“Why should I have to work a miserable 9-5 to make money when I can just do some white collar crime or steal here and there?” writes a user named yogobro.
“As long as you don’t get caught. […] I actually applaud anyone who makes money by other means then [sic] just doing a regular job.”
Welcome to Raddle.me — one of the internet’s largest shoplifting communities. The forum has existed since 2017, but it’s currently having a moment.
Since the start of the pandemic, retailers have reported a surge of shoplifting incidents. And Raddle.me has emerged as a hub for criminals to share tips, techniques, and “best practices.”
But exactly what is Raddle.me? And how can you use it to cut shrinkage in your business? Let’s dive in.
What is Raddle.me?
Users post content in political subforms, like ‘/f/CapitalismInDecay’ or ‘/f/Anarchism,’ alongside more typical topics such as ‘/f/Games,’ ‘/f/Music,’ and ‘/f/History.’ Pages also feature up- and down-vote buttons that push popular content to the top of the site.
Raddle.me can trace its roots back to a Reddit form called /r/LeftWithSharpEdge. Reddit banned the group in late-2016 for “multiple violations of site wide rules.” So in response to perceived censorship, some users launched their own community.
Today, Raddle.me serves as a gathering place for self-described radicals and malcontents. Members share memes about “eating the rich” and “taking out fascists,” alongside discussions of anti-capitalist theories and literature.
Many members embrace a concept called “lifestyle anarchism” or “illegalisms.” This idea celebrates the use of criminality in the forms of theft and shoplifting over purchasing goods and services through a voluntary exchange.
“The shoplifter wins her prize by taking risks, not by exchanging a piece of her life for it. Life for her is not something that must be sold away for seven or eight dollars an hour in return for survival; it is something that is hers because she takes it for herself, because she lays claim to it.” explains a manifesto featured prominently on the “/f/Illegalisms” subform.
“In stark contrast to the law-abiding consumer, the means by which she acquires goods is as exciting as the goods themselves; and this means is also, in many ways, more praiseworthy.”
What can you find on Raddle.me?
Whether every Raddle.me member subscribes to such a political ideology remains up for debate. Regardless, the site’s largest subform, ‘/f/Illegalisms,’ provides a gathering place for shoplifters and other criminals.
Despite the illegal nature of their activities, members interact like any other group bound by a common interest. A large number of posts come from users bragging about their ‘hauls’ — not all that different from what you would expect to see on a normal couponing or shopping subReddit.
“Today’s lifting went well,” writes one Raddle.me user.
“Some gourmet cold cut meats, cheeses, spreads, and bread from a high end grocery place. Got home and made myself a better-than-restaurant roast beef and cheddar sub (with real cheddar), and felt like a bank robber being rewarded for his work.”
“Lifted my first pair of shoes today,” writes another poster. “I had no idea it was that easy.”
Between bragging about their scores, users discuss different shoplifting methods and tools of the trade.
Want to learn how to deal with anti-theft tags? There’s a comprehensive guide detailing techniques for removing each type.
Looking for a good store to plan your first heist? Users will offer suggestions for the beginner shoplifter.
Which retailers have slashed spending on lost prevention and now make for easy targets? Raddle.me has the details you need.
Perhaps one of the most popular pages on the site is “The Retail Theft Master List.”
The guide contains a breakdown of the anti-theft measures at popular retail outlets, alongside effective tactics and techniques when targeting those locations.
Each brand is also rated on a scale of 1 to 10 based on the difficulty of lifting at those stores.
All of this presents handy information for asset protection or loss prevention teams.
It’s useful to stay up-to-date on the latest frauds and techniques employed by criminals. Retailers can also use such information to identify the gaps in their security programs.
It’s like getting a free consultation straight from the shoplifters themselves.
Of course, Raddle.me isn’t the only virtual place where shoplifters gather.
Criminals involved in theft rings are tech-savvy. They’re also not at all hesitant about communicating with their colleagues online.
Some other popular forms include:
The shoplifting community on TikTok, who describe themselves as “borrowers,” is primarily run by teens. Members share how-to guides, their hauls from recent lifts, and anti-theft measures employed at different stores.
Telegram is a fast-growing instant messaging app, similar to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It’s not uncommon to find theft tutorials and fraud techniques circulating freely on the site.
Tumblr also hosts a thriving shoplifting community. Users offer advice, coordinate activities, and brag about their thefts. Additionally, members share highly specific shoplifting guides customized for different stores.
The bottom line on Raddle.me
Alt-tech social networks like Raddle.me emerge and disappear all the time.
But for loss prevention pros, one thing remains clear: these criminal forms provide useful threat intelligence on the latest tactics and techniques employed by shoplifters.
Monitoring such social networks can give you an edge over criminal adversaries. And ultimately, reduce shrinkage in your stores.