Loss Prevention Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Loss Prevention Officer, or Asset Protection Specialist, is a surveillance and security professional responsible for preventing damage and theft, usually in a retail environment. Their duties include patrolling store aisles and monitoring customers, watching security camera footage and confronting individuals they suspect of theft.

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Loss Prevention Duties and Responsibilities

Loss and prevention have many duties and responsibilities that are important to prevent the company from losing money and merchandise, but also keep the shopping experience safe.

The following are major duties and responsibilities of a Loss Prevention Officer:

  • Monitor public areas for unusual activity and potential threats.
  • Monitor security systems like alarms and closed-circuit cameras.
  • Identify potential thieves from customers or staff.
  • Follow and confront a potential person of interest who is suspected of shoplifting.
  • Document theft and other violations of security, and what they observed on duty.
  • Work with law enforcement to detain suspects of shoplifting or dishonest employees.
  • Some Loss Prevention Officers with experience can develop their own security policies.
  • In retail stores, loss prevention protects people, money, equipment, and merchandise.
  • They may work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft.

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What Does a Loss Prevention Officer Do?

Loss Prevention Officers are employed by store owners to limit their losses from theft by discouraging criminal behavior and apprehending anyone attempting to steal products. Their role is to hold people accountable for the damage they cause to the company through vandalism or stolen products. They look for patterns of suspicious behavior and closely observe shoppers, approaching them when they attempt to leave the store without paying for merchandise. Loss Prevention Officers collaborate with law enforcement and other Security Officers when necessary to prevent serial thefts at their store.

Loss Prevention Skills and Qualifications

Those who work in loss prevention should have particular skills and qualifications to do the work well. There are certain aptitudes needed to reduce the instances where merchandise is stolen and to catch the person responsible for theft.

The following are major skills and qualifications that a Loss Prevention Officer can have to be a strong candidate for the job:

  • Loss Prevention Officers need good judgment to react effectively and efficiently in stressful situations by taking the best course of action. They need to be the ones who remove the imminent danger of vandalism and theft from the store.
  • Officers also need to have great communication skills to explain the situation to employees and patrons of the store.
  • Loss Prevention Officers will be observing people during their work hours so they should have good observation skills, and be alert and aware. They should also think on their feet in case anything out of the ordinary happens.
  • Loss Prevention Officers need to be patient, observing and standing in the store for hours without distraction. They need to keep an alert mind and think clearly while remaining patient, as there can be days when nothing out of the ordinary occurs.

Loss Prevention Salary Expectations

The average salary for the position of Loss Prevention Officer is $14.31 per hour per year.

Loss Prevention Education and Training Requirements

Loss Prevention Officers usually require a high school diploma or GED as an education requirement, although some employers do not have education requirements. Training is usually done on-the-job by the employer which covers emergency instructions, communication skills and proper detention of suspects. More complex training is required for loss prevention officers who will be armed.

Loss Prevention Experience Requirements

States do recommend Loss Prevention Officers to receive hours of training before the job, during and annually. This can include training in report writing, first aid, deterring crises and other special training particular to the job. Those candidates who have had previous loss prevention experience are great candidates who come in with prior experience. 

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

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Frequently asked questions about Loss Prevention Officers


What is the difference between a Loss Prevention Officer and a Security Guard?

A Loss Prevention Officer can be a type of Security Guard. The main distinction between the two roles is that Loss Prevention Officers usually work during regular retail hours and interact with the public, actively halting thefts in progress. Security Guards can monitor a location when it is open and when it is closed to make sure that no one attempts to break in after hours. Loss Prevention Officers may wear plain clothes to blend in with customers while Security Guards usually identify themselves with a uniform or badge. Security Guards also have keyholder responsibilities.


What are the daily duties of a Loss Prevention Officer?

Loss Prevention Officers can work on the floor of a retail store or sit in an office observing the behavior of customers by watching security cameras. They notice when a new customer enters the store and pay attention to how they handle merchandise, noting if they attempt to hide products in their clothing or bags. Loss Prevention Officers strategically and firmly approach would-be thieves and record the theft. Depending on store policy, they might notify the police and hold the accused person in the back office, or the Loss Prevention Officer could release them but take their photo and ban them from the store.


What are the qualities of a good Loss Prevention Officer?

Good Loss Prevention Officers have keen attention to detail, which they use to spot thefts or vandalism before they occur or recognize when known thieves or banned individuals enter the store. They are confident and assertive so that they can properly confront suspects and question their behavior. Successful Loss Prevention Officers have good judgement about how to approach different people and safely retrieve the stolen merchandise while dissuading them from future thefts. Good Loss Prevention Officers are also discreet and subtle when patrolling the aisles to reduce suspicion from thieves and protect company assets without making true customers uncomfortable.


Who does a Loss Prevention Officer report to?

Loss Prevention Officers can report to a company’s Head of Security, the Store Manager or directly to the business owner depending on the structure of the store. Loss Prevention Officers who work in a shared space like a mall might report to a Mall Security Guard who coordinates the officers between multiple shops. They record suspicious activity and confrontations and submit reports to their manager, making suggestions about how to improve security policy and better protect the store’s inventory.

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