Many people do not realize how common shoplifting really is. Chances are that you think that there are not many people who are bold enough to walk into a store, teeming with employees, and brightly lit, and just take something. However, shoplifting is more common than ever and each year costs the retail industry over $30 billion in losses. Here are some tips for spotting a shoplifter in retail stores.


How To Spot a Shoplifter


Look for Out-of-Place Shoppers


First, look for any shoppers that seem a bit out of place. If your typical customers are women in their 30s, a group of teenagers or a young twenty-something should throw up a red flag.


Look for Big Bags


Anyone carrying a large bag, whether it’s a backpack, a huge purse, or a reusable grocery bag, is the next red sign. Typically, shoplifters try to take as much items as possible. Most shoplifters physically stuff as much as they can into their pockets. It is frequently a pretty quick operation. Shoplifters almost never browse. They come in and depart swiftly.


Look for Groups


Groups are the next red indicator. Shoplifters typically travel with a lifter and a distractor, and in some cases, numerous distractors. So, if two people come in, one will distract the manager or associate by asking for specific sizes of an item, directions, or other time-consuming queries, while the lifter is busy shoplifting. They both run when the lifter is finished.

Other Signs of a Shoplifter Include:


  • Wearing bulky coats or baggy clothing
  • Avoiding direct eye contact
  • Keeping an eye on the staff rather than the merchandise
  • Seeking refuge in dressing rooms to conceal smuggled goods
  • Lurking in the shadows
  • Taking advantage of peak hours in stores
  • Walking in short, unnatural strides (a tip-off that customers may be hiding merchandise between their legs)
  • Carrying a professional tool arsenal, bulky packages, pocketbooks, baby carriages, knitting bags, and so on.
  • Persisting at one location, especially if it is near a store’s exit