ex Target secret shopper speaking with caption 'do not cause a scene and go to the back with them willingly' (l) Target sign on building (c) ex Target secret shopper speaking with caption 'they will settle out of court thousands' (r)

JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock @degreenforrest/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘They will settle out of court tens of thousands’: Ex-Target secret shopper says you should go to the back with them if they falsely accuse you of stealing

‘You are messing up your bag if you don’t.’


Phil West


Posted on Aug 30, 2023   Updated on Aug 30, 2023, 6:03 am CDT

A former Target worker went viral on TikTok after sharing how customers falsely accused of stealing from the retail giant can get their revenge.

Ex-employee @degreenforrest made the video. In it, he said that he previously worked with Target’s asset protection and security team. The team’s goal, he said, is to “keep you in the back office stalled long enough for law enforcement to arrive.”

@degreenforrest #stitch with @Taco reacts buring bridges I guess lol #target #secertshopper #secret #fyp #npi #assetprotection ♬ original sound – degreenforrest

“Why do they do that? Because they legally cannot touch you nor can they chase after you,” he added. “Do with that information what you will, but no stealing. Stealing is wrong.” 

But the real reason he made the video, as he explained, is to help people who have been falsely accused of stealing. “If you are not stealing and they accuse you of stealing, do not cause a scene, and go to the back with them willingly,” he said. “You are messing up your bag if you don’t.”

The former employee said that Target doesn’t want bad press. So, if you have video footage or a receipt—known as “a nonproductive intervention”—proving your innocence, you could walk out of the ordeal richer.

“They will settle out of court tens of thousands of dollars just to keep you quiet,” he said. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to @degreenforrest via TikTok comment and to Target by email. As of Wednesday morning, @degreenforrest’s video had over 58,100 views, with many users offering their thoughts on his advice.

“Looks like I’m goin’ shopping today,” one user quipped.

“How do I make it look like I’m stealing without stealing?” another asked.

“I did enjoy magic as a child,” a third viewer wrote. “Cameras are easy enough to trick and put something back.”

And apparently, Target isn’t the only store that will settle with customers in court.

“Walmart too. I did asset protection and the same rules apply,” one worker shared.

“They were tackling mfs in the 90s and early 2000s until they realized lawsuits cost them more,” another said. “Now they stall or record you until it’s felony level.”

Another commenter agreed and warned viewers that some stores track theft over time so they can build a case. “It’s so much more beneficial for corporations to let you keep on keepin on until it reaches a felony theft amount,” they wrote. “Be careful out there.”

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*First Published: Aug 30, 2023, 5:47 am CDT