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Article: The main problems encountered with Security Tagging

The main problems encountered with Security Tagging

Potential Problems with EAS

Entrance/Exit - Cause of false or ghost alarms

Whilst Cross Point EAS solutions are known as one of the most stable and reliable solutions available to date due to having the capability of “nulling” most interference out.  Older or budget systems have little adjustment in comparison so therefore can be more problematic in high interference environments.

These solutions can be ok, however, in real store environments they can equally be unreliable due to false alarming which is one of the most common issues with EAS.  This can similarly cause frustration to customers and staff alike in turn having a knock-on effect with a lack of confidence in the system.

Unfortunately, false alarms can be caused by a multitude of different issues including the below so pinpointing the issue can be a challenge.

  • Tagging within the 1.5m no tagging zone
  • Incoming tags from another store
  • Automatic Doors
  • Air conditioning
  • Faulty lighting
  • Flickering bulbs
  • Fridges and freezers
  • Christmas tree lights
  • Tills
  • Chip and pin machines
  • Monitors
  • Power cables

To clarify, false alarms happen when an electrical “spike” hits the same frequency as the AM 58 KHz or RF 8.2 MHz system which can arise from many different areas.  Due to this, if it isn’t an easy fix of checking around the area for tags (within the no tagging zone) then an engineer will need to attend to investigate and resolve.

Till Points - Deactivation or detacher issues

Distance powered deactivators have a life span like any other electrical item of around five years dependent on use.  The circuit board failing is the most common form of breakdown which unfortunately cannot be replaced so is a case of a replacement for new.

Dexter Pad or “Kiss Pad” is another form of deactivation (only available for AM) that can cause issues with non-deactivated tags. The reason for this is due to the Dexter Pad being a non-powered version which consists of lines of magnets in the pad.  This version works just as well as the powered version if the label is only touched on the pad.  If, however the label is rubbed back and forth across the pad this will only deactivate and then reactivate the label giving a 50/50 chance on setting the tagging pedestals off at the exit of the store.

Another common issue with deactivation is it is not unfortunately uncommon for products to be tagged or labels stored at the tills in close proximity to the deactivators which in turn deactivates (sometimes the whole box) the labels before being attached which in turn will obviously not set the pedestals off if a product is illicitly removed from store.

Tag pollution

Another potential problem with tagging is something called "tag pollution" caused when non-deactivated tags carried around by customers cause unwanted alarms, decreasing the effectiveness and integrity of the EAS system. The problem is that no store has more than one system. Therefore, if a store actually has an anti-shoplifting system to deactivate a label they will only deactivate the one that is part of their system. If a store does not use an EAS system, they will not deactivate any tags at all. This is often the reason why people trigger an alarm entering a store, which can cause great frustration for both customers and staff. The problem is mostly evident in shopping malls where customers wander between stores. 

If a customer does set off the tagging pedestals on entry to the store then they have a tag of the same frequency with them. 

As part of customer service, it is always suggested that you take the customer to the tills to remove the hard tag or deactivate the label.  This is an important process not only for customer service but also as a potential loss prevention issue due to being a known act to purposely set the tagging system off on entry so not approached on exit with security tagged items.

The above hopefully offers a brief but honest overview of the potential issues with tagging that may help.  If you need further help or just some advice, please do not hesitate to contact us on the below.

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