Banned From Store For Shoplifting What Kind of Record Is There?

Banned From Store For Shoplifting What Kind of Record Is There

Getting stopped by security and being accused of an offense is a nerve-wracking experience. It can be very hard to know exactly what the consequences are going to look like and how they will enforce them.

If you are banned from a store for shoplifting, what kind of record is there?

Most major stores keep digital records of every banned individual. They will have an official list that is available to all security staff, but it may not be looked at unless the individual is confronted again. However, facial recognition software is becoming more popular.

Do Stores Ban Shoplifters?

Every individual company and store will have their own policies in place that dictate how they deal with shoplifting incidents. Some places might let people leave with a warning but lifetime bans are increasingly the go-to option, particularly for large organizations.

Big retail chains will not hesitate to ban an individual from their store for any reason and they often won’t wait until the person has been found guilty of a crime either. More often than not, these bans will apply to every store that the company owns or is affiliated with.

Due to the number of customers that these companies see on a daily basis, they are not even slightly concerned about losing individuals who they think might cause trouble. They also take shoplifting very seriously, particularly in recent years.

Many stores will have a policy that instructs staff to immediately issue a ban to any customers that are suspected of shoplifting or any other type of crime. It is very rare for these bans to be lifted for any reason, either, even if you are ultimately found “not guilty”.

Is It Legal?

Legally, retail stores are private property that is not owned by the government or reserved for public use. That means that the owners have the right to decide who is and who is not permitted to enter their property so it is up to their discretion who they admit or ban.

In store policies, you will often see a phrase like “We reserve the right to refuse entry/service to any person for any reason”.

They don’t need to officially state this or make you aware of their policy in order to issue a ban, as they have the legal right to do so.

The exception to this is that an individual cannot be banned based on bias against a federally protected class of people. This means that a ban based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information (including family medical history) would be considered unlawful.

Of course, committing a criminal offense like shoplifting in a store is certainly a valid and legal reason to ban someone from the premises but, in most cases, they do not even need to rely on this as a justification. They have a legal right to refuse entry or service (provided that it is not discriminatory).

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How Do You Know That You’ve Been Banned?

Generally speaking, there should not be any confusion about whether or not you have been banned from a store. In most cases, the security staff will approach you directly and inform you, and you may even receive an official document stating as much through the post or via email if they have your contact information.

If the store does not make it clear to you that you have been banned, then it will be difficult for them to prove that you were aware that you were not allowed on the premises. Therefore, unless you have been told so, it is not likely that you are officially banned.

Many stores operate a policy whereby staff will not immediately ban an individual, even if they believe that they have shoplifted. Instead, they will gather as much evidence of the offense as possible and will wait to issue the ban until they are certain that they have the proof to defend it.

As we said above, though, they do not actually need to prove that you did commit a crime in order to ban you, it just means that there is less risk of you disputing it legally if they can.

What Records Do Stores Keep Of Shoplifters?

Now that we know a bit about a store’s right to ban you from the premises (whether you are found guilty of shoplifting or not) and how you will know about it, we can talk about the ways in which the store might actually enforce the ban.

Different stores will have different ways of keeping track of the people that have been banned but it usually amounts to a list that includes:

  • Your full name
  • An image of your face
  • Details of when the ban was issued and how long it lasts
  • Details of the reason why you were banned

They may take a photograph of you directly when they issue the ban or they may pull a still image from their security cameras.

In the past, this might have been a large printed book that was stored in a back office for security and management to look at but now these records are typically stored digitally. These digital records are kept indefinitely and will be made available to every store that the company owns.

Side Note: On the criminal side of things, it is up to the police to keep records of the shoplifting offense as a crime. It will only appear on your record if you are officially charged and can often be expunged later if it is recorded as a misdemeanor.

What Happens If You Return To A Store You’re Banned From?

Individual members of staff will find it difficult to know that you have been banned unless they were present during the offense, which does beg the question: what would actually happen if you go back to the store? Can you get away with it?

Unless you are recognized by someone that remembers you, most stores will not be able to immediately identify banned individuals as soon as they walk through the door, particularly if the ban was issued at another location.

At smaller stores, security staff might try to memorize every person on the watch list, but larger retailers will have far too many names and faces for them to remember.

Ultimately, though, that’s not really the point of the ban in the first place. When you are banned from a store, it gives them the power to accuse you of criminal trespassing at any time. If any other incident occurs then they can check their records, identify that you have been banned, and have you arrested.

It might be unlikely, especially if you are a respectful customer when you return, but it is a big risk that you probably don’t want to take.

Do Stores Use Facial Recognition?

Although it is currently tricky for security to immediately tell who is banned and who isn’t, technology is starting to change this.

Facial recognition software can automatically recognize the faces of individuals who appear on their cameras, and it can be employed by stores to scan faces and search for banned individuals at all times. It is highly advanced and improving all the time.

What makes things a little complicated is that nobody really knows which companies are using facial recognition technology, and which companies are planning to implement it in the near future.

It is highly likely that, very soon, you won’t be able to walk into a store without being immediately detected by the cameras – and automatically flagged if you are on a watch list.


So, if you are banned from a store for shoplifting, what kind of record is there? Most stores keep digital records of every single person that they ban that includes your image, your name, and details of when and why you received the ban.

These records are difficult for security staff to memorize but they are typically used to accuse a banned individual of trespassing if another incident occurs.

However, facial recognition software is becoming more prevalent and more advanced. It can automatically identify banned individuals using security cameras and alert staff as soon as they enter.

Reference Sources

Lindsey G.

Lindsey is the founder of Lindsey is writing about all topics related to Food, Grocery, Shoplifting and Store management. Her job also included covering trendy new food products and kitchen staples.

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