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Retail Businesses

Help Prevent Theft and Other Crimes

  • Greet each customer entering the store.  If busy with a customer, acknowledge other customers with “I’ll be with you in a moment”.  Let them know you are aware of them.
  • Be aware of customers or strangers who arrive together, but separate from each other. It is a common strategy for one subject to distract staff while another subject commits a theft, sometimes even going into the back room.
  • Keep purses, wallets, keys, or other valuables with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet. Never leave purses in customer areas or even in an unlocked back room.
  • The cash register should be inaccessible to customers, locked, and monitored at all times.
  • Cash control policy - Keep the lowest possible amount of cash on the premises.  Consider posting a notice such as $100 Maximum Cash in Register.
  • Develop a call-around phone list with nearby businesses to share information, such as a suspicious customer that was just in a store and may be visiting other stores.
  • Inspect all closets, bathrooms and other hiding places before closing.

Credit Card Fraud

  • Be skeptical of customers with only one credit card and one piece of ID.
  • Examine the signature strip on the card; has the signature strip been covered over?
  • Compare the signature on the card with the customer’s signature.

Check Fraud

  • Pay close attention to a check’s appearance, telltale signs include:
    • No perforation on check edges
    • Apparently altered writing or erasures
    • Water spots or alterations of check’s color or graphic background
    • Numbered under 500 (new account)
    • Post-dated
    • Glossy ink rather than the dull finish of printer’s ink
    • Printed letters are same font and size (looks like made on a PC)
  • Signature does not match imprinted name and ID.

Shoplifting Prevention

  • Greet each person entering store as described above.
  • Keep the store neat and orderly.
  • Use mirrors to eliminate "blind spots" in corners that might hide shoplifters.
  • Merchandise should be kept away from store exits to prevent grab-and-run situations.
  • Keep expensive merchandise in locked cases. Limit the number of items employees remove at any one time for customers to examine. Do not handle other customers while items are out of the case. Double-teaming thieves will attempt to distract the clerk while the other steals the merchandise.
  • Design the exits of the business so all persons must pass by security personnel or store employees or security cameras.
  • Dressing rooms and rest rooms should be watched at all times. Keep dressing rooms locked and limit the number of items taken in.
  • Develop a warning system, such as a code word or phrase to alert other staff when a suspected shoplifter is in the store.
  • At checkout, look inside items such as boxes that could conceal other merchandise.

Bank Deposits

  • Make deposits during daylight hours when possible.
  • Disguise your cash bag inside a backpack, paper sack, etc.
  • Vary times of cash deposits/withdrawals.
  • Vary routes if possible.
  • Go directly to the bank, no other stops.
  • If possible travel to the bank with another person.
  • Stay alert to your surroundings.

Security Cameras

  • The number and placement of cameras should provide adequate coverage and detail in the monitored area.
  • Camera placement is critical.
    • Views of the tops of people’s heads are of little value.
    • Install at least one interior camera for every exit.
    • Exit cameras should be aimed toward the interior of the facility, and each one should be located where it can obtain an unobstructed frontal view of the head and shoulders of everyone exiting the location.
    • The most useful camera position is a covert door frame mount that records facial views of all persons leaving the location.
  • The system should record in a standard file format that does not require proprietary hardware or software to be viewed by law enforcement.
  • The system should store video for at least 7 days, preferably 30 days.
  • Have a policy on authorized staff members who can access the system.
  • Regularly test the system to ensure proper function.
  • More CCTV recommendations available at fbi.gov