Security and loss prevention at Xmas
Take your security walk: security and loss prevention at Christmas
We've created a basic checklist for you to prepare your business ahead of the Christmas season. This audit will help you easily identify problem areas when it comes to retail crime, loss prevention and security.
This security audit begins outside the store and then through the building looking at areas such as POS area, product security, staff-only areas, access control, cash control, staff safety and emergency planning.
Types of crime and how to prevent it
Robbery risk and cash control
With extra cash on site comes the extra risk of robbery - reduce the amount of cash held at your POS.
- Always use a safe to secure cash.
- Revisit your company's Armed Robbery Safety Procedures. If you don't have any, take advice from your local Police or access the Police crime prevention advice for businesses.
- Consider having senior staff, management or a security company uplift your banking. Never take business cash home.
- Revisit your opening and closing procedures. Be aware of what is happening in your environment. If you think something or someone is suspicious, act on those suspicions.
- If you do fall victim to a robbery, don't be a hero. Safety first. Remember robbers typically want just three things: control, money, escape.
Expect thieves to be 'out and about'. Increased customers in-store can give thieves extra cover but also increases the number of eyes on them.
- There has been an increase in organised crime in recent years. Make sure all petty theft is reported to Police.
- Ensure all staff understand what is expected of them in the event of theft. Conduct role plays with staff on dealing with suspicious customers.
- If an incident does happen and the thief is uncooperative or aggressive, don't give chase. The risk is too great. Observe from a safe distance to provide the police with information.
Some good advice to deter thieves is:
- Be aware of customers and their behaviour
- Show customers you are alert to what is happening in your store
- Always acknowledge customers and practice excellent customer service
- Don't stereotype; anyone can steal.
Fraud and credit cards
People using counterfeit or stolen credit cards will be more active over the busy period.
You can always ask for photo ID
Look closely at the card. Remember that if you phone for authorisation this does not guarantee payment. It will verify whether a card is genuine but not whether the owner is using it.
Card not present transactions
If you accept card not present transactions, be extra vigilant with your checking. If in doubt, decline. The risk is yours. Talk to your bank about minimising the risk. Warning signs include:
- Large one-off purchases
- Multiple same items purchased
- Requested delivery address differs from cardholder's address
- Rush or urgent delivery requested
- Late request to change delivery address or notify delivery time
- Overseas delivery
- Country of delivery address differs to country of card issue
There are always those who will attempt to pass fraudulent notes. For information on what to look for in a genuine bank note visit www.rbnz.govt.nz.
Some indicators of these fraudsters could be:
- The person not caring about price or warrantees
- Foreign cards
- Asking you to swipe a chip card rather than insert it into the card reader
- Trying multiple cards if one is declined
- Wearing disguises like hats, sunglasses.
Returns and refunds
Revisit your policies and ensure all staff (including temporary staff) understand your policy and the law.
- Ensure that staff are comfortable explaining your returns policy to customers.
- Inspect all returns before processing and issuing the customer a refund to avoid mistakenly taking back damaged goods.
- Be alert to 'customers' coming into the store with no product who then steal a product to match the receipt they have. Good customer acknowledgement can deter this type of fraud.
Keeping your staff safe
With late nights and the increase of dishonest or aggressive people visiting stores around this time, it is always good to remind staff to keep safe.
Some advice is:
- If they notice 'suspicious' people alert the management team.
- When approaching these people, keep an extra distance. A good rule of thumb is two arms' length, use barriers and position yourself so they can leave the store without pushing past you.
- When leaving after dark have a torch, a mobile phone and a plan. If possible use a buddy system and have two staff members closing the store together at night.
Interested in more information on retail crime prevention?
For more guidance on retail crime, get your copy of Retail NZ's Crime Management Guide. We have prepared a comprehensive guide with advice about preventing and managing the risks of crime. It's FREE for Retail NZ members (or $95 plus GST for non-members).
Published in the 14th October 2019 edition of Talking Shop.