Costco Shoplifting Policy (Warning: Must Read)

As a retailer, Costco offers wholesale products to members at competitive prices, making them one of the largest retailers in the world.

Since Costco sells such a large range of products, Costco utilizes a strict system to prevent shoplifting and ensure its products are protected.

Frequent visitors to Costco may be wondering what Costco’s shoplifting policy is, including if they have loss prevention and what measures they use to prevent shoplifting. I’ve looked into it, and here is what I have learned!

Costco Shoplifting Policy

Costco has several loss prevention methods to prevent shoplifting, including security cameras, security guards, and loss prevention workers. Costco store associates also check receipts at the store exits when the alarm is sounded. Costco is also known to prosecute shoplifters.

For more information on the Costco shoplifting policy, including how Costco deters shoplifting and what happens if you steal at Costco, then keep reading!

Does Costco Have Theft?

Like many other leading retailers, Costco deals with incidents of theft on a daily basis.

Costco experiences shrinkage of their merchandise due to shoplifting and employee theft, totaling 0.12% of their annual sales and reducing their profits.

However, this number is significantly lower than the average 1.33% of sales other retailers lost to shoplifting, suggesting that Costco’s shoplifting policy effectively reduces loss as they have the lowest shrinkage of any retail store.

How Does Costco Deter Shoplifting?

Costco has a number of methods to deter and prevent shoplifting within its stores while keeping customers and employees safe from potential incidents.

To combat employee and internal theft, Costco pays their employees significantly more than the minimum wage, averaging $23.50 an hour, which in turn makes employees less likely to steal by increasing their job satisfaction.

To prevent theft from customers, Costco also controls who enters its stores through its membership policy, meaning it is easier to prevent shoplifting and keep records of customers.

Costco also ensures to check customers’ purchases at the door before they leave to ensure all items have been correctly paid for.

What is Costco’s In Store Loss Prevention?

Costco employs loss prevention on its products through a number of innovative tactics.

For example, Costco’s loss prevention methods include placing smaller items like memory cards into larger packages, making them harder to steal unnoticed.

Additionally, items such as postage stamps sold at Costco are sold by taking a piece of cardboard to the till and trading when paying.

The layout of Costco also enables better loss prevention, as there is only one entrance and one exit, which is monitored at all times by Costco staff so they can check customers for valid memberships.

Using the membership system also enables workers to know who is shopping inside Costco at any time, which helps to keep shoppers and staff safe.

Does Costco Have Loss Prevention Workers?

Does Costco Have Loss Prevention Workers?

Costco has loss prevention agents and managers working for their stores to limit the amount of shoplifting and theft that occurs. Many loss prevention workers at Costco work internally in stores.

Loss prevention agents at Costco are responsible for watching, averting, detecting, and apprehending shoplifters within stores and consulting with local law enforcement to deal with incidents.

Loss prevention agents must also report any incidents to the Costco Warehouse Manager and Regional Loss Prevention Manager in order for them to be properly dealt with.

Why Does Costco Check Your Receipt?

Before you exit the store after paying, Costco will check your bill to ensure the transaction has been processed correctly and you have not been overcharged or undercharged for any items.

Costco may check your bill by looking at your items and comparing them to the receipt. Some online shoppers report Costco workers will use empty trolleys to transfer items to ensure they match your receipt.

Does Costco Have Cameras in Their Stores?

Like other retailers, Costco utilizes security cameras in order to monitor the store and use them for loss prevention.

Online workers have reported Costco using CCTV at checkouts to ensure customers are processing their goods correctly.

Why Does Costco Have Security?

As well as loss prevention workers, Costco also employs security guards to prevent and deal with incidents of theft.

Costco security guards are responsible for monitoring who enters and exits the store and keeping a check on stock.

Costco also employs security guards posing as shoppers to keep workers and customers safe, which contributes to their loss prevention schemes.

What Happens When You Shoplift at Costco?

Shoplifting at Costco can have serious consequences. If you are caught shoplifting at Costco, Costco security will detain you in the back of the store, who will contact the police.

It has been reported that Costco workers are hostile to suspected shoplifters.

If you are caught shoplifting at Costco, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on factors such as the amount you tried to steal and if you have any prior convictions.

Costco employees who are caught shoplifting or stealing will be charged with embezzlement and will be terminated.

If you want to know more about Costco, you can also check our posts on whether or not Costco price matches, if Costco is ethical, and Costco’s target market & demographics.


To maintain their low level of shrinkage, Costco employs a strict shoplifting policy that has clear consequences for those accused of theft. Costco monitors who enters and exits their stores through their exclusive membership systems to reduce theft.

As well as loss prevention methods to keep their product secure, Costco also hires staff members to monitor suspected shoplifting incidents, and deal with those that arise. 

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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