How the scam works:
Scammers go to department stores and fill a shopping cart with absolutely everything from DVD players to sports equipment. They line up and pay for their purchases like anyone would, but once outside the store, the person who paid gives the receipt to their partner. The partner then goes into the store and fills a cart with exactly the same products.When they're done, they walk straight to the exit, skipping the till. They try and walk out at the same time as a bunch of other people. That way, if stopped by security, they can produce the 'receipt', showing 'proof they paid', and perhaps it was somebody else who set off the alarm.
Soon after, the scammers will return all the products they paid for initially, leaving the store with thousands of dollars of free equipment. Many times, they will take these products and sell them for cash.
How to avoid:
Store owners and managers should be careful with their system of selling goods. As clients want to feel free and don't want to be watched while shopping, there is no shame in asking those with larger purchases for the invoice at the exit.
The security person should check with a pen every time on the receipt. Some major stores already have this method implemented, however, the danger of being stolen from still exists when it comes to smaller items.
Although difficult, every store has to have cameras all over the property and footage needs to be checked every time items are missing from inventory. On the other hand, some stores have secret shoppers hired to keep an eye on sketchy characters.
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