A Shoplifter's Guide to Tags

This is a guide for common security tags you will often find on items. The purpose of security tags is to protect items, therefore every single one listed sets off the towers (with the exception of ink tags). Always remember to search for, and remove all tags before leaving the store to avoid setting these off.

Watch this Video

The above video shows how to remove just about every common type of anti-theft tag (that can't be removed with just your finger).

2alarm/Spider Wrap

Big alarm that wraps around high end products with wires.

Removal: S3 Handkey

2alarm, or Spider Wrap, is very common on high end electronics. These are commonly removed with an S3 Handkey.

Do not remove the tag by cutting the wires. Spiderwrap tags are designed to know when a wire is cut, and will set off its very loud and distinct built-in alarm. Always remove them with an S3 handkey.


Padlock security tag. Electronic. Also sets off security gates.

Removal: S3 Handkey

3alarm can also be removed with an S3 Handkey.

Alarming Ink

Ink tag variant that sets off alarms.

Removal: Magnet

Remove these exactly as you would with a regular ink tag and a magnet. As these tags set off the alarms, these may be more difficult to get by than regular ink tags, as you will have to remove them in-store so that you do not set off the alarms.

Gator Tag

Long security tag with a spike. No ink.

Removal: Rubber band, pliers

Wrap a rubber band around the pin several times and twist off. You can also use 2 pairs of pliers. Put them on each side of the tag and bend downward to break the tag.

Hard Tag

Square security tag with a spherical end.

Removal: Magnet

A magnet can fit on the small circular area on the back, then you can easily pull the pin out and remove the tag.

Ink Tag

A tag that releases ink when someone attempts to remove it manually.

Removal: Magnet, freeze

You can use a standard magnet to remove these by placing it near the pin. You can also freeze the liquid and leave it in the freezer overnight, then remove it manually (the easiest option without a magnet).

Important note: These tags do not set off the alarms, but they have a variant known as Alarming Ink that do. Refer to Alarming Ink above.

Lanyard Tag

Large boxy tag with a cable.

Removal: Scissors

Very easy to remove. The cable can be easily snipped.

Pencil Tag

Hammer-shaped security tag.

Removal: Magnet

You will need a small stack of neodymium magnets. Stack them, and place them on the flat part of the "head".

"Remove Before Washing or Wearing" Tag

A label included on clothing items that has an AM tag embedded inside.

Removal: Scissors

These can be removed as easy as a regular clothing tag. Just snip it off and discard the AM tag.

Radio Frequency (RF) Tag

Small sticker tag.

Removal: Your finger

These are stickers, and need to be intact to work. They are pathetically easy to remove; you can peel them off or they can be mutilated on the package to be disabled.

Acousto-Magnetic (AM) Tag

Small rectangular adhesive security tag.

Removal: Your finger

These are a similar situation to RF tags. These are small and adhesive and can also be peeled off with just your finger.