Guide

Protect your retail business from crime

Types of retail crime

Retail businesses may be at risk to certain types of crimes and being aware of these can help to protect your business. Below are some examples of common retail crimes:

  • Shoplifting is a common crime committed against retail business. It involves stock being stolen by a thief posing as a customer. It may be committed by individuals or organised groups.
  • Money fraud is when criminals use an illegal method to pay for goods. This may include counterfeit cash, stolen credit cards or fraudulent cheques.
  • Checkout fraud includes a number of tactics where criminals avoid paying in full for goods when paying at the tills. Examples include swapping barcodes or price stickers for a less expensive item or deliberately failing to swipe a product at a self-checkout. 
  • Refund fraud is another crime that can happen at the till. It can take the form of an offender attempting to return a stolen item in exchange for money or credit, or falsifying receipts.
  • Burglary can be committed against retail stores, usually when the shop is closed. These ‘smash and grab’ crimes involve forcing entry and stealing merchandise.
  • Abuse can be aggressive or violent behaviour of customers towards shop workers.
  • Vandalism is also a risk for retail businesses. It could include graffiti, smashed windows or damaged signs.
  • Online scams are a risk for retailers, particularly those who sell online or hold customer data digitally. They could become a victim of online fraud or cyber security breaches.  

There are a number of ways the risks of these crime can be reduced. See retail business security measures.