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Package pilferage

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Title: Package pilferage  
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Subject: Multi-pack, Packaging, Pharmaceutical packaging, Child-resistant packaging, Clamshell (container)
Collection: Commercial Crimes, Packaging, Security, Theft
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Package pilferage

Pilferage is the theft of part of the contents of a package. It may also include theft of the contents but leaving the package, perhaps resealed with bogus contents. Small packages can be pilfered from a larger package such as a shipping container. Broader and related aspects of theft may include taking the entire package, pallet load, truck load, shoplifting, etc.


Solutions involve all phases of product production, packaging, distribution, logistics, sale, and use. No single solution is considered as "pilfer proof". Often, packaging engineers, logistics engineers, and security professionals have addressed multiple levels of security to reduce the risk of pilfering.[1][2]

Each situation is unique. Some considerations have included:

  • Identifying who a potential pilferer might be: an internal employee, security guard, truck driver, delivery person, receiver (consignee), organized crime, etc. Engineers usually start with knowing what level of knowledge, materials, tools, etc. might they have.
  • Identifying all feasible methods of unauthorized access into a product, package, or system. In addition to the primary means of entry, engineers also consider secondary or "back door" methods.
  • Identifying available means of resealing, reclosing, or replacing special seals.
  • Using extra strong and secure packaging: A weak or damaged package is an invitation to pilferage.
  • Considering unique custom seals and labels (changing regularly because these are subject to counterfeiting)
  • Improving the pilfer resistance to make pilfering more difficult, time-consuming, etc.
  • Concealing the identity and value of a pilferable item. Logistics and packaging professionals do not want bring attention to the item, its package, addresses, names, etc.[3]
  • Adding pilfer-evident features to help indicate the existence of pilfering.
  • Choosing a logistics provider who can reduce the risks of pilferage.
  • Shipping in packages in unit loads with stretch wrap or in intermodal shipping containers with security seals[4]
  • Educating people to watch for evidence of pilfering.
  • With a corrugated box, using a wider and stronger closure tape, 3-inch or 72 mm, reinforced gummed tape or pressure-sensitive tape.[5][6]
  • Using a tamper-evident tape or seal on packages that leaves a message, warning, or other indication if removed.
  • Installing a surveillance system to help identify any suspects.

See also


  1. ^ Femmely, L. J. (2004). Handbook of Loss Prevention and Crime Prevention (4th ed.). Elsevier Butterworth. p. 281.  
  2. ^ Rouhiainen, Veikko, Scientific Activities in Safety and Security, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, retrieved 19 April 2014 
  3. ^ Green, FW (2009), "Export Packaging", in Yam, K L, "Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology", Wiley (published 2010),  
  4. ^ A US 5651463 A, Major, "Enclosed Pallet System", published Jul 29, 1997 
  5. ^ B2 US Also DE10156793A1 6881476 B2, Noehte, Steffen, "Adhesive security tape", published Apr 19, 2005 
  6. ^ B2 US 6544615 B2, Otten, "Adhesive security tape", published Apr 8, 2003 
  • Soroka, W, "Fundamentals of Packaging Technology", IoPP, 2002, ISBN 1-930268-25-4
  • Yam, K. L., "Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology", John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-08704-6
  • Rosette, J. L, "Improving Tamper-Evident Packaging: Problems, Tests and Solutions", 1992
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