Retail Loss Prevention Specialists


Exploring this Job

A great way to gain experience while making valuable work connections is through an internship or part-time job in the loss prevention department of a retail store. Contact stores directly to find out about employment opportunities. You can also search job listings on Web sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, and SimplyHired, to name only a few. Search for upcoming industry-related events and find other useful resources professional associations' Web sites, such as the Loss Prevention Industry Professionals Association, http://www.lpipagroup.com, and the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, https://iapsc.org/events-news. Conduct an informational interview with a retail loss prevention specialist to learn how they got started in this profession and what kind of education and training is required. Ask your school's career services office for help with setting up the interview and prepare your list of questions in advance.

The Job

Retail loss prevention specialists work in retail stores, monitoring the activities of shoppers and employees to prevent merchandise theft and loss. They may wear a uniform or they may wear regular clothes so they won't stand out while doing covert surveillance. They walk the aisles, stock rooms, and other areas of stores, taking note of shoppers' and employees' who may be behaving suspiciously. They also observe activities by watching video feeds in control rooms.

They work independently and also as part of a retail loss prevention team. For some investigations, such as to uncover internal theft or fraud by employees, retail loss prevention specialists may pose as shoppers. They also work closely with police detectives and criminal investigators to conduct investigations of major thefts and crimes in retail stores. 

Retail loss prevention specialists keep store management and loss prevention supervisors informed of their observations and actions. They document and report on shortages of merchandise and stock. They are authorized to apprehend and detain shoplifters and employees who have been caught stealing or committing fraud. Loss prevention specialists collect information from shoppers and employees, and write a report and witness report for the police. When the people they apprehend become difficult or violent, they follow safety and security procedures and arrange for police intervention. For some cases, loss prevention specialists may be required to testify in court if there is a trial.

Retail loss prevention specialists use various computer software programs to conduct their investigations, gather data, and create reports. They use analytical and scientific software such as Aspect Loss Prevention Aspect EliteLP and Epicor Loss Prevention; database user interface and query software such as case management system software; presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint; Microsoft Outlook, Excel, and Word for e-mail, spreadsheets, and word processing, respectively; and transaction security and virus protection software such as Symantec.