Friday, June 22, 2012

Preventing Losses To UPC Barcode Fraud

by Nate Schubert

UPC Barcodes Can Be Faked
The idea of generating fake barcodes in order to pay less at retail checkout for products has likely been in existence as early as 1974, when the first UPC barcode scanner was used to check out a pack of Wrigley's Gum in a supermarket in Ohio. The barcoding industry has come a long way since then, but often times, the fundamentals behind cheating the system remain very simple.

In most cases, knowing the special UPC Code that is registered for a particular product is enough to modify to a lower cost, or increase the quantity of an item. A relatively affordable barcode generator application can generate sheets and sheets of barcode labels, legitimate or fake. This can translate to huge losses for retail businesses in every part of the marketplace, and so it pays to know how you can minimize instances of UPC barcode fraud. Following are some useful and easy-to-follow tips:

  • In a retail establishment, a UPC barcode fraudster will have many of the same mannerisms and habits that a regular shoplifter would. A close eye may reveal fidgeting or actions that are obstructed from cameras, or even the fake UPC labels themselves. Applying a fraudulent UPC barcode label over an existing label can happen very fast and an observer can miss it, but knowing what to look for can help a lot.
  • UPC Barcodes may be printed on labels with a special water mark or some other anti-counterfeit material. Even if the barcode itself is successfully faked, the difference in label may be as easy to identify for a trained professional as a fake ID card.
  • Migrate from UPC Barcoding to RFID technology can be expensive but is much more difficult to defraud. Tauted as the automation solution to logistics, retail and more, RFID has had a harder time getting off the ground than originally thought due to very costly implementations of an emerging technology that has yet to fully emerge.
In the future, advances in barcode technology, barcode scanning and the competitive RFID industry may push the barcode industry to allow special encoding of UPC codes that can make it more difficult to successfully create a fake UPC barcode that can actually be used to effectively steal a product. For now, the weight of responsibility rests on those store managers, security workers and other store professionals who must always be wary of the fraudsters and thieves whose livelihood relies on their ability to cheat the system.

1 comment:

upc code said...

UPC Barcode is a unique code of 12 digit which permits the retailers to maintain sales and records of their products. The way you have described how to prevent losses due to UPC Barcode fraud is really commendable. Thanks for sharing.