Dealing with Shoplifters

Loss experts agree that a crucial way to prevent shoplifting is to have well-trained and alert employees. They all need to know how to spot a potential shoplifter. Clues include the customer who:

  • Seems nervous
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Wanders the store without buying anything
  • Baggy clothing or backpacks used to conceal items
  • Leaves the store and returns repeatedly within a short period of time
  • Lingers in a location where they are hard to see
  • Constantly looks around and keeps an eye on store employees in particular

In addition to training your employees to spot shoplifters, general shoplifting-prevention techniques include:

  • Staying alert at all times
  • Being friendly and polite to all customers
  • Asking customers if they need help
  • Keeping the business location neat, clean and orderly
  • Knowing where shoplifting is most likely to occur in the location
  • Using a log to share suspicions about shoplifters among employees
  • Displaying signs announcing that shoplifters will be prosecuted

When shoplifting is suspected, it's crucial for your employees to know how to handle incidents. Police departments recommend that retail employees:

  • Never directly accuse anyone of stealing
  • Give the person a chance to pay for the item they "forgot" to pay for by asking, "Are you ready to pay for that?" or "Would you like a bag for that?"
  • Never try to physically stop a shoplifter. Call Security. 
  • Cooperate fully with center security and/or the police.
  • Cooperate fully with the prosecutor if/when the time comes.

We offer loss prevention, secret shopping, and customer service training to Retail Managers and Loss Prevention Officers to ensure the arrest is lawful and the accused is dealt with safely and according to Canadian Criminal Code.  Learn more about employee theft, ways employee steal, integrity testing and screening.


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