Small Businesses Need to be On Guard for Merchant Fraud

Merchant fraud is an unfortunate loss you may have to deal with when you own and operate a small business. While a business of any size can experience merchant fraud, such as shoplifting, it tends to affect small businesses more because any small loss can be a huge burden to your business finances and assets.

Small businesses need to be on guard for merchant fraud at all times. According to a recent study conducted by the National Learning and Resource Center, over $13 billion worth of goods are stolen each year from retail stores, which totals over $35 million each day. With statistics like this, it is more important than ever to be on guard for merchant fraud and take the necessary steps to protect your business from it.

Shoplifting Profile

While some types of individuals may be seen as shoplifting more than others, there is no distinct, fool-proof shoplifting profile. This makes it more difficult to identify a shoplifter until it’s too late. Shoplifters include all ages, genders, ethnicities, social and economic statuses. You won’t always find shoplifters in the same geographical location either. A variety of people shoplift for various reasons, including people that just want the thrill, people that don’t have the money to purchase the goods, and others that might not realize they committed a crime, such as small children. One thing most shoplifters have in common is that they rationalize stealing goods, such as thinking by taking just one item, the business won’t suffer a big loss.

Cost of Shoplifting

No matter how small or significant the stolen item may seem to shoplifters, the costs can be astounding. With recent studies finding billions of dollars of goods stolen each year in the United States alone, it shows the financial impact that merchant fraud has on businesses of all sizes. If you operate a small business, frequent acts of shoplifting can cost you thousands of dollars.

Preventing Shoplifting

By safeguarding your business from merchant fraud and shoplifting, you can avoid these attempts or make extra steps towards preventing them. There are a variety of ways to prevent shoplifting and protect your business finances. For starters, your retail store should have security cameras that are monitored on a continuous basis with trained security personnel that know what signs to look for. Shoplifting tend to show signs of being in the process of stealing goods, such as looking up and around them often, and carrying large bags or purses with them. You can also have employees walking through the store and acting as if they are a normal customer, in order to keep watch on customers in the store. Attaching hanger locks to clothing items or other goods can prevent theft from occurring because the door alarm will sound if someone walks out of the store with these locks on. There are also new types of security locks that are unseen by the customer until the alarm goes off.  Training employees to identify shoplifting can also help to prevent goods from being stolen.

These preventative measures are important in avoiding merchant fraud, but it isn’t always possible to prevent every case of shoplifting. Business insurance should be obtained in order to protect your business from the loss associated with shoplifting. While small businesses need to be on guard for merchant fraud to prevent shoplifting, they also need to have adequate business insurance if it does occur.