Is tag switching still shoplifting?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

You know that shoplifting is a form of theft and that it’s illegal to take an item out of a store without paying for it. But you have a friend who tells you that all you really need to do is switch the price tag, and then you can get the item for less money. They present this as if it is a wise idea that should work.

But is this still just another form of shoplifting? Could you be arrested for theft if you do this?

It is theft, and it usually doesn’t work

First and foremost, yes, you can be arrested for tag switching. It is a type of theft, and it is illegal. It’s just an attempt to steal the difference between the price on the two tags. That’s still shoplifting even though you’re going through the checkout lane, and you’re still paying some money.

Moreover, this type of tag switching doesn’t even really work anymore. Perhaps it did before technology changed, but most cashiers these days are just scanning the codes on the products. No matter what the paper tag says, the machine is going to bring up the correct price. There are those who attempt to switch UPC codes in order to get around this, something that is also an illegal form of theft, but this is generally a bit harder to do.

In any case, taking your friend’s advice could lead to some serious theft charges. It’s important for you to know exactly what legal defense options you have if something like this has happened to you, especially if you didn’t realize that what you were doing was illegal.