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Spot the Shoplifter

You never know who is going to shoplift, because all types of people do it -- young and old, male and female, rich and poor, shabby and well-dressed, black and white, and so on. The most important thing about detecting shoplifters is this:

Look at how people dress, act, and move, and what they carry,
NOT their age, sex, or skin color.

What should make you suspicious? What shouldn't you be concerned about? Some of these things are listed below. Click on the ones with links to learn more about shoplifting techniques.

Dress Act Move Carry
Be vary suspicious of customers who
  • leave an area of your store very quickly
  • walk funny, tug at a sleeve, adjust socks, rub the back of their neck, or make other odd movements that might help in hiding items
  • keep their hands down low to conceal items
  • reach into a display counter or walk behind a sales counter
  • keep one hand in an outer coat pocket all the time
  • move quickly from displays to the fitting rooms
  • are carrying wrinkled or dirty shopping bags (known as "bad bags"), plastic garbage bags or backpacks
  • take a lot of garments into the fitting room at once
  • take more than one garment of a particular pattern into the fitting room at once
  • are carrying a large open purse
  • are carrying cash in their hands

Watch more carefully customers who

  • don't seem to know what they want and interchange articles frequently
  • are shopping right after opening or right before closing
  • are carrying bags, bundles, boxes, coats slung over arms, briefcases, newspapers, umbrellas, or have an arm in a sling

Don't worry so much about customers who

  • are dressed for the weather
  • are wearing tight-fitting clothing where it would be difficult to hide anything
  • aren't carrying anything

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