put things in your pocket, by waiting in the checkout line and not purchasing the items, you are only giving Loss Prevention more time to position themselves.

The bottom line is you should never trust anyone around you. You will need to learn how to control your nerves and body movements. Always look sales help in the eye and be friendly and most importantly … learn how to legitimately shop so that when you are shoplifting no one would suspect differently.



In this section I will discus the features that retail stores use to discourage individuals from stealing their merchandise. I will give a basic guide for these features so that you may have a better understanding of what you are up against if you were to decide to remove items from a store without paying. As always you should take this information and use it as a building block as you search for a greater comprehension of what you need to be successful in Retail Redistribution.

Retail security experts believe the most effective prevention against shoplifting is the use of a combination of tools known as CCTV (Closed-circuit television) and the ‘tag-and alarm’ systems, better known as electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems. Along with good costumer service, security experts will tell you that these security tools are almost unbeatable. This is not altogether true. Armed with the right knowledge and tools, an informed shoplifter may ovoid detection all together while acquiring a substantial quantity of items.

EAS – Electronic Article Surveillance
This is the security system that protects merchandise from shoplifters. Security tags are placed onto the merchandise either on the out side or the inside of the merchandise packaging. These tags are removed or deactivated by the stores employees when the item is purchased. All EAS systems operate the same basic way. A transmitter from one tower sends a signal to a receiver in another tower. These alarm towers are generally placed at the entrance / exit of a store and will sound an alarm when it senses an active tag passing through the surveillance area.

There are several types of electronic article surveillance systems used in retail stores. I will explain the two most commonly used systems. Acousto-magnetic (AM) which is used by the security company Sensormatic or Radio Frequency (RF) used by Check-Point. These are also the two predominate companies that manufacture the alarm towers and security systems for retail stores in North America. These companies will always have their name on top of the tower. This is good to know so that can plan on the right method of removing an item.

Acousto-magnetic systems (Sensormatic)
These tags will have thin strips of metal inside of them that will vibrate when you pass through the alarm towers. The towers will receive the vibration signal from the tag and will activate the alarm. You will find these tags in two different varieties – Soft Or Hard.

A Soft AM Tag… * Picture * ..
These tags are disposable and are deactivated at the register at time of purchase. Because these tags are a soft plastic you can deactivate them by simply bending it or puncturing a small hole through it. Once you have disturbed the thin metal strips inside it will no longer be able to vibrate, therefore making the tag useless. These tags can be placed on the inside of packaging or inside the product itself by the manufacture. This is also know as source tagging. You will always find the AM security soft tag within three inches of a UPC/Barcode.

Hard Tags
There are a few different types of the AM Hard Tag.

Gator Tag … * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
You can use a rubber band to remove these tags. By twisting the rudder band around the pin until it pops off. You could also use two pair of pliers by holding onto each side of the flaps by the pin and bending.

Super Tag 3.. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
These are the latest tags from Sensormatic. At the top of the tag you will see a small hole. This tag uses a hook key to open it. You can find hooks for sale online. {* Vinipooh *}

Super Tag 2.. * Picture * ..
These tags are an older version of ST3 they will use a magnetic detacher to remove.

Styles / Pencil Tag.. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
These small tags are removed with a Magnetic detacher.

Clothing Tags.. * http://i1139.photobucket.com/albums/…RFSoftTag3.png * ..
Retailers have become crafty at hiding there security tags. These tags are sewn into the garment itself. Always look for tags that say remove after purchase.

Logo / Price Tags.. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
These tags will look like normal tags, but will have a security tag hidden inside.

AM Security Alarm Tower.. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..

Radio-frequency systems (Checkpoint)
These tags are basically small flat antennas wound in a circular pattern to create a capacitor. The alarm tower will admit a radio signal that will detect an active tag and then sound an alarm. These tags are often mistakenly called RFID tags. Though similar in design there is a huge difference in how the tags operate. There are also two versions of the RF tags Soft and Hard.

A Soft RF Tag.. * Picture * ..
This is a flat sticker 1½ inch square. On the back side is the spiral circuit and on the front it could one of several things. Blank, “Please Rewind”, or the more popular UPC/Barcode. If these tags are source tagged you will find it within 3 inches of the barcode. It is hard to remove the stickers because of the strong adhesive. It would be a lot easier to deactivate it. This is done by simply slicing through the sticker. This will make the tag inoperable and ready for removal.

Hard Tags
There are a few different types of the RF Hard Tag.

Dome Tag.. * Picture * ..
A circular tag that uses a Magnetic detacher to remove.

Napoleon Tag.. * Picture * ..
These small tags are removed with a Magnetic detacher.

Square Tag.. * Picture * ..
A square tag that uses a Magnetic detacher to remove

Clothing Tags.. * Picture * ..
Retailers have become crafty at hiding there security tags. These tags are sewn into the garment itself.

Logo / Price Tags .. * Picture * ..
These tags will look like normal tags, but will have a security tag hidden inside.

RF Security Alarm Tower.. * Picture * ..

Ink Tags.. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
Most communally used on clothing these tags are also called benefit denial tags. They contain special ink capsules, which will damage the item when forcibly removed. The ink is a permanent ink which can not be removed from either the garment or your hands. A lot of these tags will also have built into them a RF or AM security device. They are removed using a magnetic detacher.

Alpha Security …
Check Point has a separate brand called Alpha Solutions products which utilizes hard plastic boxes called keepers and a wiry device called a spider wrap. They also have an assortment of hard tags, bottle security caps and shelving locking hooks. Alpha has developed their own magnetic detacher called a S3 key that will open every single product they have. What makes them different from the rest of the Security Tags is the will have a 2 Alarm or 3 Alarm built into their products. What this means is … 1) If take the item pass the security towers the alarm in the towers will sound and a separate alarm inside the Alpha product will sound. 2) If you force the Alpha Keeper open or cut a wire on the Spider Wrap an internal alarm will go off. 3) The newest feature is a proximity sensor. If you move the Alpha product beyond a certain boundary an internal alarm will sound.

CD Keeper ….…………. * Picture *
Large Keeper …………. * Picture *
Spider Wrap ..………… * Picture *
Spider Wrap boxed .… * Picture *
Hard Tag .……………… * Picture *
Security Hook ………… * Picture *
Alpha S3 Key …….…… * Picture *

Radio Frequency Identification … RFID.. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
These tags are not yet being used in the USA as a security feature in retail stores. RFID tags are semi-smart with a computer chip that holds information, with or without a power source, and an a short or long rang antenna that can send information back to a central processing unit. They are used in the retail industry as a tracking device for inventory tracking from manufacture to distribution centers to the store. It is the box / pallet of items that are tagged not the clothing / items in the box.

Source Tagging …
This is where a disposable anti-theft security tag is placed inside a product at the manufacturing plant before it reaches the retail establishment. The two types of tags most commonly placed with the packaging or on the product itself are Sensormatic rectangular soft tag and Checkpoints square soft tag. * Picture *
The industry standard for tag placement is on the inside of the packaging, within 3 inches of the barcode. Most of the time it will be on the opposite side of the barcode, so once you find the barcode, you will find the tag.

Unfortunately for shoplifters, retailers have been demanding that the manufacture place tags in harder to detect areas, called embedding tags. These tags are placed on the inside of the product itself or in between the layers of cardboard packaging so that they are unlikely to be deactivated by a shoplifter. Tags are sewn into labels of cloths, are placed under the sole of a shoe or inside the battery compartment of electronics items in addition to the hard tags that you might easy find on the outside. Most large retailers now demand to have all of their products source tagged from the manufacture.

CCTV – Closed Circuit Television .. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..* Picture * ..* Picture * ..
A lot of stores have now implemented a camera system so that Loss Prevention can gain a better view of a suspect, record incidents, and not reveal themselves to customers or sales staff on in the store.. Some retailers now use two-man teams in which one person watches the camera system in a secluded room to detect shoplifters and an plain clothed undercover Loss Prevention who will follow the suspect while keeping contact with the camera operator with a two-way radio or cell phone.

Camera systems have been drastically modernized in the last decade. Most systems now record digitally and images are saved on hard drives or disk for permanent record keeping. The systems are constantly recording every action even if no one is viewing the monitors. This allows Loss Prevention to go back and view certain day and times to follow up on any suspicions they may have. It will also allow security to take still shots of suspects faces so they may print it out for a bulletin board or to send the picture to other stores, via email, within the same chain so that they can Be-On-the-Look-Out (BOLO) for the suspect.

The cameras overlooking the cash registers will often have a Point of Sale (POS) recorder. This means that everything being scanned will have two records, one of what the scanner says was scanned and another visual of the actual item. This is to capture fraudulent scans from cashiers or in the case of self check-out scanners, the customer.

Covert Cameras.. * Picture * …. * Picture * …. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
These cameras are being used more often in stores that have a higher theft then usual. They can be as small as a one inch square, half inch thick with an antenna and only cost a couple of hundred dollars. These cameras can be easily made to look like fixtures or in some cases boxes inside a stockroom and are undetectable by the average employee or customer.

Loss Prevention will statically place covert cameras on the sales floor in an area they call a corral. This is an area next to high theft items that appears to be a ‘Blind Spot’ to an unsuspecting shoplifter. The shoplifter enters the corral (trap) thinking they have privacy to hide an item when in reality their every move is being recorded.

Pan – Tilt – Zoom.. * Picture * ..
These cameras are the top of the line security feature in a CCTV system. They can pan (move left and right), tilt (move up and down), and zoom in or out. Additionally, PTZ domes can rotate 360 degrees and view an object directly below them. They can zoom in onto a suspect clear across a store and are clear enough to read the time off your watch at 50 yards. A camera’s motion can either be remotely controlled with a keyboard or have an auto tracking program. Movement will activate the camera and automatically follow the person without the assistance of Loss Prevention. With just a couple of these cameras Loss prevention can follow a suspect throughout a store with out their knowledge.

Dummy Domes.. * Picture * ..
As you may have guessed not all of the camera domes have cameras inside of them. Although they are identical to appearance of domes that do contain cameras, dummy domes do not contain cameras. The dummy domes will be placed in areas that have a low theft item. They are used as a deterrent against shoplifters because they give the appearance of eliminating blind spots. Dummy domes can also be strategically placed to herd shoplifters into a particular location (corral) that may have covert cameras.

Outdoor Cameras .. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
More stores have begun to use an area of outdoor cameras added to their CCTV system to monitor the parking lots, side and back entrances. These cameras have become so advanced, they can not only take a picture of the driver, but some can read a license plate a mile away. The purpose of these cameras is to capture crimes that may take place within a stores parking lot, but also has the added benefit to alert Loss Prevention of foul play such as people searching the area for receipts or drivers left in vehicles, while their accomplice enters the store.

Ceiling Mirrors.. * Picture * ..
Ceiling mirrors allow loss prevention investigators to watch activity in a high theft area without being seen. Some loss prevention departments have been known to use mirrors to increase the range of their camera systems. Ceiling mirrors were once a staple of the Loss Prevention industry. Now ceiling mirrors for the most part have been reduced to convenience stores.

Serial Numbers.. * Picture * …. * Picture * ..
For years serial numbers have been placed on the back of electronics so that customers had a way to keep track of their items in the event of a robbery. Now stores have begun placing the same number on the outside of packaging. At the time of purchase a cashier will record the number into a system data base. The reason behind this is that if you return the item to the store they can verify that the item within the box is the same item on your receipt. Also if you return an item without a receipt they can scan the serial number to see when the item was purchased. This reduces return fraud.

Two-Way Communication
All Loss Prevention departments have some form of two-way communication. This is used by investigators mainly to help two-man teams follow a suspect in conjunction with the CCTV camera system or to summon assistance when apprehending a suspect. Hidden walkie-talkies use to be the commonly used tool, but now days a lot of Loss Prevention personal will use a cell phone with its added ability to capture photos of suspects.

Point of Sale
POS is a form of electronic journal that allows the Loss Prevention investigator to see a transaction at the cash register as it is occurring live. Typically this system is displayed on a computer screen that is linked to the CCTV camera system.

Consent Searches
Consent searches are a tactic that is widely used in law enforcement and Loss Prevention today. By asking a customer to consent to a search of their belongings such as shopping bags and receipts – any illegal search or seizure requirements can be avoided. This process is strictly volunteer and a customer does not have to submit to anyone looking through their belongings and store personal are not aloud under any circumstance to search your body. Consent searches are legally done by warehouse retailers such as Costco and Sam’s Club because they have made it a part of the membership agreement. Although a customer may refuse to a search of their purchase the warehouse retailer does retain the right to strip the customer of their membership and issue a verbal trespass. Still you do not have to consent to any search if you don’t want to.



*Written by ShadyLady*

Note: Pictures will open in a separate window.

1st Tools of the Trade Thread Link

Items you need:

Hook Vinni is a trusted seller Tutorial on using a hook
Superloc detacher Vinni is a trusted seller
Neodymium magnets
Boxcutter or X-acto knife
Pliers (6 in)
Rubber bands
S3 key Alpha S3 key
4 of these magnets can make a homemade S3 key
Picture of homemade S3 key

Be careful with the magnets. When magnets crack they can’t be reassembled because those that cracked have their own polarity and will be repelled where it originally was. Wrap with a few layers electrical tape so they don’t flip or break & to make handling easier. For extra durability you can also add a thin metal bracket onto one side.

Magnet FAQs

Magnet Polarity:
If you align the magnetically up correctly all 4 will go right into place perfectly and hold its shape as is. Just make sure you dont bump it to make the magnets flip on you before you get the electrical tape around it.
There are several simple methods that can be used to identify the (Scientific) North and South poles of neodymium magnets.
1) The easiest way is to use another magnet that is already marked. The North pole of the marked magnet will be attracted to the South pole of the unmarked magnet.
2) If you take an even number of magnets and pinch a string in the middle of the stack and dangle the magnets so they can freely rotate on the string, the North pole of the magnets will eventually settle pointing North. This actually contradicts the “opposites attract” rule of magnetism, but the naming convention of the poles is a carry over from the old days when the poles were called the “North-seeking” and “South-seeking” poles. These were shortened over time to the “North” and “South” poles that we know them as.
3) If you have a compass handy, the end of the needle that normally points North will be attracted to the South pole of the neodymium magnet.

For the homemade S3 key, you want to align the magnets in this configuration:
[+ -][+ -] [- +][- +]

Alpha: http://www.alphaworld.com/index.asp
Sensormatic: http://www.sensormatic.com/
Checkpoint: http://www.checkpointsystems.com/

Alpha Products: Require a S3 key for removal.

CD Keeper ….…………. Picture
Large Keeper …………. Picture
Spider Wrap ..………… Picture
Spider Wrap boxed .… Picture
Hard Tag .……………… Picture
Security Hook ………… Picture
Alpha S3 Key …….…… Picture

==Alpha Keeper Case==
An alpha disk caseAn alpha keeper box.

Alpha keepers are often used to protect dvds and video games from walking away, but they are easy to remove with a key. They contain a little rfid that alarms the towers like the sticker tags. On the bottom of the case a little metal spring is easily visible. Putting the magnet flush under that allows the latch to side and the case to open. On the larger keeper boxes, the bottom is opaque so it is a little harder to find the “sweet spot” but slide the magnet all around the bottom while and when you find it, you will hear clicks.

Alpha Product Hooks
An alpha product hook

Alpha hooks are the locking hooks that products are hung on. The products cannot be removed without a sales associate. These are fairly easy to open too. Simply place your key flush to the flat spot atop the front of the hook. Slide it around a little bit to find the sweet spot. It isn’t too hard to find and once it’s found, the front lock slides off/open.

Spider Wraps
A 3 alarm Spider Wrap.

Spider wraps are another alpha product. There is one thing you should never do. DO NOT CUT THE WIRES. It will release a noise comparable to a smoke alarm. Spider wraps are often 3 alarm which means;

  • It will alarm if the wires are cut
  • It will sound the tower’s alarms
  • The wrap itself will alarm when removed from the store

To remove these, place the key flush to the rectangle latch. When the sweet spot is found, the latch will slide open and the wrap can be disposed of. The product may still be source tagged, so don’t get cocky.

Soft AM Tag Picture
Sticker tag. Deactivate them by simply bending it or puncturing a small hole through it.

SuperTag 3 Picture
Hard tag. Smaller than supertag 2. Requires a hook for removal.

SuperTag 2 Picture
Hard tag. Requires a hook for removal.

SuperTag 1 Picture
Hard tag. Smaller than other supertags, no hole for a hook. You need neodymium magnets to remove this tag. You can buy them at Ace Hardware: Magnet Link You want the ones that come in a 3 pack. Buy 2 of the 3 packs & stick the 6 magnets together.

Alarming SuperTag Picture
Hard tag. Requires a hook for removal. If you pull on this tag too much it’ll go off.

SuperTag Ink Picture
Hard tag. Requires a hook for removal.

Ink Tags Picture
Hard tag. Requires a superloc detacher for removal.

Styles / Pencil Tag Picture
Hard tag. Requires a superloc detacher for removal.

Sewn in clothing Soft tags Picture
Tag that is sewn into the garment, look for tags that say remove before wearing. To disable take a needle & poke it through tag but don’t poke it through to the other side. You want the needle inside the tag & poke it all around to shred the metal threads. If the tag doesn’t need to look untampered with, you can shred the tag with a blade which is much quicker.

Sewn in clothing RF tags Picture
Tag that is sewn into the garment, look for tags that say remove before wearing. To disable slice through the tag with a blade.

RF Embedded Price / Logo Tags Picture Picture Picture Picture
Tags with an embedded security tag. To disable slice through the tag with a blade.

Gator Tag Picture Picture
Hard tag. You can use a rubber band to remove these tags. By twisting the rubber band around the pin until it pops off. You could also use two pair of pliers by holding onto each side of the flaps by the pin and bending. You cannot use a magnet to remove a gator tag. It requires a lot of pulling but you can pull the tag off the pin.

Soft RF Tag Picture
Sticker tag. Deactivate by slicing through the sticker.

Dome Tag Picture
Hard tag. Requires a superloc detacher for removal.

Napoleon Tag Picture
Hard tag. Requires a superloc detacher for removal.

Square Tag Picture
Hard tag. Requires a superloc detacher for removal.

Boxguard Spider Wraps Picture
Requires a detacher for removal.


Written by Scumbag, ShadyLady & Roxi39.

Abercrombie & Fitch
With Receipt … Will exchange or refund any original condition merchandise. No time limit. It is up to the manager’s discretion whether to accept the return.
Without Receipt … Store credit issued without receipt.
LP … Rarely in store LP. Sale staff / managers responsible for SL. No chase policy. Cameras are not actively monitored.

Academy Sports + Outdoors
With Receipt … An even exchange or refund based upon the original payment.
Without Receipt … An even exchange or merchandise card.
LP … Will have in-store LP. A mix of static and PTZ cameras. Sensormatic security system with pencil tags.

A.C. More Arts & Crafts Returns
With Receipt … 90 day return with all products. All merchandise must be in new condition, in its original unopened packaging. Only defective merchandise may be returned with opened packaging.
Without receipt … Items will need manager approval. They will back check system to see if item was purchased in that store.
LP … Most stores do not have LP on site. Some cameras.

Advanced Auto
With Receipt … Return within 90 days for exchange or refund based on original method of payment. After 90 days merchandise credit will be issued.
Without Receipt … Merchandise credit will be issued. You have to show your license.
LP … There is no LP in most stores. Some cameras with recorders.

With Receipt … Returns will be refunded in the manner in which the original purchase was made. Returns with a gift receipt will be refunded with a Gift Card. There is no time limit on returns.
Without Receipt … Items may be exchanged for merchandise or an Aéropostale Gift Card in the amount of the current selling price.
LP … Rarely in store LP. Sale staff / managers responsible for SL. No chase policy. Cameras are not actively monitored.

American Apparel
With Receipt … We do not issue refunds, but provide exchanges or store credit within 30 days for un-washed, un-worn merchandise with tags.
Without Receipt … No Receipt / No Refund.
LP … Rarely in store LP. Sale staff / managers responsible for SL. No chase policy. Cameras are not actively monitored.

American Eagle Outfitters
With Receipt … Returns will be refunded in the manner in which the original purchase was made. Returns with a gift receipt will be refunded with a Gift Card. There is no time limit on returns.
Without Receipt … Items may be exchanged for merchandise or an Aéropostale Gift Card in the amount of the current selling price.
LP … Rarely in store LP. Sale staff / managers responsible for SL. No chase policy. Cameras are not actively monitored.

Ann Taylor Loft
With Receipt… Returns accompanied by the original receipt within 60 days of the date of purchase will be credited for the price paid either in the original form of payment or a merchandise exchange. eturns accompanied by the original receipt more than 60 days after the date of purchase will be credited for the current selling price either in the form of a merchandise credit* or a merchandise exchange.
Without Receipt… Returns without the original receipt will be credited for the item’s current selling price on the date of the return, in the form of a merchandise credit. Merchandise deemed Final Sale on the date of the return may not be returned or exchanged.

With Receipt … Return within 90 days for exchange or refund based on original method of payment. After 90 days merchandise credit will be issued.
Without Receipt … Merchandise credit will be issued. You have to show your license.
LP … There is no LP in most stores. Some cameras with recorders.

Banana Republic
With Receipt … Returns will be refunded in the manner in which the original purchase was made. Returns with a gift receipt will be refunded with a Gift Card. There is no time limit on returns.
Without Receipt … Merchandise can be returned at current selling price. A choice of merchandise exchange or Gift card. Mail check will be issued if the balance exceeds $50.00. You have to show your license.
LP … Rarely in store LP. Sale staff / managers responsible for SL. No chase policy. Cameras are not actively monitored.

Barnes & Nobles
With Receipt…Returns are accepted within 14 days of the date that you received your order. Books, DVDs and CDs (in their original, unopened, shrink-wrapped condition), and Toys & Games. Items That Cannot Be Returned: They will not accept returns for eBooks, magazines, downloadable PDFs for SparkNotes and Quamut products, gift cards, and shrink-wrapped items that have been opened. Please note: Once purchased, eBooks cannot be refunded.
Without Receipt… Store Credit

Bass Pro Shops
With Receipt … You may receive either an exchange, cash refund or a credit refund. No time limit.
Without Receipt … May exchange merchandise or receive store credit in the amount of the item’s last sale price. Reserves the right to limit the number of returns without a receipt. You have to show your license.
LP … At least 1 while store is open. Cameras are sporadically placed and are monitored at times. No Chase Policy.

Bath & Body Works
With Receipt … All returns will be returned in the method purchased. Not time limit.
Without Receipt … Exchange only.
LP … There is no LP in most stores. Some cameras with recorders.

Bed Bath & Beyond
With Receipt … You have to show your license. Will take back all items in any condition, no questions asked with a receipt with no time limit.
Without Receipt … You have to show your license. Will take back items and give a gift card. No limit to amount of returns.
LP … There is no LP in most stores. Some cameras with recorders.

Best Buy
With Receipt … All returns and exchanges must be in original condition and include all accessories. 30-day return period for most items. 14-day return period on computers, monitors, notebook computers, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors and video games purchased as used. Reserves the right to request identification and to deny any return.
Without Receipt … No Receipt / No Return.
LP … Has active and good LP. Always has at least 2 LP on duty at all times. Has a no chase policy.

With Receipt… Returns of merchandise purchased from a Borders, Borders Express or Waldenbooks retail store will be permitted only if presented in saleable condition accompanied by the original sales receipt or Borders gift receipt within the time periods specified below. Returns accompanied by the original sales receipt must be made within 30 days of purchase and the purchase price will be refunded in the same form as the original purchase. Returns accompanied by the original Borders gift receipt must be made within 60 days of purchase and the purchase price will be refunded in the form of a return gift card. Exchanges of opened audio books, music, videos, video games, software and electronics will be permitted subject to the same time periods and receipt requirements as above and can be made for the same item only. Periodicals, newspapers, comic books, food and drink, eBooks and other digital downloads, gift cards, return gift cards, items marked “non-returnable,” “final sale” or the like and out-of-print, collectible or pre-owned items cannot be returned or exchanged.
Without Receipt… no return

With Receipt…
Unused merchandise may be returned at any time for a refund with original receipt. Without a receipt…you can exchange it/store credit. It has to be merchandise from a full price coach store (not from an outlet).
LP… LP isn’t there everyday, usually Thursday through Sunday. Pretty good camera system.

With Receipt … Will take back any items, anytime , except the following must be returned within 90 days for a refund: televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPOD / MP3 players and cellular phones.
Without receipt … You do not need a receipt to return items. You will need your membership card so they can look up your purchase. No returns without a membership card.
LP … Will chase you. Will prosecute. At least 2 LP on duty at all times. Cameras are monitored and recorded.

Dick’s Sporting Goods
With Receipt… Items must be returned within 90 days.
Without Receipt… Store credit

With Receipt… 30 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt … MUST HAVE POP LABEL (Proof of Purchase)
Receive store credit. May check/copy I.D
LP… Has active and good LP. Always has at least 2 LP on duty at all times.
Will chase you. Cameras are actively monitored.

With Receipt….90 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Exchange only. Will not give store credit.
LP…None active. Some Cameras.

Famous Footwear
With Receipt…30 days for full refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Receive store credit. Will check / copy your ID.
LP…None active. No Cameras.

Hobby Lobby
With Receipt…60 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Receive store credit over $10.00, Cash if under $10.00
LP..active,rotates stores. Cameras placed sporadically.

With Receipt….ANY time for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Receive store credit. May check / copy ID.
LP..none active.No cameras.

Home Depot
LP… Home Depot has the best camera security system next to Target. There is a least one active camera on every aisle, but they also have twice as many dummy cameras as real. The LP office will very from store to store … some are up front others are in the back next to the office. They do have a no touch/no chase policy and due to resent cut backs there will be only one LP on during busier hours. HD will have twice as many employees as Lowes and they are constantly roaming the store.

With Receipt…30 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt..Receive store credit (non transferablemerch.credit)Will check/copy ID
LP none active. No cameras.

With Receipt…90 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Receive store credit. Will copy / check ID.
LP … Has active and good LP. Always has at least 2 LP on duty at all times. Will chase you. Cameras are actively monitored.

With Receipt…30 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Receive store credit. Will check / copy ID.
LP..none active. No cameras.

With Receipt … An even exchange or refund based upon the original payment.
Without Receipt … An even exchange
LP … No store LP. Limited Security

With Receipt … You return the item within 28 days of purchase. The item is in resalable condition – It is unworn, unopened, unused and in its original condition.
Without Receipt … No Receipt / No Return
LP … At least 1 while store is open. Cameras are sporadically placed and are monitored at times. Will chase shoplifters.

With Receipt … A cash or credit refund, based on the original method of payment or an even exchange. No time limit.
Without Receipt … An even exchange or a merchandise card
LP … Always at least 1 LP. Cameras are sporadically placed and are monitored at times. Kohls has video cameras that record everyone and everything entering and exiting their dressing rooms. These surveillance tapes are admissible in court. If you hear Code 500 over the intercom, and managers being asked to come to the front of the store, this is their code for shoplifters.

Levi Store
With Receipt…60 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt..Receive store credit. May check / copy ID.
LP is active. No Chase Policy. Cameras are monitored.

L.L. Bean
With Receipt … Will return for full refund. No time limit.
Without Receipt … Will do an even exchange or a merchandise card. Will check system to see if item was purchased.
LP … Always at least 1 LP. Cameras are sporadically placed and are monitored at times.

LP…Lowes … this varies from store to store … some will have a sliding camera system. This is a long shiny tube running down the main aisles that cameras run back and forth on … you never know where the cameras are. All stores will have PTZ over Tools and Faucets (the two most common lifted items). There will be PTZ cameras on the outside also. Some stores will have cameras on every aisle while others wont have any. Over each POS and registers and they will tag a pic of you when you do a receiptless return. There is always one LP on while the store is open, rarely will there be two. They are plain clothed and do walk the store. The LP office in 90% of their stores is by the contractors doors. You will see a door with a key pad and an eye hole.

With Receipt … 180 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt … MUST HAVE POP LABEL (Proof of Purchase)
LP … Has active and good LP. Always has at least 2 LP on duty at all times. Will chase you. Cameras are actively monitored. Cameras have zoom but not full tilt and pan. Known for placing same sex employees in dressing rooms. In some stores (in some states) they can have a camera pointed in the direction of the dressing rooms, or they just can’t have them “recording” and they have to be watched by same sex personnel. Or they can have same sex personnel on the other side of the double mirrors or watching thru the “slats” in the door – especially if they hear a lot of commotion in there.

Nordstrom has possibly the most famously liberal return policy among the major retailers. First of all, there’s no time limit. And gift stickers affixed to the packaging act as receipts for the full merchandise value. Using that information, the store’s computer system can easily find anything paid for by credit card with an ID.
LP… extremely good & active LP. Undercover LP is always present in the women’s dept but not always in the men’s.

Office Depot
With Receipt…30 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Receive store credit. Will check / copy ID.
LP is active. Will Chase. Cameras are monitored, recorded.

Office Max
With Receipt…30 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Receive store credit. Will check / copy ID.
LP is not active. Will chase. Cameras are monitored.

Old Navy
With Receipt…45 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt..Receive store credit. Will check / copy ID.
LP..not active. Cameras not monitored but recorded.

The mega pet store offers full refunds for returns with receipt within 60 days of the purchase. After that, merchandise credit is issued. Petsmart even accepts returns of items purchased at other retailers, even competitors, with the original receipt for merchandise credit or exchange.

LP… extremely good & active LP. At least 2 LP on duty on the weekends.

Sam’s Club
Almost all items are returnable anytime with a receipt. The exceptions (besides cigarettes and alcohol): you have 90 days for most electronics and 30 days for cell phones. Without a receipt, credit is issued for the lowest price available for that product. No membership is required for returns but members bringing back fresh food items get twice the amount or a full refund and a replacement of the item with Sam’s 200% guarantee.

With Receipt….90 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt..Receive store credit. Will check / copy ID.
LP..1-2 are active and will chase. Cameras are monitored,recorded.

Sports Authority
With Receipt…45 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt..Receive store credit. Will check / copy ID.
LP..not active. Cameras not monitored but recorded.

With Receipt….Full Refund on most items.
Without Receipt…Receive store credit. Will check / copy ID.
LP…none active. Cameras placed sporadically.

Target has revised its return policy to allow for more returns without a receipt, but still caps the total to $70 worth of merchandise annually. After that, any return without a receipt gets store credit in the form of a Target gift card.
LP…. Very good & active LP. One of the best camera system. Has their own forensics

Toys R Us
Without Receipt… no return.
LP… Is not Active. Cameras are active but not monitored. Security Guard at doors on holidays.

Urban Outfitters
With Receipt… 30 days for a full refund on most items
Without Receipt… Receive store credit, must show id.
LP… Active. Some cameras.

With Receipt…30 days for a full refund on most items.
Without Receipt….Receive store credit. Will check / copy ID.
LP..none active. Cameras are not always monitored, not recorded.

With Receipt … You will receive a full refund within 90 days on general merchandise. Computers accessories 45 days. Camcorders and digital cameras 30 days. Computers and postpaid cell phones 15 days. Music, movies, and software products must be returned unopened.
Without Receipt … You have to show your license. You can return 3 separate times in a 6 month time frame without any questions. You will get a cash refund for items under $25. You will receive a gift card for anything over $25. A manager has to approve all returns over a $100. If you go over 3 returns in a 45 day period a manager has to approve it.
LP … Will prosecute shoplifters with items over $25. Always has at least 2 LP on duty at all times. Cameras are monitored and recorded. Will chase shoplifters.

Return unworn or unused merchandise to Zappos up to a year after buying. Whenever you do, you will always have free shipping.

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