Top 10 Must-have Anti-theft Devices for Retail Stores (2023)

Top 10 Must-have Anti-theft Devices for Retail Stores

The shoplifting problem

It is one of the biggest issues retailers have to deal with on a daily basis. No matter the type of merchandise you sell, there are people who will try to steal from you if you give them the opportunity to do so – which is what not investing in good security measures does.

But how do you know what kind of anti-theft devices to get? Well, before we can answer that, we’ll have to start by going over the most common techniques shoplifters use so we know what we are up against:

  • Distraction – moving in large groups, being boisterous, trying to overwhelm your staff with questions and requests, doing anything to attract attention
  • Concealment – hiding stolen merchandise in bags or under loose clothing
  • Packaging switch – putting more expensive items inside the packaging of cheaper items and then paying only for the latter
  • Price tag switch – replacing an item’s actual price tag with that of a cheaper one
  • Return fraud – exchanging a stolen item for a legitimate one
  • “Honest” mistake – paying for just a couple of items and then “forgetting” to pay for everything else
  • Speed – simply picking some items up and then exiting the store as fast as possible

Now, at first glance, it would appear as if most of these methods could be countered by simply hiring a good security team and training your staff to be as vigilant as possible at all times. In reality, however, the situation can get so much more complicated. For one, no matter how well prepared your staff is, there’s no way that they’ll be 100% immune to trickery or distractions, especially at the hands of seasoned shoplifters. In addition, it’s almost physically impossible to keep watch over everything every single second of every single day, especially if you have a huge store that’s always filled with rushing customers. And, if you’re selling clothes, then you also have to worry about dressing rooms, which, by design, are blind spots.

Long story short, your security team and sales staff could use all the help they can get when it comes to securing your store from shoplifters, and this is where anti-theft devices come in. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most popular ones at your disposal:

CCTV cameras

They not only act as a deterrent, they also allow you to keep video records of the day-to-day happenings inside your store. This means that if ever a theft does occur and you were unable to catch the culprit in the act, you’ll still have something to go back to, which you can use as evidence if the need arises.

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This doesn’t mean that you and your staff can rest easy, however. It’s still a good idea to always remain vigilant so you can further minimize the risk of theft inside your store.

A Good EAS system

EAS stands for electronic article surveillance. It uses a variety of tools like security tags, stickers, labels and cables that are paired with sensors that sound an alarm whenever a stolen item is taken out of the store or a tag is tampered with or forcefully removed.

There are four basic types of EAS systems: electro-magnetic, acousto-magnetic, RFID and microwave. Out of the four, RFID is one of the most commonly used types in retail stores. They work by having each RFID tag possess a specific resonance peak, which RFID sensors monitor constantly for any anomalies.

There are also ink-loaded tags that go perfectly with clothing and other similar products. If a shoplifter ever tries to break them open, the ink inside would leak all over the item making them virtually unusable.

Display cases

Of course, not all security devices are electronic. A simple display case, for example, can go a long, long way in terms of theft-prevention. The only downside of this solution is that it doesn’t work with all types of merchandise, especially those that a customer needs to hold and physically explore to appreciate, like mobile phones and tablets. Nonetheless, it still remains as a good security measure, especially if you’re operating on a relatively tight budget.

Physical locks

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Obviously, a display case can only secure your merchandise if you can lock it up. But this is not the only place you’ll find locks in a retail store. They’re also used in security cables, shelves, dressing rooms and even cash registers.

Locks may seem like a pretty basic solution, but they sure get the job done.


Have you ever been to a store that constantly played a doorbell type sound whenever a customer entered and left? That’s actually another kind of anti-theft device that you can use in yours. You see, the sound does not only call your staff’s and security team’s attention to anyone who passes through your store’s doors, it also lets would-be shoplifters know that you are paying attention to them – and if you were a thief, drawing attention to yourself is that last thing you want to do.

A good inventory management software

If you’re not clear as to what items are in your store (and stockroom), then how will you know when something goes missing? This is where inventory management software comes in. It allows you to easily account for each and every product that you have so you can check for any discrepancies at any time.

Anti-shoplifting signage

Sometimes, all it takes is a little warning to keep thieves at bay. A simple “shoplifters will be prosecuted” sign works wonders in this case. By letting would-be shoplifters know of the potential legal consequences of their plan, you effectively force them to think twice about actually going through with it.

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Of course, more seasoned thieves would simply ignore these things, but that doesn’t change the fact that this simple solution does help reduce the number of thefts in your store.


Speaking of simple solutions, there are very few that can beat mirrors in terms of simplicity-to-effectiveness ratio. Again, shoplifters don’t want attention, and mirrors, just like CCTV cameras, make them feel like they’re constantly being watched.

Another benefit of installing mirrors in your store is that they give your staff and security team improved visibility, especially of areas that would otherwise be hidden from view. This way, your team won’t have to work as hard to monitor the store for any suspicious activity.

Package counters

Again, one common trick shoplifters use is to bring a big bag into a store and then simply throw unpaid merchandise into it. You can easily prevent it by requiring all your customers to surrender such items before going in to shop.

The best thing about this solution is that you can angle it in such a way that it appears as if you’re promoting shopper convenience – which is actually one of its benefits – instead of protecting your wares from thieves.

On a related note, instruct your cashiers to also check items with packaging that appears to have been tampered with, because as we’ve seen in the beginning of this article, instead of using a bag, some shoplifters hide expensive stolen merchandise inside the packaging of cheaper items. Long story short, taking their bags away does not necessarily mean that they won’t be able to steal from you.

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Properly positioned payment counters

Lastly, by positioning your payment counters close to your store’s entry and exit points, you effectively put your staff in a better position to monitor everyone that comes in and goes out. It also gives shoplifters a more difficult time bringing unpaid items out because they are forced to pass by your staff to get to the exit.

So, should you use all of them?

If you have the money and all of these solutions work with the type of merchandise that you sell, then it would be a good idea to invest in as many of them as you can. Keep in mind that the more security measures you put in place, the harder it becomes for would-be shoplifters to commit a theft. Unfortunately, in most cases, retailers are forced to work within limited budgets, and, in reality, not all of these security devices work with all types of products.

How, then, do you know which one to choose? Well, it all boils down to striking a balance between what your store needs and how much money you have to spend. Of course, unless you’re a master of retail security, you would need to hire an expert to study your store and come up with a recommendation based on their findings. It’s the best way to ensure that you’ll get maximum value for your investment.

At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to keeping your store safe from shoplifters, and practically any solution you choose would cost you some money. But considering just how much more money you stand to lose by leaving your store vulnerable to thieves, having good security measures in place is definitely a worthwhile investment.

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What type of theft is most common in retail establishments? ›

Shoplifting is the most common type of theft in the retail industry. It involves stealing items from a store without paying for them. Shoplifters often steal small items that they can conceal easily, such as clothing or cosmetics. Employee theft is when employees steal merchandise or money from their employer.

What is the best deterrent for shop stealing? ›

10 effective ways to prevent shoplifting in your retail store:
  • Keep your store organized and tidy.
  • Know common shoplifting tactics.
  • Optimize your store's layout.
  • Install security cameras.
  • Add mirrors to your store.
  • Use customer service as prevention.
  • Use signage to deter thieves.
  • Train your employees.
18 May 2022

What should be installed on a device to avoid theft? ›

For both PCs and laptops, use cable locks or even security webcams. When you can't tie down smaller, more portable devices (tablet computer, USB flash drive or external hard drive), keep them out of sight when you're away from them.

Does aluminum foil stop security tags? ›

Although it may sound too simple to be true, yes, you can stop the alarm from going off by covering the tags with a conductive material. The aluminum foil bag example in the beginning works because of a concept called 'electromagnetic shielding'.

What are the two main types of retail theft? ›

Types of retail crime
  • Shoplifting is a common crime committed against retail business. ...
  • Money fraud is when criminals use an illegal method to pay for goods. ...
  • Checkout fraud includes a number of tactics where criminals avoid paying in full for goods when paying at the tills.

What are examples of retail theft? ›

Consuming goods inside a store and then leaving without purchasing those items (e.g., loose candy in a candy store, food in a grocery store, drinks in a convenience store, etc.).

How can we prevent theft in the store? ›

How to Reduce Theft in Your Retail Store
  1. Installing security cameras.
  2. Using security mirrors.
  3. Installing entrance alert sensors.
  4. Training employees.
  5. Posting signage.
  6. Keeping the store organized.

How can retailers prevent external theft? ›

Here we will take a look at five of the best retail theft prevention tips for your business:
  1. Identify the Source of Your Losses. ...
  2. Use a Well-trained Staff. ...
  3. Lay Out & Merchandise Your Store to Deter Theft. ...
  4. Install Signs & Mirrors. ...
  5. Adopt Security Technology.
17 May 2022

How can small businesses prevent theft? ›

10 steps to help prevent employee theft
  1. Practice proper bookkeeping. ...
  2. Monitor retail transactions. ...
  3. Track inventory closely. ...
  4. Count-in, count-out cash. ...
  5. Review all petty cash. ...
  6. Actively participate in the business. ...
  7. Offer meals and discounts to deter theft and boost morale. ...
  8. Watch and listen.

How do stores detect stolen items? ›

Anti-shoplifting alarms use a technology called RF (radio-frequency), while a similar (but more advanced) technology called RFID (radio-frequency identification) has many other uses, from tracking pets and public library stocktaking to collecting fares from bus passengers.

What are the detectors in stores called? ›

Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS)

There are many types of EAS devices you can use like tags, labels, antennas, spider tags and more. They use a combination of radio frequency, electromagnetic technology, sensors, metal detectors to prevent theft.

What are five tips for preventing computer theft? ›

5 steps to protect your data in case of computer theft
  • Lock your computer with a strong and unique password. ...
  • Safeguard all passwords. ...
  • Consistently lock your screen when you step away. ...
  • Encrypt your hard drive. ...
  • Regularly back up your encrypted hard drive to another location.
7 Dec 2015

Why should you wrap your doorknob in aluminum foil when you're alone? ›

All it says is aluminum foil can be used as an alternative to tape to cover doorknobs and hardware while painting. It has nothing to do with safety and the inclusion of the phrase "when you're home alone" was only used as clickbait to make the ad seem more important. Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc.

Why should you wrap foil around the doorknob? ›

Wrap foil over sink handles and doorknobs to avoid fingerprints.

Why would you wrap your doorknob with aluminum foil? ›

When you're doing home renovation, wrap aluminum foil around your door handles to keep them paint-free. The foil is easy to shape around any doorknob and can be tossed when it gets dirty.

What is store theft? ›

Organized Retail Theft is characterized by organized criminal rings that steal property with the intent to sell and distribute, or return stolen merchandise for value. Organized Retail Theft takes many forms—from coordinated thefts of specific goods to orchestrated, brazen attacks on local retailers.

What is the most common type of employee theft? ›

Money theft: This is the most common type of employee theft. Businesses that mainly deal with cash, such as retail, are more prone to theft of cash. This can occur when employees make a sale and keep the cash or overcharge customers and use the difference for personal purposes.

What are the 3 types of shrink? ›

Most people don't realize there are four different types of shrink in retail.
Understanding how shrinkage happens in retail stores is the first step in reducing and preventing it.
  • Shoplifting. ...
  • Employee Theft. ...
  • Administrative Errors. ...
  • Fraud. ...
  • Operational Loss.

How does organized retail theft work? ›

ORC typically involves a criminal enterprise employing a group of individuals who steal large quantities of merchandise from a number of stores and a fencing operation that converts the stolen goods into cash. Stolen items can be sold through online auction sites, at flea markets and even to other retailers.

What is operational theft? ›

Description. Adversaries may steal operational information on a production environment as a direct mission outcome for personal gain or to inform future operations. This information may include design documents, schedules, rotational data, or similar artifacts that provide insight on operations.

What percent of retail theft is internal? ›

Here's an overview of the top video surveillance strategies retailers can use to thwart theft attempts: Operational error: damage from handling, spillage and vendor errors (such as delivery shortages) account for about 21 percent of losses. Internal theft: employee theft accounts for about 30 percent of losses.

How you will identify the customer theft? ›

Look for tell-tale signs.

Tell employees to look for shoppers with large coats or loose clothing. Other tools of the trade include closed umbrellas where smaller items can easily be slipped in, baby strollers, and shopping bags from other stores.

What methods do shoplifters use? ›

9 Common Shoplifting Techniques Authorities Watch For
  • Concealing items. ...
  • Walking out. ...
  • Metal bags. ...
  • Switching tags. ...
  • Unwrapping items. ...
  • Causing a disruption. ...
  • Inside jobs. ...
  • Phony returns.
25 Aug 2015

How do you deal with shoplifters interview question? ›

How to Answer. When the interviewer asks what you'd do after seeing a coworker stealing, you should explain that you would avoid a confrontation in the moment, but then report the theft to your direct manager or boss as soon as possible (the same day that you saw the theft is best).

Why do people steal from stores? ›

According to Psychology Today, people may shoplift for various reasons with most of them not relating at all to a lack of money or a need for the item being taken. A couple common reasons include an addiction to stealing and a mental disorder that encourages the behavior.

What is the most effective means of reducing employee theft? ›

Audits and reporting

“If you can't prevent it, audit and monitor to identify the problem early,” Benard said. Regular audits can catch theft and fraud early, so the amount of damage is reduced. Like cameras, regular audits can be preventative because employees know they won't get away with fraud for long.

How do you stop employees from stealing tools? ›

6 Ways To Keep Employees From Stealing From You
  1. Conduct a Background Check. ...
  2. Create a Zero-Tolerance Policy. ...
  3. Develop Solid Relationships with Your Employees. ...
  4. Design a System of Checks And Balances. ...
  5. Invest in a Point of Sale System. ...
  6. Set Up an Easy Way for Employees to Report Theft.
7 May 2021

How do you catch a shoplifter? ›

Other tell-tale signs of shoplifters include:
  1. Wearing large coats or baggy clothes.
  2. Avoiding eye contact.
  3. Watching the staff, not the merchandise.
  4. Seeking shelter in dressing rooms to stash smuggled merchandise.
  5. Lurking in corners.
  6. Taking advantage of stores during peak hours.

How do stores find shoplifters? ›

Many stores have surveillance cameras designed to capture footage of shoplifters. If you were able to leave the store without being caught, you may not be as safe as you think.

Will a magnet set off store security? ›

Yes, magnets set off store alarms. Therefore, there are unexpected situations where the alarm goes off. For example, if the customer hasn't stolen anything but the alarm goes off, the customer may unknowingly carry magnets. However, without theft detectors, security tokens would be useless.

Do the sensors at stores work? ›

Yes, the scanners work. They work very well. There are several types electronic article surveillance (EAS), acousto-magnetic (AM), radio frequency (RF), RFID , and more being developed every day.

How do retail security tags work? ›

They work by emitting a loud sound when the item is removed from the store without being deactivated by a store employee. This sound alerts store staff and deters potential thieves from attempting to steal the merchandise. Retail security tags are an effective way to reduce shrinkage and protect store inventory.

What are the different types of security tags? ›

Security tags can be broadly broken down into three main categories: electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags, visual deterrent tags and benefit denial.

What are security tips? ›

General Security Tips for Homeowners
  • Always close and lock garage doors and windows.
  • Be alert for unusual activities. ...
  • Be careful about admitting strangers. ...
  • Do not keep valuable items near windows with open drapes.
  • Empty your mailbox or have someone empty it for you.

How do you ensure security? ›

Here are some practical steps you can take today to tighten up your data security.
  1. Back up your data. ...
  2. Use strong passwords. ...
  3. Take care when working remotely. ...
  4. Be wary of suspicious emails. ...
  5. Install anti-virus and malware protection. ...
  6. Don't leave paperwork or laptops unattended. ...
  7. Make sure your Wi-Fi is secure.
8 Aug 2022

How do you secure information? ›

5 simple steps to protect your personal information online
  1. Stop giving away your personal information.
  2. Check your mobile app permissions.
  3. Review your security and privacy settings.
  4. Use passphrases.
  5. Use Antivirus software and install the latest software patches.

What does a rubber band on your front door mean? ›

If You Spot A Rubber Band On Your Front Door Handle, DON ... - YouTube

What happens when you wrap your feet in aluminum foil for 1 hour? ›

Wrap Aluminum Foil around your Feet and WATCH WHAT HAPPENS ...

Why put a ball of aluminum foil in the dishwasher? ›

The aluminum in the foil oxidizes with the detergents in the dishwasher soap. This oxidation helps to remove tarnish stains on your silverware,' says Maegan and Stefan Bucur from Rhythm of the Home (opens in new tab).

What is the aluminum foil trick? ›

The hot foil trick is a magic trick in which the magician places a small piece of tin or aluminium foil in a volunteer's hand, and the foil begins to rapidly increase in temperature until the volunteer has to drop it to avoid scalding their hand, and the foil is reduced to ashes on the ground.

What happens when you wrap a magnet in aluminum foil? ›

Answer: The magnet falls much more slowly when it's falling through a thick roll of aluminium foil.

Why do people put foil on their stove? ›

It prevents any oil splatter or other types of spills from baking in to the stove top.

Can I put aluminum foil in an air fryer? ›

It is absolutely safe to use aluminum foil in your air fryer. In fact, it can make cooking with the air fryer easier.

What is the most common type of employee theft? ›

Money theft: This is the most common type of employee theft. Businesses that mainly deal with cash, such as retail, are more prone to theft of cash. This can occur when employees make a sale and keep the cash or overcharge customers and use the difference for personal purposes.

What percent of retail theft is internal? ›

Here's an overview of the top video surveillance strategies retailers can use to thwart theft attempts: Operational error: damage from handling, spillage and vendor errors (such as delivery shortages) account for about 21 percent of losses. Internal theft: employee theft accounts for about 30 percent of losses.

What is the difference between internal and external theft? ›

Internal theft is when an employee steals from their company, while external theft is someone outside the business stealing from the company.

What are examples of external theft? ›

External Theft is most often caused by shoplifting, break-ins, robberies or other acts by persons with no connection to the store.

How do you stop employees from stealing from customers? ›

Here's some advice that you can give your clients to help them prevent employee theft.
  1. Practice proper bookkeeping. ...
  2. Monitor retail transactions. ...
  3. Track inventory closely. ...
  4. Count-in, count-out cash. ...
  5. Review all petty cash. ...
  6. Actively participate in the business. ...
  7. Offer meals and discounts to deter theft and boost morale.

What is the main cause of theft? ›

Stealing may be caused by jealousy, low self-esteem, or peer-pressure. Social issues like feeling excluded or overlooked can also cause stealing. People may steal to prove their independence, to act out against family or friends, or because they don't respect others or themselves.

How do you handle an employee who steals? ›

What should you do if you suspect an employee of theft?
  1. Ask the employee to explain.
  2. Ask the employee to take a polygraph test.
  3. Decide whether to: press criminal charges. seek restitution. discipline the employee. fire the employee.

How do retailers prevent theft? ›

Some of the most common retail theft prevention methods for small businesses are to station customer checkouts near the entrance/exit, position mirrors and security cameras or CCTVs within the premises, and post signages about the consequences of theft.

Who steals more employees or shoplifters? ›

Employee theft made up 43.9% of the total loss. And shoplifting made up 35.7%. Employee theft continues to cause more losses than shoplifting.

How much do retailers lose to theft? ›

According to the National Retail Federation, organized retail theft accounts for an estimated 30 billion dollars in economic loss each year nationwide or, in other words, on average, organized retail crime costs retailers on average 700,000 dollars per 1 billion dollars in sales every year.

How can small businesses prevent theft? ›

10 steps to help prevent employee theft
  1. Practice proper bookkeeping. ...
  2. Monitor retail transactions. ...
  3. Track inventory closely. ...
  4. Count-in, count-out cash. ...
  5. Review all petty cash. ...
  6. Actively participate in the business. ...
  7. Offer meals and discounts to deter theft and boost morale. ...
  8. Watch and listen.

What is employee theft called? ›

Internal theft also is referred to as employee theft, pilferage, embezzlement, fraud, stealing, peculation, and defalcation. Employee theft is stealing by employees from their employers.

What is it called when an employee steals from a company? ›

Embezzlement occurs when someone steals or misappropriates money or property from an employer, business partner, or another person who trusted the embezzler with the asset.

What is theft called in retail? ›

Shoplifting is the theft of goods from an open retail establishment, typically by concealing a store item on one's person, in pockets, under clothes, or in a bag, and leaving the store without paying. With clothing, shoplifters may put on items from the store and leave the store wearing the clothes.

What is asset protection in retail? ›

Retail loss prevention (also known as Retail asset protection) is a set of practices employed by retail companies to preserve profit. Profit preservation is any business activity specifically designed to reduce preventable losses.

What are 5 methods of loss prevention? ›

5 Loss Prevention Tools You Should Have
  • Staff Awareness Training. ...
  • Prevention Methods using Technology. ...
  • Management Training for Internal Theft. ...
  • Strive for Operational Excellence. ...
  • Auditing.


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