This past week, I held a regional LP conference at work. Investigators and market associates from across the country all came together to discuss fraud trends and ways to combat the prevalence of organized retail theft. The one thing that everyone said, no matter what part of the country they were from, was that return fraud was the biggest fraud scheme affecting their stores. That’s why we use Alpha Shark Tags.

Chances are, this scheme is affecting your store as well. It’s an easy way for a criminal to make an easy buck. This scheme has two different, yet distinct methods of operation. First, a dishonest customer can buy tons of designer clothing at full price. Wear the product once, then return it. This allows them to keep up with all the latest fashion designs and trends, all while not really spending a single penny.

The second form of return fraud, and the form most devastating to a retail store is fraudulent returns. Here a booster will steal product from one store, then drive across town to the second location. Here, the merchandise is return for (normally) a store credit. In the past, if you were a thief, you couldn’t do much with a store credit. Now, every time I turn the corner I see another pawnshop or website advertising that they buy gift cards. I hate pawnshops… but we’ll talk about that some other time.

So, how do Alpha Shark Tags prevent return fraud? The tag alone will not stop the fraud. You have to take a multi-step approach to do so. First, tighten up your return policy. I know, I know, an easy return policy keeps your customer’s coming back. It also keeps your thieves coming back as well. At the very least, require a phone number during purchases (think major hardware stores). This way, any returns without receipt for your legitimate customers can easily be located with their phone number.

Once you get a solid return policy in place, you can use the Alpha Shark Tags to secure your products. Remember to tag them in a very visible location of the garment, but in a location that does not obstruct wear of the item. In your return policy, you also need to clearly state that garments need to still have the tags attached in order to receive a refund. This prevents those dishonest customers who want to rent your merchandise.

The Alpha Shark Tag will also be a very visible deterrent to shoplifting. A thief will more than likely break these tags off the clothes once their stolen as they will fear that they will set off the door alarms. Now you have the thief in a catch-22. Breaking off the tag means they can’t’ return the product. Not breaking the tag (in their mind) poses a threat of the door alarm going off (even though it won’t). In my experience, the thief will not take that chance and will more than likely move on to an easier target. With one very simple tagging method, coupled with a strong return policy, you can practically shut down the most prevalent fraud scheme impacting retail stores today.

For more information about Shark Tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547