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Recognize 7 Signs of a Shoplifter and Protect Your Business

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As a business owner, it’s important to identify signs of a shoplifter in your store. Shoplifting is one of the most common forms of theft, costing retailers billions of dollars each year. 

These 7 helpful tips teach you how to identify and prevent shoplifting in your store.

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7 Signs of a Shoplifter You Should Know

Shoplifter running away with a big bag. Image source: Freepik

Fidgets and Nervous

Anyone who premeditates to do something illegal often shows signs of nervousness. Feeling nervous and fidgety is one sign of a shoplifter you should look out for. They’ll appear afraid, shaking and looking around as they walk around the stalls.

As you spot this sign, approach the shopper cautiously, ask politely if they need help, and leave them alone if they answer no. However, watch them carefully from a distance and out of view. 

Avoids Eye Contact

Another sign of a shoplifter is avoiding eye contact with the rest of the shoppers and employees. This attitude is to prevent you from identifying them should you identify them if they succeed.

Shoplifters may also avoid eye contact to avoid looking into the surveillance cameras installed in the shops. They may do this by wearing a cap and sunglasses that cover their faces. 

Wears Oversized Clothing

Anyone who wears an oversized hoodie, coat, or jacket could be a potential shoplifter. Your suspicion is even justified if shoppers wear oversized clothes in the summer or during hot weather.

Besides, shoplifters also carry large bags, a large purse, and scarves, which they can use to keep stolen items. You and your team should look out for such shoppers, pay attention to their activities, and call security should they behave strangely.

Thieves also operate in large groups, carrying backpacks while loitering in retail stores, so they can run through any of the exits should they be caught.

Loiters Around High-Value Items

Shoplifting is risky, so the perpetrators take the chance to steal big. Thus, they loiter around high-value items and make plans to steal them. Often, they visit several times, spotting similar expensive items.

Sometimes, shoplifters dress nicely, buy an expensive item the first time, visit again, and try to buy more pricey items like perfumes while hiding some to reward themselves.

Distract Employees

Shoplifters can also try to distract employees, especially if they enter your shop in groups. They may try to cause a scene, and while all the staff focus attention on him or her, the other groups lift items and block the surveillance camera.    

As such, watch out for suspicious behavior, especially among members of the group that enters the shop.

Constantly Checks for Employees

Moreover, a sign of a shoplifter is keeping an eye on employees. When shoplifters enter a shop, they try to locate every employee or staff member. This level of caution helps them to proceed with their plan, and run away should staff spot what they’re doing.

Visit Consistently Without Making Purchase

Also, a shoplifter makes two or more visits to a shop to survey items he or she plans to steal before making plans to come back again. Mostly at the first visit, they ask excessive questions, hovering about and asking about out-of-stock items.

Thus, you can spot such shoppers and pay critical attention to them whenever they visit your business.

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Prevention Techniques for Shoplifting

A security camera installed in a retail shop. Image source: Freepik

Greet and Engage Customers

One shoplifting prevention technique is to assign one or two staff members at the entrance of your shops to greet customers. This exercise is to enhance customer relations and also to help the staff build familiarity with every person.

Consequently, you’ll be able to recognize a shoplifter should anything go wrong.

Keep the Store Organized and Well Stocked

Keeping your store organized will help keep shoplifters away.  You’ll be able to see vacant spaces and stalls, especially for expensive items that don’t sell frequently. The best way to spot when such items are lifted is to install security codes on each item.

This way, you’ll be able to know which items are leaving the shop without passing through payment stalls. In other words, tag electronic article surveillance technology on your items to help identify items leaving the shop without processing them for payment.

Install Security Cameras

To prevent theft in your shops, your best solution is to install video surveillance and hire security guards. This surveillance will spot shoplifters and record suspicious people for evidence should they get away from it.  

The best places to install security cameras are at the entrance, around the stores, back doors, and payment stalls. 

Train Employees to Spot Suspicious Behaviors

The best way to prevent shoplifters from entering and stealing from your shop is to train employees to spot them. With employee training, your staff will become aware of the signs of a shoplifter and can protect your shop by deterring shoplifters.

You should also communicate with other branches to exercise caution and be vigilant. Remember, gender is irrelevant when it comes to shoplifters. The offender may be a woman, a man, or even a teenager. 

You must observe their body language and check the security tags of the items they bring to the payment stall.

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You can recognize signs of a shoplifter in many ways, including in the scenarios we discussed above. It’s best to train your staff and install security surveillance cameras to protect them and your business

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Sedi Djentuh
Sedi Djentuh
Hey, Sedi here, a content writer. She's fascinated by the interplay between people, lifestyle, relationships, tech and communication dedicated to empowering and spreading positive messages about humanity. She's an avid reader and a student of personal weekly workouts. When she's not writing, Sedi is busy advocating for plastic-free earth with her local NGO.


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