How Do RFID Tags Prevent Theft?

Learn how RFID tags work to prevent theft and how they are deactivated during checkout.

How Do RFID Tags Prevent Theft?
Photo by Shubham Dhage / Unsplash

When you bought your 3 bags of beef jerky, you noticed that each bag had a small square tag with lines on it.

These tags are not just ordinary stickers; they are radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, meticulously designed to prevent theft.

But have you ever wondered how these tags know when an item has been bought and needs to be deactivated?

How RFID Tags Work

RFID tags contain a microchip and an antenna.

When the tag comes into close proximity to the RFID reader at the store's exit, the reader emits a signal that powers up the chip in the tag.

The chip then responds with a unique identifier, indicating its presence and proving that the item has not been purchased.

The RFID reader detects this response and, if necessary, triggers an alarm to alert store personnel of a potential theft.

However, when an item is legitimately purchased, the cashier or self-checkout station typically uses a deactivation device to