Clothing security tags

A shirt I got from SportMart had one of these left on it:

Clothing security tag

Everyone knows this as an EAS or clothing security tag, inktag, or whatever. Luckily, mine didn’t have any ink.

First approach, look for the ball bearings

Caitlin found this site where a guy used a drill to remove the holding ball bearings. I imagine a hacksaw or a small torch/lighter would work just as well.

Such an approach didn’t work for me. Since the short side looked like the holding pin, I hacked away the long side enclosure and found no such spring or ball bearings. Instead, the thing was held together deep inside by a black-carbon metal piece with a raised section near the pin.

Removal is a cake

When I looked closer at the raised metal section I noticed that it had a slit perpendicular to the long direction that seemed to be holding onto the pin. All I needed to do was flex the long piece apart and the split would widen. After doing that you can slide out the pin on the other side. Cake.

If you cannot pull them far enough apart (very likely to happen if you haven’t taken the thing apart with a hacksaw already), then make a number of cuts in the pyramid section perpendicular to the long direction, this will create some joints that will allow you to more easily flex the tags.

I imagine the tool in the store pushes the indents on that side logitudinally away from each other by putting pressure toward the pin near to the raised section while pushing away from the pin further away from it. This would accomplish the same task with minimal work.

The rest of the long piece probably contains the copper antenna that sets off the detectors. What a simple piece of engineering, but really fucking annoying when you are caught on the other side of an idiot salesperson. I think I must have set off two other shoplift detectors that day. That place lost my business—no big loss, I’m sure.

51 thoughts on “Clothing security tags

  1. Thanks so much for the info. I”m travelling right now, so I don’t have any special tools, but I was able to take the tag off an H&M jacket with a kitchen knife. It took a long time and I put a small tear in the jacket … but all in all, success!

  2. wow thanks so much! i had just got a shirt from charolette russe and they left the security tag on my shirt but the detector didn’t go off so i had no idea. and then i got home and was about to wear it when i noticed it had the tag on it! we tried everything sawing the pyramid off (but not the right way), putting pressure on it (but clearly not enough) 😛 anyways thanks again!

  3. Omg I wish I’d read this sooner! I just bought a clothing item that had a security tag attached and like Lauren^ I also didn’t notice it was there until I got home. I ended up smashing it with a hammer but the pin tore through the side so now there’s a nail-sized hole. Ahh well…

  4. Hi… a pair of sidecutters also works very well. The metal pin that locks into the security mechanism if very thin and easy to cut. One simple cut and the security mechanism slides right out of clothing.. Saved me from going back to the store!

  5. I’m quite grateful for your site–it saved us a trip back to the crazy mall and long lines just to remove the tag. I pull hard (apart) on both sides of the long tag and at the same time pulled the garment upwards (holding bottom with knees) and it worked well. Happy holidays!

  6. Hey thank you sooo much! I bought a skirt and the dumb girl left the tag on. After much trouble and then reading your info i found that a corkscrew worked exceptionally well with the accompaniment of a fork (held to pull the pin out to stop it from tearing a hold :S)
    Thanks again

  7. I wish i had of found this page earlier today.. same story with shop only i used bolt cutters to get the tag off :S …The thinkness of the cutters was enough to brake the tag and ink spilled out, main problem was the glass but it was a black jacket and the ink was water soluble anyways. I’d say use scissors or a *thin* hack saw to cut the pin if the hammer doesn’t work. gl 🙂

  8. corkscrew worked in about 3 minutes. used it to make three holes in the pyramid and the tag separated.

  9. Thanks, it only took me a drill, needle nose pliers, and a knife! Shirt is fine, and I don’t have to go back to the mall.

  10. Cleaning out my closet, found a pair of nice Dockers that I had never worn and they still fit me. Yeah!! But then I saw the security tag that the clerk neglected to remove. Thanks to this site I tried using a pair of vise grips and flexing the long end as close to the pin as I could get. Once I bent it hard enough in the right direction the pin loosened a lot. A bit more bending and “Viola!!!”. Only took me about a minute and a pair of vise grips. Thanks for the insight.

  11. seriously guys, i’m a moron. i need like step by step instructions here cuz i aparently am too retarded to figure this out on my own or by reading your shit. stupid dress.

  12. I work at a retail store and we use another type of security tag. The pin is placed inside the hole area and clicks to secure. Thief proof?? Ha-ha, the thieves somehow remove them and adios it with the 5-finger discount. (there goes my raise).

  13. After reading everyone’s experiences, I used my kitchen corkscrew to screw into a little hole near the pryamid area. Took me less than a minute to separate the top and bottom, then just forced up this tiny metal clip that held the pin inside. If I had only tried this all the other times the clerk left the tag in. I even washed the darn shirt with the security tag in, jeesh! Go to it people!

  14. i thought i would have trouble with something from pacific sunwear, but all you have to do is pull and twist. its deceptively simple to get off.

  15. BEAT IT WITH A ROCK!! IT WORKED FOR ME. I totally had the same problem with the lady not removing it. It sucked. But I absolutely had to wear my $40 boots after the store closed. Just beat the heck out of it until it falls apart.

  16. I’m in the wholesale clothing business. I get pieces all the time with security tags. I used to just consider them waste and pass them along to charities as only about 1 in 500 pieces still had a tag. Until last summer in a large order we opened a pallet of shelf pulls was suppossed to be childrens clothing but instead it was 200 Ralph Lauren Black Label $1500 suites. ALL WITH INK SECURITY TAGS, needless to say I perfected a method. If it isn’t an ink tag grab some plyers and rip it apart. If it is an ink tag first and foremost, DO NOT APPLY ANY FORCE OR TRY TO PULL APART. There is no successful way to do this.(4 suits ruined) Take a pair of needle nose plyers and fimly hold the pyramid side, cut, twist, tear & pull back the plastic around the pyramid, be carefull not to grab the pin (1 suit gone). When you can see the pin base you’ll see two small pieces of metal holding it in place, simply grab one with the needle nose and it will slide right off the pin! 195 suites made it!

  17. I used a corkscrew, then a pair of pliers, to tear the pyramid portion of large flat part apart. This revealed the point of the securing pin, which goes thru a piece of flat metal. Bening up on of the metal flaps (with the corkscrew) that secure the pin released the pin. The pin was then easy to remove with no damage to the item of clothing. Note, this security pin had no ink in it.

  18. I was happy to come across this site we went to the Disney store and bought some pants and the tage was still on and hubby took a pair needle nose plyers nad some motivation to the circle on the inside of the pants and in less then 3 mins it was off. Thanks again!!

  19. Daughter’s Aeropostale jeans came with inkless security tag…guess the salesguy was real tired since it was almost closing time and failed to remove it. Anyway, we have a sturdy stainless steel potato masher tool and using leverage, I pulled it apart in about 3-4 minutes. Ripped a wee little hole in the jeans, but we’ll live with it. We avoid mall shopping as much as possible and didn’t want to return to have it removed.

  20. I just tried to get one off of my shirt. It was one of those really thin waffle designed shirts. The tag didn’t have the pyramid shape on it. It was almost like the top of a tac. Bad news is, there is a very tiny tear in the shirt. Good news is its at the bottom of the shirt, and its easily fixable. Thanks for the advice though!

  21. On one side theres an Inkmate round piece, a rectangular flat piece on the other, with a small pyramid peice. $40 jeans that i want to wear tomorrow:( HELP.

  22. I just pried apart the two pieces away from each other using scissors for leverage as far as they would go, pushed the shirt to one site until the pin was accessible, then I got my wire cutters in there and snipped the pin. Success!! And no hole in shirt. Believe me, I’d tried everything else!

  23. just got jeans from aeropostale…of course they forgot to remove the tag (and of course the alarm didn’t go off…makes you wonder why they bother using them). I used a wine key (corkscrew) and “screwed” two holes into the pyramid part of the long retangular side. it is a micro gator tag, by the way. no ink, no holes! took two minutes! it just came apart while screwing the second hole.

  24. You can crush the small cone (not the large one with the ink) with pliers or a vice. It disintegrates, and the wire & ball bearings can be removed. The two pieces will now easily pull apart.

  25. Thanks for the tips. It seems that everytime I purchase something from H&M they always fail to remove the tag on at least one item. I am wearing for the first time a dress I bought a month or so ago. Since I didn’t have a receipt and I hate navigating Beverly Center traffic I decided to pry the tag off with the back end of a hammer. Tore a hole in the dress (the material is thin) but nothing I can’t easily repair.

  26. Bought some jeans today and the tag was still on – tag looked similar to yours. A pair of pliers forced behind the pin, a bit of strength and the pin just broke and the device fell off.

  27. Take a big thick rubber band or hair tie and wrap it around the pin continuously and it will slowly come off. I just did it. A lot less riskier than giving the thing hell while your innocent garments take a slight beating at the same time.

  28. i work in topshop and they told us in training that shop lifters burn the back of the tag and the spring pops out..i bought a dress an the tag was left on was goin to wear it that nite..didnt want to rip it..i got the lighter out and burnt the back of the tag area where the pin inserted..within seconds the spring poped out..totally hassel free.and fool proof no way u can ruin the garment unless ur jus stupid.

  29. hey, i looked over all of the comments, but i decided to try the hammer. one, two, three, crushed and as good as new.

    make sure you hit the little part with the pin and not the big security tag on the other side of the clothing.

  30. I bought a pair of shoes 20 min ago as the mall was closing. I got home and noticed a gator tag still on my shoe. I took a lighter to the pyramid part and softened it up then slowly stuck a screw driver right through the middle and bored it out a little as I heated and bored it over and over. 2 and a half minutes later, I had the pyramid flattened out and spread completely out and the pin practically fell out with just a little push on the two metal clamps. Almost no effort and only a little lighter fluid and patience. I’ve also taken some off before using a hammer, and another time using a flat head screw driver to pry it off. Lighter/small philips screw driver is the easiest, fastest way. You can probably even pull off this technique in a store fitting room, if that’s what you’re into. A pair of nail clippers would also work really well if you use the top, independent piece after heating up the plastic and just taper it out till you get to the very bottom.

  31. I didnt want to ruin the shirt, but didnt have time to go back to the store. I didnt understand the “pyramid” part, but followed the thick rubberband trick. I tied a bunch of hairbands around the inside of the pin. I heard it pop, but not enough to open. I removed the three bands and started attacking the plastic top of the pin. It broke into four pieces, then i was able to remove the pin without damaging the shirt! Hooray!

  32. The Dremel works best, The head of the pin with the round part I left alone since its so close to the fabric, on the opposite side where most have the pyramid I took my Dremel cut it off exposing the little metal clip that the pin pushes through I put a screw driver under it prying upward and at the same time pulled the pin out, fixed in less than a minute! Once you cut an area open you will see what needs to be done and how it is held in. I was more worried about ink but apparently it doesn’t contain any, When I was done I cut it open and it was an electronic sensor. Mine went off when I was leaving the store, but we thought it was the DVDs I had bought, needless to say when I got home I realized that it was the suit for my son with the tag in it.

  33. I just used the serrated knife blade on a leatherman to cut away the plastic pyramid shape. This reveals the metal locking plate around the pin. I then used the small flat screwdriver to pry apart the metal tabs, releasing the pin. It was on an InkMate, and nothing broke in the process, though I cut carefully. The pants are untouched. Sure beats the hell out of driving back to the mall.

  34. Cake, you're are right. I bought a jacket in Brandson MI, while on vacation. I got home and noticed they didn't remove the security clip on my jacket. I did what you said, and it's off!! Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!


  35. I bought a shirt from Aeropostale with the tag still on it. Long rectangular one again. An old fashioned bottle opener was all I needed to chip away around a hole on the end and then pry it open. No damage to the garment.

  36. My problem is that stores are now putting security tags in conspicuous places on clothing items, and with all the trying on put little holes in the items. Even when the store clerk removes the tag, I get home and see little holes. Sometimes I can return the item (but still a pin int he neck to make an extra trip), sometimes I can't and am out the money. A store clerk told me that they have to damage out a lot of merchandise because of this. This sucks, is there not a better way to prevent theft and not damage merchandise?

  37. Seems to me that if you have enough energy to go through all this crap, it would easier to take your lazy ass back to the store with receipt to have them remove the tag that you should have seen yourself. That is of course you didn’t rip it off to start.

  38. I personally used a bench grinder very carefully ginded through the plastic on the cone side and enough metal to release the pin without breaking the ink side at all took all of 2 minutes.

  39. wow all i did was bend the plastic part while pulling on the shirt with my knees. it budged a little bit. then i just bent the metal pin back and forth while pulling it out and voila! could not believe all this stress over something so silly. thank you!

  40. It is in point of fact a nice and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

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