The Sensormatic hook is probably the most famous of all detaching devices, mainly because it is inexpensive, durable and small enough to fit in one’s pocket. Sensormatic designed this tool to fit inside the larger detaching device known as the AMD-3040 Hand-Held Detacher. Despite this, it has been well known for some time that the hook works by itself, as demonstrated by several videos on YouTube. Indeed, the hand-held detacher is an easier way of guiding the hook into the correct position when inserted into the security tag, but savvy ‘shoppers’ have learnt that, with a little practice, this can be done by hand. As a result, this negates the need to purchase a large, bulky hand-held detacher.
What types of security tags does the Sensormatic hook open? Well, it can be used to open all types of hard tags from the SuperTag family, and this includes:
- SuperTags I, II and III
- SuperTag III Lanyard
- SuperTag Ink
- Alarming SuperTag
- SuperTag Mini
- Visible Source Tag (VST)
A unique aspect of the SuperTag family is that, unlike most other types of security tags, none of them are magnetic based (meaning that none of them can be discoupled with a magnet). Reason being, Sensormatic holds a patent on the SuperTag’s locking mechanism, which consists of a pin that is connected by a rotary clamp and spring gate… This is where the Sensormatic hook comes in, because the hook contains a groove which acts as a key when inserted into that locking mechanism.
Now, before you get too excited and go and order this item, be aware that, due to the popularity of this product, it seems there has been a flood of cheap imitations hitting the market. The median price of the Sensormatic hook is around US$25 to US$35 per piece. It’s recommended that you steer clear of cheap Chinese imports which are available for much less. There are several problems with these imported knock-offs:
- The groove in the metal is not always aligned correctly, which prevents it from working when inserted into the SuperTag
- They bend easily (tempered steel should not bend at all)
- The hook can often get stuck in the hard tag when trying to open it, and in some cases cannot be removed (the lock is precise)
- When you import the product, there is a risk that customs will trace it to your address causing your personal details to become compromised
Regarding the last point, in the United States it is not illegal to order this product, but the risk still remains that federal customs may be aware that you have imported the item. Subsequently, if something untoward were to happen at some time in the future they, and any federal law enforcement agency, would know of the address you had this item shipped to. This compromises your defence if you ever come into a situation where you are asked to justify your reasons for ordering such an item. Yet this problem can be avoided entirely when ordering from suppliers that ship within the US, so take this as a good word of advice.
Whilst on the topic of law enforcement, if someone were to be apprehended in a retail outlet with this item in their possession, there would be dire consequences. Obviously there are some people who will use it to shoplift, but the main purpose of this article is to assist people who have had security tags left on their clothing. So, if you are intent on performing illegal activities, be aware that the mere possession of this tool can result in multiple charges or felonies </disclaimer rant>.
Moving right along; there are several vendors on the Internet who sell this product to the public. A small number have been around for a while with a good reputation, while some newcomers are leaving a trail of destruction with countless unhappy reviews from disgruntled customers. See the relevant blog post where I discuss each vendor and post links to their customer reviews and satisfaction ratings.
In the next article, we’ll talk about magnetic based security tags, and how they can be overcome. The devices used to remove these types of tags are more expensive, but in the long-run they pay off because magnetic based hard tags are the most common type in the industry. If you can’t wait and want to avoid reading all of these articles, submit help ticket with an image of the security tag you want to detach, and someone will quickly respond with a solution.