A rumor in the summer of 2020 claims that Victoria's Secret was unnoticeably putting tracking devices in their customers' bras in order to locate and track them has reached and circulated on social media.
A version of the said claim was shared on the social media application TikTok which racked up nearly 3 million hearts. Another claim was also found and shared on Facebook in June wherein the claim states that the creator of Victoria's Secret bought the "people's souls" by hiding tracking devices or chips in their lingerie and bras to locate their customers and subject them for sex trafficking.
Based on the assessment by the Associated Press, the claim is not true as the tiny barcode-like tag that was focused on the video is actually an ultra-high frequency device which is used to track not for sex trafficking but the inventory in the store according to the director of a radio-frequency identification-RFID laboratory at Auburn University, Justin Patton.
The said tracking chip for inventory has been used for more than ten years especially for the retail stores and it is not capable of any function if out of range from the in-store RFID readers.
The said device can also be used for theft prevention as it can set off an alarm if the stolen merchandise will pass through a scanner at a store exit. But the said chips can only be used to track the item inside the store but once they leave the store it cannot track the customer who purchased it.
A spokesperson from Victoria's Secret shared that just like other retailers, the said technology helped the company in delivering a great store experience for the customers by ensuring the quality of the products which is available in the store, Reuters reported.
The spokesperson also mentioned that the said technology can only be used in the backroom and sales floors for inventory purposes in order for their associates to efficiently support and deliver the customers' needs.
The information said by the spokesperson of Victoria's Secret was also supported by the RFID lab director at Auburn University, Justin Patton. He shared that the company was using a "passive UHF RFID tag." These tags have only a range of just a few meters.
He also added that the tags do not have any batteries in it which means it can only be used within the scanner's range.
According to fact-checking site Snopes.com, Patton also clarified that it is a passive UHF RFID and it is commonly used in retail for inventory purposes. And since it has only a limited range, UHF tags can also be removed even after purchasing.
Aside from Victoria's Secret major retailers such as Walmart, Macy's, and Target were also using the same tags for years.
Target's executive vice president of global supply chain and operations, Keri Jones shared how the store used the RFID tags in a blog post.
Moreover, the company which is known for its lingerie and bras does not secretly use and hides the microchip to track customers and use it for their sec trafficking scheme. Instead, they are using these chips to ensure that customers will have quality products and to help themselves manage the inventory easily.
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