These days most stores have self-checkout lines that allegedly make getting out of a store go faster, but one lawyer is warning folks against using them, suggesting that it opens people up to being accused of a crime they didn’t commit.
Lawyer Carrie Jernigan, an influencer with over 1.2 million followers on TikTok, recently shared the reason folks need to be safe and avoid self-checkout. She says it gives stores the chance to use security footage to accuse customers of stealing.
“As a criminal defense attorney, I advise most people to steer clear of self-checkout,” she shared in a video, noting she sees “three groups” of people who get charged with stealing thanks to self-checkout.
The first are those who go to the machines “with the intent to steal” and then there are people who get busted for “theft-by-mistake,” who are people she believes “just forgot to scan an item.” While it may be an innocent mistake, she says those people may get charged “because … the big-box stores aren’t going to spend their time and resources trying to figure out if you did it on purpose.”
Finally, and the most shocking, are the people who are “truly innocent” but still get charged. She says that these people don’t get charged while in the store, but it happens later after a store’s inventory “comes up short.”
“So they will begin watching hours of video to see the last person who checked out with the Mario Lego set because they’re two short or an Xbox game,” she says. “And, for some reason, they pinpoint that they think you did it.” She says the stores don’t need much evidence to get a warrant for someone’s arrest, and folks could face up to a year in jail. Carrie notes, “You have to spend thousands of dollars hiring a lawyer and we have to go through grainy video footage to try to determine what all you bought that day.”
In addition to avoiding self checkout altogether, Carrie also suggests always using a credit card for a big purchase, and absolutely keep the receipts of your purchases.