DETACHING DEVICES: New threat to retail security

Article written and supplied by Detacher Co.

The Sensormatic detacher hook is a topic of hot discussion on the Internet lately, due to the discovery that the device can be used to remove Sensormatic branded ink tags from clothing and retail merchandise. In actual fact, the detacher hook was originally manufactured as a replacement part for the AMD-3040 hand-held detacher gun but, as many videos on the Internet demonstrate, this ‘spare’ part can also be used by itself to quickly and easily remove these types of security tags.

So why would individuals want such a product? Many reports across various websites, such as those where users ask questions and provide answers to one another, state that retailers sometimes leave the ink tags on their merchandise. Often, the customer arrives home only to find the security tag has not been removed from their item, and is faced with the option of either taking it back to the store, or removing it themselves.

In the past, ink tag removal used to be something that only retailers could do with expensive and bulky devices, but the readily available Sensormatic hook changed all that. Now, savvy individuals can obtain the tool for a small investment of under US$35… But suddenly, retailer’s who have opted for Supertag security in their efforts of asset protection, become exposed to a new threat.

Some users of the detacher hook have unashamedly left anonymous messages across various Internet forums, touting that their purchase of the detaching device has “paid itself off within one use”. So it has become obvious that these individuals are now able to foil certain retail security systems and remove tags from unpaid merchandise, even while still within the store.

One may ask what the original equipment manufacturer of this product, Sensormatic, is doing about the situation. Simply put, there is not much they can do about it. The brand is a wide spread and well known company in which many businesses have already integrated their type of technology across their entire range of stores. Thus, replacing all security tags and electronic article surveillance systems with an alternative would be an expensive exercise.

For this reason, it is up to retailers and store owners to be vigilant with their loss prevention policies. The frank and stark fact is that relying on security tagging alone is not enough to prevent store theft. Procedures should be in place where staff are informed, trained and equipped to deal with any type of threat, and management must take responsibility to ensure that their guidelines are followed.

Armed with this knowledge, retailers can be aware of their threats and make informed decisions about how to deal with them. And by being proactive in briefing their loss prevention personnel with this information, staff become more aware of the types of scenarios they may encounter. Perhaps then, they will not be as puzzled when they come across a discarded ink tag that may have been detached with a Sensormatic hook.