7 Signs of A Potential Shoplifter

As the owner or manager of a retail establishment, you have a lot on your plate. Undoubtedly, one of your top concerns is the security of your employees, customers and merchandise. Theft is an unfortunate reality in the retail industry. According to the National Retail Federation, inventory shrink has cost United States retailers $48.6 billion, with the average shoplifting incident costing $559. 

Statistics like these are alarming and continue to worry the retail industry despite the events of the last year. Big-box retailers and grocery stores alike have seen increases in the amount of theft activity taking place. If you own or manage a brick and mortar store, there are a number of strategies you can use to help reduce the number of thefts in your establishment. 

From training employees to hiring professional security guards, you can take the power away from thieves and protect what matters most to your business. Read on to learn how professional retail security guards from Off Duty Officers identify suspicious behavior to nab would-be thieves before they get away with their crimes. Then, train your employees to recognize these behaviors so they too can work to prevent shoplifting at your business. 

7 Signs of A Potential Shoplifter 

Displaying Avoidance Behaviors 

One of the keys to identifying a shoplifter is to have a thorough knowledge of body language. Suspicious body language is often the first and most obvious clue that a crime is about to be committed. Look for customers who avoid making eye contact, fidget, look around or who otherwise appear nervous. 

Wearing Multiple Layers of Clothing 

Another possible sign of a shoplifter is when a customer wears more clothing than is appropriate for the weather or indoor temperature conditions. Large jackets or coats can be perfect places to hide smaller merchandise and clothing without being detected. 

Carrying Multiple Bags 

Another possible sign that someone entering your store has bad intentions is when they carry multiple bags or large bags into your establishment. While a few shopping bags is normal for your everyday shopper, it should be a red flag when someone enters the store with a duffle bag, luggage or backpack.

Paying Frequent Visits to Your Store 

Seasoned shoplifters rarely commit their crime without staking out the target first. Be aware of people who enter the store on multiple occasions without making a purchase. You may also notice a person who visits the store more than once and appears to be looking around to assess the locations of security cameras, employees and exit points. 

Distracting Behaviors

A common tactic of a shoplifter is to create a distraction that will move staff away from them so they have the time and space to pocket the items. Be on the lookout for a customer who asks a lot of questions or has a request that will take the employee away from the scene. For example, they may ask a staff member to check in the back for an item that is out of stock. 

Making a Fast Exit 

Once they perpetrate their crime, most shoplifters want to get out of there fast. They may walk very quickly toward the exit without making eye contact with staff or other customers. Often they will attempt to conceal their faces so they cannot be identified by pulling up their hood or looking down at the floor. 

Groups that Split Up 

Finally, be aware of groups that enter the store together but split up once inside. This may be a sign that your store is about to be targeted by multiple offenders. Split groups can also be a way to create a distraction so that one person in the group can commit the theft. 

Prevent Theft in Your Retail Business 

Theft is a real problem that can cost businesses of all sizes a considerable amount of money. By helping your staff to be aware of common signs of a potential shoplifter, you can help them prevent crimes from occurring in the first place. 

However, even with proper training, your staff may not be able to prevent theft while they are performing their job. Security guards who are dedicated to your business and skilled at loss prevention techniques can be your greatest defense. 

If you are looking for reliable, qualified loss prevention security guards, contact Off Duty Officers today to learn more about our services. With extensive experience in the industry and a reputation that puts us above the competition, Off Duty Officers can be your trusted partner for shoplifting deterrence. 

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