Shoplifters are an ever-changing group, and have a seemingly never ending ideas for dishonest activities at their disposal. If you really want to do everything you can possibly do to stop shoplifting in your store, you have to learn their tricks and stay on top of trends. Some trends repeat themselves over the years, so don’t be surprised if you see some old tricks resurfacing a few years down the road.
Have you ever gotten a phone call in which the caller asked to speak with someone from security or loss prevention? If so, it may have been a shoplifter. Believe it or not, some shoplifters actually call the store before they come in to steal. They do this to try and see if there is anyone in the store working loss prevention or security. You pick up the phone and the caller hangs up, or asks a question that was not security related and could have been answered by anyone in the store.
A different scam you’ll want to watch out for is callers that try to get you to perform transactions over the phone. This type of theft has been around for a long time, but is still being used regularly. The caller tries to get a cashier to either load a gift card, complete a wire or money transfer, or key some kind of other transaction. They sometimes claim that they are even from the corporate office, or the company whose product is involved in the transaction they are trying to get you to conduct. They can be extremely convincing at times, and may provide bogus credentials as well. You should already be teaching your employees how to help stop shoplifting by looking out for certain red flags, so why not talk about these kinds of scams at the same time. They can cause you just as much loss, so be sure to include them in your retail theft prevention training.
I remember another shoplifter that used another sneaky trick to try to get away with theft. His method of operation was to bring an expensive item to a register, along with a handwritten note. This note was supposedly signed by the store manager, and said that the item was paid, or that he could have the item at half of its original price. Of course, it was a bogus note, and wasn’t really signed by the store manager. One thing that made the note semi-believable though, is the fact that it was the actual store manager’s name on the note. This guy would also call before he came into the store at times to see if the store manager was there at the time, so his scam would be more believable. He got away with it a couple times before we caught on to his tricks and put a stop to it.
My most memorable experience with a shoplifter phone call was when a coworker and I were watching a guy try to defeat an anti-shoplifting device in the store. We thought he got frustrated and gave up, because he dropped the merchandise and left the store empty handed. This was not the case, because a few minutes after he left there was a call for security holding. I picked up the call only to hear someone laughing loudly, and telling me that we were terrible at our jobs. I was going to say that we couldn’t be that bad because he didn’t leave the store with any merchandise, but he hung up the phone too quickly.
For more information contact us: Stop Shoplifting or call 1.770.426.0547