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5 Ways to Prevent Self-Checkout Theft

August 13, 2018

home improvement storeSelf-checkout systems in retail stores speed up the customers’ shopping experience and reduce the store’s labor costs. Those systems, however, have become targets for shoplifters who devise ways to bypass them in order to steal products from stores. Maryland Security Professionals can work with your retail outlet to improve the efficiency of the self-checkout process while reducing theft losses associated with those systems. Here are five methods to improve the integrity of the self-checkout process.

1. Self-Checkout Theft Reduction with Technology

Every retail store with self-checkout lanes already uses technology to verify that customers are scanning every item in their shopping carts, and that scanned bar codes match the items that are passed over a scanner. Scales, for example, might verify that the product’s weight is consistent with its bar code. This basic technology will not prevent techniques such as the “banana scam”, however, in which a thief uses a bar code for a lower priced item to steal a more expensive item that has a similar weight. Advanced software and artificial intelligence systems are beginning to counteract these deceptions.

2. “Eye in the Sky” Video Surveillance

For many years, banks and casinos have used camera surveillance with live video feeds that are continuously monitored by advanced software systems and security employees. The online retail giant, Amazon, has taken this concept to its next level in its cashier-less Go stores, which feature multiple security and surveillance cameras that capture product images and match purchasers with the items they are buying. These next-generation video surveillance systems are expected to make a significant dent in self-checkout theft.

3. Self-Checkout Employee Intervention

A single retail store employee can monitor four to six self-checkout lanes to assist shoppers and to limit or prevent theft and losses from self-checkout fraud. The mere presence of a human monitor can be enough to prevent all but the most brazen and determined of thieves. The effectiveness of a self-checkout employee monitor will be significantly improved when that employee has been trained by security specialists like those at Maryland Security Professionals, who can teach them to identify attempted self-checkout thefts.

4. Private Self-Checkout Security Personnel

Where theft losses are significant, a retail store might consider hiring outside personnel to monitor activities in self-checkout lanes. This can either be a temporary solution, or a permanent staffing option that creates a better impression of a store’s commitment to security. A retail store’s reduction in theft losses with this solution will readily justify the economics of retaining third-party security personnel.

5. RFID and Real Time Point of Sale Item Scans

In the very near future, point of sale self-checkout systems could maintain a tally of every item that a purchaser places in a shopping cart, and then add up the cost of those items before the shopper arrives at a checkout lane. This might be accomplished with advanced facial and item recognition software, radio frequency ID (RFID) tags of every item, and interconnected mobile payment technology.

Prevent Retail Theft with Maryland Security Professionals

Maryland Security Professionals provides employee training, security personnel and video surveillance systems for retail stores that want to prevent shoplifting in Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland and throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Our loss prevention experts can help to improve the integrity and security of your self-checkout systems. For more information and to schedule a free security audit of your store, call us today!

Additional Resources:

  1. TheAtlantic.com: The Banana Trick and Other Acts of Self-Checkout Thievery. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/stealing-from-self-checkout/550940/
  2. Berkeley.edu: Future of Self Checkout – A Landscape Study. https://scet.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/UCB-ELPP-Future-of-Self-Checkout-Report.pdf
  3. TechCrunch.com: Inside Amazon’s Surveillance-Powered, No-Checkout Convenience Store. https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/21/inside-amazons-surveillance-powered-no-checkout-convenience-store/
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