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Jewelry Thieves Often Impersonate Others—Here’s How to Thwart Their Act

Even if you have solid store security, your establishment isn’t immune to thieves who are willing to get creative to pull of a jewelry heists.

 

In a 2008 robbery of Harry Winston in Paris, a group of well-dressed women entered the store to browse the jewels. Turns out, they were men in disguise who ultimately held employees at gunpoint as they made off with $88 million in gems (and were never apprehended!).

 

That may feel like a theatrical example, but someone playing a “part” is often central to a store robbery. Here are some scenarios to watch out for.

 

Someone Posing as an Upscale Client

This is of particular concern to many jewelers who use a locked door buzzer or mantrap system to control entry into their businesses. Even with a sound operating procedure in place, it’s difficult to find a reason to deny a sharp-dressed individual. Unfortunately, it’s also hard to determine if a person is carrying a gun and intends to commit an armed robbery.

 

What can you do? The services of a security guard can present an active deterrent for potential criminals—especially in the form of an armed, off-duty police officer.

 

Someone Posing as a Delivery or Repair Person

This can be a danger to both retailer jewelers, and manufacturers, wholesalers and designers. The concern doesn’t originate just as a robbery threat, either. Someone posing as a courier could convince you to voluntarily part with a parcel you’re about to ship, or steal merchandise that’s not secured in a safe or showcase. Besides theft, burglary is also a concern. Allowing a phony repair person to inspect your business means that they could tamper with your alarm and surveillance system.

 

What can you do? Only allow contractors you’ve made appointments with on your premises and require that they show you identification beforehand. Also, make sure an employee is with them when they’re near merchandise.

Someone In a Rush Buying Over the Phone

It’s 2022, so you’re probably selling jewelry through several channels, including over the phone. But look out for shady-seeming callers who might be credit card fraudsters. Their inquires often work like this: the caller wants to buy typical items; they are not local; they offer to give you a credit card number; and they have a reason why they need their merch shipped urgently.

 

In some cases, fake IDs will even be scanned to match the card to make the transaction appear more legitimate. What’s more, if you process their transaction the first time, the fraudster will likely place another, larger order quickly after the original.

 

What can you do? If the transaction feels fishy, it might be. Question abnormally large and/or sight-unseen purchases, suspicious overseas shipping addresses, and purchases with a different delivery address than the billing address. And you can also slow things down and take a minute to look up customer names in Google to see if they have legitimate-looking social media sites, community ties and an all-around normal online presence. If you can’t find them at all online your Spidey sense should start to tingle. —Logan Moore 

 

Photo by Kat Wilcox from Pexels

 

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