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Coles shuts down conspiracy theory

The supermarket has responded to a viral social media post about 'electronic signature' tracking technology.

Coles has shut down a viral conspiracy theory about “electronic signature” technology tracking customers in-store.

A shopper posted on Facebook alleging the supermarket was tracking customers with high-tech cameras as they walked through the aisles.

However, a spokesperson for Coles told Yahoo Finance they didn’t employ the type of technology the person was suggesting.

Coles shopper walking outside a store next to a shopper inside the supermarket
Coles says the conspiracy about 'electronic signature' tracking technology was not true. (Source: Getty)

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“We do not use facial-recognition technology in our stores,” they said. “The claims made in this social post are not true.

“The safety of our team members and customers is our top priority, and we have a range of security measures in place to reduce theft from our stores, including new smart gate technology.

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“This technology uses overhead sensors in the checkout area to detect motion from the point of sale to the exit - automatically opening the gates once customers have completed payment for their items."

The shopper claimed on Facebook that his wife was unable to exit a supermarket through Coles’ new smart gate.

He alleged staff told him customers had an “electronic signature” placed on them when they entered the store and it showed up on Coles’ computers like a “red dot”.

The shopper falsely suggested the dot would turn to green and the gate would open only once the payment was complete.

Coles has introduced a range of anti-theft measures

The smart gate technology, which was rolled out last year, prevents shoppers from leaving without paying for their items. It was the latest policy aimed at combating shoplifting.

"We know that retail crime is on the increase across all retailers, and we have a range of security measures in place to reduce theft from our stores," a Coles spokesperson told Yahoo Australia.

Smart gates will lock automatically to prevent anyone with unscanned items leaving the store, sounding an alarm in the process.

Fog machines that set off automatically are also being implemented to deter break-ins, along with trolleys whose wheels lock automatically if anyone tries to do a runner.

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The drastic measures are being put in place to combat a 20 per cent rise in store theft, which costs retailers a whopping $9 billion a year. After a six-month trial, the tech is now being rolled out “aggressively” across Australia. The ultimate goal is to make it impossible to steal from a Coles store.

The move comes after the retail giant announced it would also roll out body-worn cameras for staff in another bid to prevent theft and protect staff after an alarming increase in violent behaviour towards workers.

“It’s important to note that the majority of customers do the right thing in-store. Measures like this are for the ones who don’t,” a Coles spokesperson told news.com.au.

“The safety of our team members and customers is our top priority, and we have a range of security measures in place to reduce theft from our stores, including security personnel and surveillance technologies such as CCTV.”

- With NCA Newswire

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