Theft is like a wound: it needs to be watched, tended, and prevented. With modern adaptations like electronic coupons, mobile gift cards, and online purchases, thievery is taking a new turn. They’ve become bolder with their tactics. Are you aware of these changes?

Scare Thieves Away from Your Store

We may have come up with deterrents for the traditional thief, but a new kind of enemy has come to light with the rise of high-tech shopping tactics. There’s a kind of veracity that is needed to chase away potential thieves. The first step is to be aware of how they’re stealing, and what you can do to avoid it. Prevent theft in your store and protect your investments!


Traditional receipts are printed out at the time of purchase, and can be monitored by your POS system. They are unique and less tempting to copy or clone. Digital receipts (or e-receipts) are a new technique that some stores have begun to use. Unfortunately, there’s a risk associated with this paper-saving process.

Digital receipts are easy to copy, which means the thief may end up with multiple receipts for an item. This increases the risk of theft and return errors. The best way to prevent a digital receipt theft is to include a barcode in the emailed receipt that links the transaction to your POS system. The more ways to make a record of the transaction, the better!


Coupons are everywhere nowadays. They’re in your store ads, customer emails, and at the ends of receipts. Recently, online or emailed coupons have been on the rise.

While they’re good incentive to bring more business to your store, there is a risk related to online coupons. They are easy to clone and counterfeit, which makes them an awfully tempting target for thieves.

How do you make sure this kind of theft doesn’t occur? Choose a service that creates random codes for the coupons, or one that is integrated with your POS system. If the code has been used once, make sure it won’t be used again!

Another way is to only allow one coupon per transaction, which prevents an overuse of the discount.

Gift Cards

Many of us are familiar with traditional gift cards. The plastic cards have a code (hopefully with a scratch-off spot to cover it!) on the back, and are activated when money is put on the card. A new method of distributing these gifts is through email and other online means.

As with other online options, gift cards are also at a risk of being copied or misused. A risk for the plastic cards comes from thieves copying the code on the back of the card and calling to check when the card is activated. This risks having the money spent by someone other than the card’s rightful owner.

Prevent this gift card theft by keeping your plastic cards in an easily watched area by your check stand, and by using the scratch-off portion to hide the codes. For online gift cards, use a service that integrates into your POS system or is easily tracked.


Barcodes are essential to scan and record purchase, read pricing, and label products. While we may be familiar with them, not all of us are aware of the risk that comes along with them.

Thieves can copy and print cheaper prices for products. If the price doesn’t seem right, there’s nothing wrong with taking an extra minute to double check! Be sure to tell your employees about this theft, and let them know that a price check can save money and prevent theft.

Online Orders

While it may be convenient to allow customers to order from your store through an online service, it can be risky if you don’t take the right precautions. Every purchase made should be redeemed with some form of identification at pickup, whether it is with a printed receipt from their email or actual ID. This lessens the risk of identity theft, or handing out an on-hold item to a thief instead of your rightful customer.

Prevent Theft

Whether it is through coupons, receipts, or online orders, you can protect your store. Defend your investments from the grab-and-take thief, the barcode manipulator, and any other kind of shoplifter that threatens your business. Keep yourself up to date with modern technologies, and be aware of the risks they pose before using them in your store. Be sure your customers are aware of your theft policies.

As always, keep your employees aware of theft. Use cameras and other methods of spotting theft (such as excellent customer service) throughout your store, and keep an eye on your valuable investments. The more deterrents to keep people from stealing, the better! Prevent theft in your store by playing smart, and by learning about risks before using a high-tech discount.

Inspired by: “The Thief You Can’t See” by Amanda Bell (