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TUCoPS :: General Information :: sectags.txt

Wal-Mart's Security Tags




Information on Wal-Mart's Security Tags

All Wal-Marts use the same kind of security labels on their merchandise
to catch shoplifters. The labels are manufactured by Sensormatic and are
based on an acousto-magnetic (AM) system (not to be confused with an
electromagnetic label system), which has the ability to protect wide
exits and allows for high-speed label application, uses a transmitter to
create a surveillance area where tags and labels are detected. The
transmitter sends a radio frequency signal (of about 58 kHz) in pulses,
which energize a tag in the surveillance zone. When the pulse ends, the
tag responds, emitting a single frequency signal like a tuning fork.
While the transmitter is off between pulses, the tag signal is detected
by a receiver. A microcomputer checks the tag signal detected by the
receiver to ensure it is at the right frequency, is time-synchronized to
the transmitter, at the proper level and at the correct repetition rate.
If all these criteria are met, the alarm occurs.

AM material is highly magnetostrictive, which means that when you put
the tag material in a magnetic field, it physically shrinks. The higher
the magnetic field strength the smaller the metal becomes. The metal
actually shrinks about one-thousandth of an inch over its full 1.50 inch
length. As a result of driving the tag with a magnetic field, the tag is
physically getting smaller and larger. So if it is driven at a
mechanically resonant frequency, it works like a tuning fork, absorbing
energy and beginning to ring.

When the AM tag is demagnetized, it is deactivated. When it's
magnetized, it is activated. (This is the opposite of how the
deactivation of EM tags works.) You can find plenty more information on
AM tags and other types of security labels by going to
howstuffworks.com. It's really interesting how all the different labels
work.

Something that's beginning to be popular these days is source tagging.
This means that the manufacturer of some products actually put the AM
tag INSIDE the box of merchandise so that shoplifters aren't able to
peel the label off. This is done mainly on higher priced items.

Here is a little prank I love to pull whenever I visit my local
Wal-Mart. Look for those little security scan tags (white plastic tags
with black "upc looking" identification on them) they put on just about
everything over 5 bucks. The easiest place to grab a bunch is in the OTC
section. There always on the large bottles of "expensive" Tylenol and
vitamin boxes. If your bored one morning before the Pharmacy is open,
wonder through the OTC section and there will be boxes of stock lying
around everywhere and a irresponsible "associate" will have sheets of
these tags lying on the counter or the floor in a box. Just reach down,
grab you a few sheets and hide them in the store for a later fun day.

If you can't get fresh ones, the adhesive is a bit of a bitch to deal
with so just rip the whole darn thing off the box. The fun part is
finding an asshole to target with the tag. Just casually walk by the
person and stick it on their clothing, belt etc.

When they try to leave the store, that annoying, "you have activated
Wal-Mart's inventory control system" message rings out and they are
chased down by the friendly door greeter. The door greeter looks through
all their packages (and finds nothing of course) and damned if they
don't set it off again and again and everyone entering and exiting the
store thinks, yep, caught another shoplifter. It embarrasses the shit
out of people! Each time they set the system off, they look more and
more like the proverbial "deer caught in headlights".

I have a friend that works at Wal-Mart (just for pranks) in the Pharmacy
and he puts the tags on prescription bags of people who pisses him off.
They never deactivate the Rx bags so those dumb asses set the alarm off
every time.

When you get through playing, stick one on your self and as you are
exiting and that damn thing is squawking, just say, "I have diplomatic
immunity" in your best foreign accent and walk briskly out of the store.
All the "friendly" door greater can do (supposed to do) is to ask you
politely to come back in. Fuck em!

The Mach3 Razor Blades have been known to occasionally set off the alarms.

I shouldn't tell you this but I work for the company that invented the
sensormatic system. You're pretty much right on the money, but my wally
land trick is to take tags and stick them to the shopping carts. If you
use the newer tags. The long skinny black one like they put inside the
cd and dvd cases. those are the easiest to hide. When you take them home
on something you purchased, they have already been deactivated by being
exposed to a 60 Hz. AC field. Carefully remove them from the package and
put new double sided tape on them. Then take them back to the store.
They will not go off they are still deactivated. Put them on shopping
carts and use a perminate magnet to reactivate them. You can also take
them into the grocery section and put them in various items. The soda
cases that you push in the handle works great. You can always find a
good magnet in the store in you look, that way you don't have to bring
one. At one of the local walmarts that pushes the carts back into a side
doo r instead of back in the front and bypassing the towers, Most of the
carts in the parking lot got done and they had to turn off the system
when almost everybody was tripping it..

PS The system was invented by Allied Signal now known as Honeywell back
in the late 70's and early 80's The strip contains two pieces of metal
one is a hard magnetic material and the other is the magnetostrictive
one. Most of the material is now manufactored by a company in Germany
called Vac. Thay are owned by Morgan Crucible.


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