6 Things All Jewelers Need to Know About Preventing Switch Thefts
Sleight-of-hand isn’t just for magicians. It’s also one of several techniques that thieves may use to get their hands on your valuable merchandise.
Switch thefts are crimes that can happen right before your eyes without your ever being aware that anything bad has happened until it is too late. A criminal’s switching of a moissanite or cubic zirconia ring for an otherwise matching diamond ring is an example of this kind of crime.
Preventing switch thefts starts with establishing sound procedures for showing and handling merchandise. Make sure your staff knows and follows these procedures at all times:
Have a singular focus.
Although it can be challenging, especially on a busy day, wait on only one customer at a time and show only one item at a time.
Before showing merchandise, have all of your sales and display materials with you. You don’t want to ever have to turn your back on a customer to gather your loupe or ring sizer.
Inspect merchandise frequently.
When a customer requests to see an item such as a diamond, examine it with a loupe and describe its characteristics, color, and cut before allowing the customer to handle the diamond. When the customer returns the item, once again examine it with a loupe to confirm that it is the exact same diamond that you had handed to the customer. By following this simple procedure, you can avoid a switch theft.
If a customer drops an item, claims to be ill, or engages in any sort of distracting activity while viewing merchandise, be on guard for a potential switch. If you feel uneasy with someone, deploy your company’s code phrase and then ask another salesperson or manager for assistance. Watch out for customers carrying bags or placing coats or purses on top of the showcase. They could be attempting to use these items to conceal a switch theft.
Place identification tags on all of your merchandise. Be sure that any merchandise you take out of or place back into the case has a genuine store tag. Always check for these tags when getting merchandise back from a customer, and check to ensure that the tag shows no signs of tampering.
If a customer wants to compare two watches or bracelets, put one on the customer’s wrist and one on your wrist. Show one ring on your finger while the customer tries on the other.