If you are a regular gamer who loves buying hard copies of games, you would know about Electronic Article Surveillance tags (EAS) that these games often come with. These security tags are attached at either the back of their instruction manuals or on the covers and boxes which contain them. For those of you who know nothing about EAS tags, here is a brief overview followed by the process of how you can remove them from the boxes.

What are Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) Tags?

Electronic Article Surveillance tags are labels attached to electronic items in order to record their storage information and prevent potential electronic article theft. The first security tags ever invented appeared in 1966 when Arthur Minasy decided to respond to the need of the decade and came up with the idea of surveillance tags. In the 1960s, a surge in shoplifting cases was observed and retailers were baffled by pilferage taking place in their stores. Minasy, as a response, worked on his idea and in 1966, presented the world with surveillance tags.

There are different kinds of surveillance tags based on the technology used in them and the way they are packaged/installed on a product. According to technology, there are 3 kinds of tags. These include Electro-Magnetic surveillance labels, Acousto-Magnetic surveillance tags and Radio-Frequency labels (RF labels). Similarly, according to the packaging/installation method, there are 3 kinds of tags as well, the soft tags, the hard tags, and AM/RF alarming tags.

All of these tags work, more or less, the same way and are used to protect all kinds of items from shoplifting, be it clothing to liquor, electronic appliances to CDs and DVDs of video games, cartoons, movies, and music artists, etc.

How Do Security Tags Work?

These security tags work intelligently on a ‘tag-and-alarm’ mechanism in correspondence with the antennas installed at the exit doors of the stores. When a customer picks up a tagged product in a store and tries to sneak out the exit doors without paying for it, the sensors installed in these electronic tags communicate with the antennas at the exit gate and an alarm goes off immediately. However, if someone takes these products to the cash counter and pays for them, the cashier disables or switches off the sensors inside these tags. Therefore, when the customer walks out of the exit gate, no alarm sounds are heard.

Even though the tags have been disabled, in most cases, they are not removed. When such a situation is faced by a gamer, what they can do is try their best to remove these not-so-easily removable tags with the help of a tag removing solution. The step by step guide on how to remove a security tag is explained in the next section.

How To Remove A Security Tag?

All Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags are meant to prevent the theft of products in a store. However, gamers are mainly concerned with Acoustic-magnetic tags attached either at the back/ front of their products’ cover or frustratingly at the front/back of instruction manuals. These tags, even though called soft tags, are not easy to remove. They are very adhesive and give a hard time to people trying to remove them. There are two main options you can use to get them removed easily.

  1. Use your Fingers: Yes! It is as simple as that. Even though these tags are highly adhesive, your initial attempts to remove them must be made by your finger, especially the one with a sharp nail. Start slowly scratching the base off the peel of material attached and work upwards. If your nails are sharp enough, chances are you may succeed at the first attempt.
  2. Use an adhesive tag removing solution: If you fail at your first option, try resuming to the second hassle-free one, which is a label remover. There are many, good quality, labels removing solutions available in the market. They come with a tool attached to the bottle’s mouth. All a user needs to do is grab a paper towel, remove their cap and start pouring the solution through the tool underneath the Acoustic-magnetic tag. The user must keep pouring while lightly scraping off the tag in forwarding motion until the tag finally peels off.

Using label removers saves gamers from crinkling their user guide’s pages. The solution dries real fast and leaves no greasy/oily mark. However, it is highly inflammable and must not be swallowed. Therefore, it must be used with caution and keep out of reach of children. Radio-Frequency labels (RF labels) can also be removed using the same process.

Other Kinds of Tags & How To Remove Them

Other kinds of tags include 2alarm/Spider Wrap, Hard tag, Ink tag/ Alarming Ink tag, 3alarm, Clothing tag, Lanyard tag, Gator tag, etc. The method to remove each one of these is explained below:

2alarm/ Spider Wrap: 2alarm or Spider Wrap is a security tag that is attached to high-end, expensive products especially electronics. It is made out of wires and sets the alarm off when a shoplifter tries to cut any of them. The best way to remove such tags is by using an S3 Handkey. Other kinds of tags removed with an S3 Handkey include 3alarm tags.

Hard Tags: Hard tags can be removed easily with the help of magnets. All a user needs to do is put the magnet at the back of the tag. After some time, the pin of the tag must be pulled out and tag comes off automatically.

Ink Tag/ Alarming Ink tag: An ink tag is an interesting creation. This kind of tag releases ink when someone tries to remove them forcefully. In order to remove these tags without spilling ink, it is necessary that users use a magnet at first. If the magnet does not aid in removal of tag, then the tag must be frozen. In this way, the ink will become stagnant and then the magnet can be reapplied.

An alarming ink tag is just a remodeled version of the standard Ink tag. All it does is sets off alarm alongside producing ink when someone tries to manipulate it. This tag is also removed by a magnet only.

Clothing tag: Clothing tags are the ones attached to clothing articles and have a sentence reading ‘remove me before washing’. These tags have sensors embedded in them and sound an alarm in the potential attempt of theft. They can be removed easily with a pair of scissors. Other tags that can make use of a pair of scissors to get them removed include Lanyard tags.

Gator tags: Last on this list are Gator tags. These tags consist of a pin which can be removed either by wrapping a rubber band around it and twisting it suddenly or with the help of a pair of pliers.

All security tags have one common purpose- protecting the products from being stolen. Even though these tags do well to stop the occasional shoplifters, interestingly, some people still manage to get away with thievery at supermarts and stores.