Recognizing Return Fraud

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “Recognizing Return Fraud.” For more information please visit

Does your return policy allow stolen merchandise to be returned for cash? We certainly hope not! However, the National Retail Federation’s Return Fraud Survey says criminals often take advantage of retailers with relaxed return policies.

The survey reports that an astonishing 95.2% of retailers have experienced this most popular form of return fraud in the past year. While many retailers are tightening policies, some at the expense of customer service, the retail industry will still lose $9.6 billion in return fraud.

customer_countershutterstock_small_139495382Common Types of Return Fraud

The first step to avoid becoming a victim is to be able to recognize the scam. Some of the more common types of return fraud are:

  • The return of stolen merchandise
  • The return of merchandise purchased with fraudulent or counterfeit tender
  • The return of used merchandise
  • The return of merchandise using counterfeit receipts

Signs of Return Fraud

Spotting the above types of return fraud may be difficult for some retailers. Other signs the retail store is being adversely affected by returns are:

  • High shrink rate
  • Dramatic increase in number of returns
  • Return policy not being enforced
  • Increasing number of markdowns due to returns

Read on to learn how to create a fair, but firm return policy.

What to Do After a Tornado – Part 5

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “Tornadoes.” For more information please visit

Inspecting the Damage

  • After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
  • In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions.inspectshutterstock_small_15356800
  • If it is dark when you are inspecting your home, use a flashlight rather than a candle or torch to avoid the risk of fire or explosion in a damaged home.
  • If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal’s office and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until you are told it is safe to do so.

Safety During Clean Up

  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves.
  • Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids and other potentially hazardous materials.

How to Report Employee Shoplifting in the Workplace – Part 2

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “How to Report Employee Shoplifting in the Workplace.” For more information please visit

Report Shoplifting in the Workplace

  • Tell a security guard or loss prevention officer if your workplace has a shoplifter. Allowing a member of the security team to handle the situation will be much easier for you and protect you from the claims of false arrest or false imprisonment that sometimes occur in shoplifting cases.
  • Report the suspected shoplifting to a supervisor. Pointing out the situation to a supervisor is another way of doing your part without getting involved in an investigation. Usually, fellow employees are considered unreliable witnesses when shoplifting goes to trial, so the supervisor must follow proper protocol for establishing guilt.
  • woman_phoneshutterstock_87959389Send an anonymous letter to your place of employment if you want to limit your involvement in the investigation. Detail your suspicions in the letter and mail it to your supervisor or the head of workplace security.
  • Call your company’s hotline, if it provides one. Many businesses, especially large chains, have a hotline you can call to report coworker theft.
  • Know your rights as an employee and what you do and do not have to report. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention is a good resource for learning about shoplifting prevention strategies in the workplace.

What to Do After a Tornado – Part 4

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “Tornadoes.” For more information please visit

General Safety Precautions – Continued

  • generator_useNever use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage or camper – or even outside near an open window, door or vent. Carbon monoxide (CO) – an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if you breathe it – from these sources can build up in your home, garage or camper and poison the people and animals inside. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.
  • Hang up displaced telephone receivers that may have been knocked off by the tornado, but stay off the telephone, except to report an emergency.
  • Cooperate fully with public safety officials.
  • Respond to requests for volunteer assistance by police, fire fighters, search_rescue_torso_shutterstock_58612843emergency management and relief organizations, but do not go into damaged areas unless assistance has been requested. Your presence could hamper relief efforts and you could endanger yourself.

How to Report Employee Shoplifting in the Workplace – Part 1

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “How to Report Employee Shoplifting in the Workplace.” For more information please visit

money_stealing_behindbackShoplifting, the theft of items from a retail outlet, is a serious problem in the retail business and accounts for $13 billion a year in losses. The problem is particularly tricky for merchants when it is committed by employees rather than customers. Because of the inherent trust placed in an employee, it is difficult to catch a shoplifter in the workplace, but there are steps to follow to report a coworker who steals merchandise from a retail store.

  • Understand that the process of determining guilt is difficult, especially in the case of workplace shoplifting. Do not make accusations of workplace shoplifting unless you have carefully established probable cause.
  • Witness a suspected shoplifter approach, select, remove and walk away with merchandise to establish probable cause. This can be difficult in the workplace because of an employee’s responsibility to handle stock. Be sure the item isn’t a return or something that must be removed from the shelves.
  • Establish probable case after a suspect has had a chance to pay and leaves the store. There are few reasons why an employee would need to leave the store without paying for an item of merchandise. However, it is important you witness this portion of the shoplifting act.

What to Do After a Tornado – Part 3

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “Tornadoes.” For more information please visit

tornado2General Safety Precautions

Here are some safety precautions that could help you avoid injury after a tornado:

  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
  • Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
  • Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.


How to Spot A Shoplifter

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “How to Spot a Shoplifter.” For more information please visit 
How to Spot a Shoplifter thumbnail Criminal profiling is extremely helpful in certain aspects of law enforcement but not with shoplifting. No profile exists in shoplifting because its practitioners come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders and more. Some are rank amateurs, while others are slick professionals. Thus, spotting a shoplifter is a matter of watching for various behavioral signs.
  1. Look for backpacks and purses that look light when entering the store but heavy when leaving. Children, in particular, are typically the most amateur of shoplifters, usually doing it on a dare or due to peer pressure.
  2. Look for nervousness — another sign of an amateur shoplifter. This type will try avoiding eye contact and any conversation with an employee.
  3.  Beware of distractions. Some shoplifters show up in groups. One might be the lookout or instead approaches employees to misdirect them while the shoplifter grabs an item. Kids are good at this as well as the professional
  4. Watch for shoppers picking up an item and walking to a different corner of the store. Typically, it is an area where they feel safe from cameras and employees.
  5. Check bathrooms. No cameras are allowed; thus, unless an employee is in the restroom or has to grant the customer admittance, it is the best place for these shoplifters to get what they want.
  6. Check for continued nervousness as the person starts moving quickly toward the door. You may also see backward over-the-shoulder glances.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always open and look in large boxes and backpacks you are selling.
  • Rolled carpets are another way for people to hide items.
  • Professionals will come in pairs, scouting the location to note cameras and employees.
  • They will use emergency exits, if bold enough.

Tornadoes – After a Tornado – Part 2

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “Tornadoes.” For more information please visit

After a Tornado

Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado or it may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. A study of injuries after a tornado in Marion, Illinois, showed that 50 percent of the tornado-related injuries were suffered during rescue attempts, cleanup and other post-tornado activities. Nearly a third of the injuries resulted from stepping on nails. Because tornadoes often damage power lines, gas lines or electrical systems, there is a risk of fire, electrocution or an explosion. Protecting yourself and your family requires promptly treating any injuries suffered during the storm and using extreme care to avoid further hazards.


Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Get medical assistance immediately. If someone has stopped breathing, begin CPR if you are trained to do so. Stop a bleeding injury by applying direct pressure to the wound. Have any puncture wound evaluated by a physician. If you are trapped, try to attract attention to your location.

Tornadoes – After a Tornado – Part 1

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “Tornadoes.” For more information please visit

tornadoshutterstock_107588384Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

How to Identify Shoplifters

The following is an excerpt taken from the article “How to Identify Shoplifters.” For more information please visit

midpicture_shopliftershutterstock_40679440Shoplifters can be placed in one of two categories, professional and amateur. While both groups can be quite skilled at the art of thievery, professional shoplifters steal to make a living and may use force or intimidation. The non-professional shoplifter may be easier to spot.

Shoplifter Methods

Many of these thieves work in groups of two or more to distract the sales staff while they pilfer. Shoplifters learn to take advantage of busy stores during peak hours or they may hit at times when employees are less alert, such as opening, closing and shift changes.

Hiding merchandise is the most common method of shoplifting. Items are concealed in the clothing of the shoplifter, in handbags, strollers, umbrellas or inside purchased merchandise. Bold shoplifters may grab an item and run out of the store. Other methods include price label switching, short changing the cashier, phony returns, and so on.

Spot the Shoplifter

Unfortunately, there is no typical profile of a shoplifter. Thieves come in all ages, races and from various backgrounds. However, there are some signs that should signal a red flag for retailers. While the following characteristics don’t necessarily mean guilt, retailers should keep a close eye on shoppers who exhibit the following:

  • Spends more time watching the cashier or sales clerk than actually shopping.
  • Wears bulky, heavy clothing during warm weather or coats when unnecessary.
  • Walks with short or unnatural steps, which may indicate that they are concealing lifted items.
  • Takes several items into dressing room and only leaves with one item.
  • Seems nervous and possibly picks up random items with no interest.
  • Frequently enters store and never makes a purchase.
  • Enters dressing room or rest rooms with merchandise and exits with none.
  • Large group entering the store at one time, especially juveniles. A member of the group causes a disturbance to distract sales staff.