posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 02:34 AM
I worked for a large company doing Asset Protection for awhile about 5 years ago and this was SOP for returns without a receipt/credit card.
As others have stated a common practice for the criminal element is to go into a store, snatch something and then return it to the same store for
cash. When that fails they can usually get a gift card which can be easily sold.
Here's the fun part. Try not to get too mad. Our camera systems (remember this was awhile ago and realize ours weren't that great) tied into the
computer. If I had you're ID, credit card etc. I could look up any transaction you made, pull video at any store and see pretty much anything you
bought if it wasn't paid for in cash.
So here's a basic scenario. I was plainclothes security, dressed like anyone else and basically ran around spying on people, apprehending when I
caught them stealing. Sometimes someone who rubbed me the wrong way would be standing in the return line. Now I would have seen them come in, new
they didn't steal from my location at the time but was suspicious. I would wait, pull up the receipt from their return, check the history (credit
cards were tied to gift cards and IDs) and look for a pattern. Someone returning high $ merchandise all the time without a receipt I could flag, send
a message to other locations wit pictures/video of their returns (and any purchases) no matter what location or time. These didn't always go
somewhere, but many a time we could track down habitual shoplifters with this method.
The store computer also does this on it's own. It tracks customers and returns for Asset Protection, and spits out possible return fraud people.
The system was also very VERY good at catching employee theft and there were some tricks up it's sleeve that I'm not going to share because I don't
want to help out dirt bags be they employees or shoplifters.
There were a few cases I saw where the computer generated an alert, kicked it over to us in out program, and we got an arrest just by tracing the
person back through the store with the cameras after they returned something. And I mean after a few days, when the people had already completed the
fraud, and were sitting happy at home believing they got away with it.
It kinda bugs me still when I go shopping. I'm not going to get into what the more advanced stores had at the time, and I wonder how much the tech
has advanced since I was slapping cuffs on people.