Frequently Asked Questions

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EAS security systems for retail loss prevention

Electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems play an important role in loss prevention as well as in reducing or fully eliminating the frequency of attempts at shoplifting.

Detection antennas are means of protecting articles from theft and as an electronic article surveillance device, they are suitable for alerting staff in shops in case customers intend to walk away with goods without paying for them.

Radiofrequency (RF) systems, the most widely used anti-theft technology owing to its competitive price, ensure protection from theft by applying radio frequency. The principle of the detection antenna is to create a surveillance zone at exits or checkout lanes by emitting radio frequency signals that every customer has to pass through. In the shops, various tags or labels are affixed on merchandise that are detected by the antenna. At the check-out counter, such tags or labels are removed or deactivated when the goods are paid for or checked out. If the tags or labels remain fixed on the articles and the customer tries to leave the store without payment, they will give a signal and the antenna will sound an alarm or flash a light. This way the RF system alerts the staff immediately when an attempted theft is identified and allows them to promptly act to prevent shop-lifting.

It is also important to note that radio frequency technology is very susceptible to external influence and interference, and it is most sensitive to the presence of metals, therefore it may not be used to protect merchandise containing metal, such as electronic appliances, machines, hand-tools, devices, etc. Such products generate a false alarm when passing through the antenna. Due to its characteristics as just described, the RF technology is used for loss prevention and to eliminate shop-lifting mostly in clothing stores, department stores, and supermarkets.

Hardtags in retail security

Hardtags are devices that are fastened to goods and products. The devices use Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems which are detected by antennas, and can only be removed by the cashier after purchase. As a result, the EAS system, which is to be positioned at a proper distance from the check-out counter, will not activate an alarm signal. However, if the tags are not removed or deactivated upon leaving the store, and they get close enough to the EAS while still attached to the product, the antenna will detect the sensors within its range with a sound and light signal, alerting the store of an attempted theft. This allows the staff or security guard to take immediate action.

Hardtags are bigger in size and more effective than labels or soft tags. Shoplifters are unable to remove the devices themselves. If the item is removed from the store, the EAS antenna will alert the staff immediately. Their use is also more cost-efficient than labels or soft tags because they may be reactivated and reused.

Hardtags come in a variety of sizes and designs to meet all the needs and requirements of the retail market. There are narrow, light, round and oblong-shaped hardtags and ones with steel fibers. They are easy to install and remove by using the proper tool.  Some hard tags are equipped with magnetic pin locks while others have simple magnetic locks or mechanical locks installed to them. Desktop, manual or built-in openers are used to remove them.

Additionally, hardtags can be used to protect high-value alcoholic beverages; however, they are often applied as an anti-theft method in apparel stores. Hardtags are fastened to articles of clothing and their removal, without using the proper tool, can damage goods, making them unsuitable for use.  For instance, ink tags may be used to protect clothing articles. The tags secured to the product contain bright colour ink which may leak from the container if the hardtag is not removed properly. If the opener designed for this special purpose is used to remove the tag, its removal is safe, the ink container will not be damaged and the product will remain intact. The advantage of this solution is that it does not require the installation of a separate alarm system. Also, it may be implemented using a relatively low budget and the cost of operation is minimal.

What are safers?

A number of security devices may be used together with the electronic article surveillance systems to prevent theft in shops. Protection is particularly important in the case of products that are small in size, sold in mass, or have a high price. Generally, shoplifters have an easy job with these. They only need to lift them from the shelves or stands. So, it is not difficult to steal these articles without anyone noticing it. Safers offer an ideal solution to protect such goods. Safers are transparent protective cases or containers equipped with a special lock that may be used to hold small-size articles. The lock must be opened to gain access to the product. By using safers, retailers may protect their small-size and high-priced goods from being stolen. Products such as batteries, cosmetics articles, mobile phones, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. can be contained in safers. This way, the products will still be visible to customers but are protected from theft. Safers are made of polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a highly resistant material and protects against external mechanical impacts. It is practically unbreakable. Only the merchant with access to a key or proper equipment can open the lock installed on the safer, making the product impossible to steal. Nowadays, there is a wide variety of goods to be protected. Safers are effective with protecting small-size and high-value hand tools, drills or spare parts that are found in DIY stores, which are more prone to theft. Safers are used to actively prevent the theft of some non-prescription drugs or food supplements, cosmetics and perfumes. Safers also offer an ideal solution to protect smaller-size but high-value consumer electronic products, such as memory cards, connectors, telephones or batteries. Currently, close to 100 types of safers, in a variety of sizes, are used worldwide. Some of them are equipped with a simple lock that may be opened with a magnetic opener similar to hard tags, and there are also safers with installed double locks that are more difficult to manipulate. <br>These safers may be opened with an oblong, two-point magnetic opener and represent a higher level of security. Safers may be positioned on shelves or hung on stands, according to the size or type of goods they hold. Safers should adjust to the size of the goods to be protected and be aesthetically appealing in their appearance.

Today shoplifting with tinfoil lined shopping-bags has no doubt become the single most costly kind of shoplifting – now known under the name Booster Bagging. But the bag is no longer an ordinary shopping bag. Experienced shoplifters nowadays rarely use paper bags for this purpose. The new trend is chaotic: every household item that is able to carry a product can be used as a booster bag – handbags, backpacks, pocket, or even a simple jacket carried in hand.

Such a shoplifting tool can be made in minutes and traditional loss prevention systems, such as AM or RF-based antennas are useless to fight this type of crime. When a shoplifter enters a store it only takes seconds to pack the goods into the tinfoil-lined container, and the crime is committed. Most booster-bags are so well made that they have to be cut up or passed through a metal detector in order to verify the presence of tinfoil.


Even the smartest bags from houses such as Prada and Louis Vuitton can be shielded nicely with tinfoil under the original lining so that the tinfoil is completely hidden.

When shoplifters cut off a security tag or open it with an illegal detacher the tag will be found somewhere in the shop. When a booster-bagger stuffs 10 expensive shirts or DVDs into their bag no traces are left – only empty hangers or shelves!

Therefore it is very difficult to know how big the problem really is.


After many years of experience we know that it is much much bigger than most retailers think. We have partnered up with the industry leader company, Alertsystems, to deliver world-class solutions to our customers. We offer two kinds of antennas to solve the new type of shoplifting: Metalguard and Hyperguard. The only difference is that Hyperguard comes with a built-in trolley filter, making it the best choice for hypermarkets and supermarkets.