We often see complex-looking security tags on expensive items in retail operations and commonly in clothing stores. They have been around for a long time, but how effective are they and have shoplifters figured out ways to bypass them? Let’s take a closer look at security tag technology.

First of all, there are several different types of technology used in electronic article surveillance (EAS). These include magnetic strips, which are commonly used in libraries; acousto-magnetic strips that are similar but offer better reliability; radio frequency identification systems, which can only be deactivated by damaging them; and disposable hard source tags that are designed around the philosophy of “benefit denial” by destroying an item’s usefulness. This is often accomplished by attaching a dye pack to clothing.

Unfortunately, even though retailers spend a lot of time and energy planning their loss prevention strategies and technologies, petty criminals are often skilled at defeating these measures. Several online forums regularly trade techniques for circumventing security tags and other loss prevention measures. A determined thief will find a way.

Studies estimate that there are 27 million shoplifters in the United States alone. However, if retailers are diligent about their loss prevention strategy, explore best practices advised by experts, train employees properly and implement an advanced video surveillance system boosted by analytics and business intelligence, their efforts are far more likely to deter potential thieves and disarm employees who are considering using their inside knowledge for financial gain.