15 Ways How Shoplifters Steal from Retail Stores and Create Shrink!

This post originally appeared on The Retail Consultant

How Customers Steal and create shrink     A Shoplifter is described as a person who lifts or steals items from a shop or store.  There are many ways people do this. Here I will teach you the most common ways thieves steal from stores.  Once you know how they shoplift the more likely you will be able to spot them.

Always be on the lookout for the odd person looking to see if he is being watched, also large groups and overly friendly people.  These overly friendly people usually distract you while their friends steal from you.

15 Ways How Shoplifters Steal from Retail Stores and Create Shrink!
  • Shoplifters will Stuff merchandise in there pocket or conceal it in some way. Sometimes they steal the whole item. Other time they take it out of the package.
  • After all ready paying for one item at the cash register they walk back into the retail store and add things to their store logo shopping bag when no employee is watching.
  • Thieves will put one item inside another. Such as putting a lunch box inside a school bag. If the cashier asks any questions the customer will say they thought they went together. Or they wedge merchandise inside wrapping paper tubes. A Thief will try anyway they can to hide the merchandise the want to steal.
  • Shoplifters will open sealed boxes and put other loose items inside.An example would be opening a board game and placing a computer memory card inside the box. The Shoplifter then pays for the board game and  is getting the memory card free.
  • Customers eat food while they shop. Leave the empty package and never pay for it a the register.
  • Try on new shoes or clothing item and wear it out the of the store. Return to store with receipt for item purchased the same of different day and try to walk out with a new one waving receipt to prove he paid for it. If you don’t look at the receipt carefully you wouldn’t notice it was and old receipt.
  • Walks into store with nothing and brings item to register for return with no or old receipt. Just because some one hands you a receipt doesn’t mean they came into store with the item. They could of found the receipt on the floor and took the item off the shelf and try to return it for money. If you didn’t see the thief come in you have no proof. If you turn down the return he still walks out the door with free merchandise.
  • They just carry items right out the door. Shoplifters wait until you turn your back and will just walk right out the door. Some times they use a partner that will try to distract the person covering the front door so the other person can take merchandise and walk out the door with it. I’ve seen a team of three work together. One drives the get a way car waiting in front. Second person distracts employees while third carries out full floor shippers or hand baskets full of merchandise right out the door into the car and takes off. The distractor acts like he’s not involved. They are so good at it sometimes you don’t notice it ever happened until you realize the display is missing.
  • They don’t steal merchandise but from other customers. Picking pockets or stealing purses. Ever hear an announcement in a supermarket “ If you have the wrong cart please return it”. It is found down another aisle with out the purse that was left unattended.
  • Shoplifters with take anything of value. A portable tv/dvd used for demonstrations. Put in a shopping cart and wheeled right out the door.
  • Purposely letting very young children hold expensive items then walking out the door and having the child carry it. This way they can say it was an accident.
  • Customer drops change on the floor over the register counter while cash draw is open. When cashier bends down to pick it up the thief takes money from register with out being seen. If seen he runs, if not you may end up blaming cashier for shortage. But whose fault was it. The Cashier or the managers for not teaching the cashier to never turn your back on an open cash draw.
  • Counterfeit money. Thief may hide bad bills mixed in the middle of good ones so if you don’t look carefully at it you don’t notice.
  • Confuse cashier while making change while still in middle of sale. Thief always walks away with more money then he should of.


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