How To Remove Target Security Tag: 10 Methods That Work For All Tag Types

If you are shopping for high-value or concealable items like clothes at Target, expect them to come with a security tag. If you do not know how to remove them, you can ask a Target employee to do it before checking out.

However, this may not be the case for online or pickup orders. Hence, learning how to remove Target security tags can be handy. The good thing is that there are different ways you can do it. 

This guide covers the different types of security tags on Target items and ways to remove them. You will also discover if these tags are reusable. 

Target Security Tag Types and How They Work 

Generally, Target items come with 3 types of security tags:

  1. Mechanical tags: These tags are common, affordable, and easy to remove.
  2. Magnetic tags: These tags are also common, affordable, and easy to detect during checkout. However, they are not easy to remove. 
  3. Ink security tags: They are not common because they are expensive.

These tags are small transmitters linked to the security doors of Target’s store. They trigger an alarm if any customer tries to steal or smuggle an item without checking out. 

How to Remove Target Security Tag 


1. Use a rubber band 

This method works for most security tag types but is the safest for removing ink security tags from clothes and other items. These are the steps to follow:

  • Get a plastic rubber band or multiple ones 
  • Wrap the rubber band around the pin attached to the item 4 to 5 times. Ensure the ink tube is in the opposite direction of the clothes before tightening the pin. 
  • The tighter the band is around the pin, the easier it is to separate the ink tube from the pin. 
  • Tightening the pin with multiple rubber bands will also help you loosen the tag faster. 
  • Once the tag has been removed, please dispose of the ink or store it in a safe space. 

2. Use a ring magnet 

The ideal magnet for the process is the neodymium ring magnet. If you have a high-powered magnet, these are the steps to follow:

  • Place the dome side of the tag against the magnet 
  • Pull the magnet in the opposite direction (away from the tag) and watch the components of the tag separate. 
  • If they do not, gently apply some human effort in pulling the pin or any component resisting the magnet.  

3. Use steel forks

Kitchenware like a steel fork can also be handy for removing security tags from Target items. You only need to: 

  • Gently insert the steel fork in between the gaps in the security tag 
  • Twist it gently while holding the fork’s end to remove the tag from the items. 

4. Use a pair of scissors 

This method is very similar to the steel fork method. However, you need a big pair of steel scissors for this purpose. Below are the steps to take: 

  • Gently push the scissors into the gap or opening in the security tag.
  • If it is an ink security tag, ensure the ink is positioned away from the item. 
  • Twist the scissors continuously to unlock the security tag. While twisting, ensure you do not cut the clothes or damage the item. 

5. Use a screwdriver

You need a thin, flat-head screwdriver to do this. It is another ideal way to remove the ink security tag. The steps to follow include:

  • Place the item on the floor or any flat surface with the ink cartridge away from the item 
  • Insert the screwdriver into the pyramid-shaped ink cartridge 
  • Press the screwdriver gently to pierce the plastic cover of the tag until you see the plastic covering holding the ink. 
  • Remove the cartridge and check for the silver or metal plate lining holding the pin 
  • Slide the screwdriver through this pin to remove the security tag 

6. Freeze the entire item

This is arguably the easiest way to remove a Target security tag. Here are the steps to take: 

  • Empty your refrigerator 
  • Place the Target item inside and freeze it overnight. 
  • Once the item is frozen, remove it from the refrigerator and wait a few (15 to 20) minutes before removing the tag. 
  • You can remove the tag using a rubber band, screwdriver, or needle-nose plier without worrying about spillage because the ink will still be frozen. 

7. Use wire cutters

Wire cutters can be an alternative if you do not have big scissors or a flat-head screwdriver. Here’s how: 

  • Place the clothe or item on a flat surface with the security tag facing upward 
  • Hold both ends of the tag with the wire cutters 
  • Pull the cutter on one end in the opposite direction while holding the other down. 
  • The tag should be detached from the item.

8. Use a lighter or fire (carefully)

This method only works for frozen security tags. Here’s how to remove the Target security tag with a lighter:

  • Freeze the Target item overnight 
  • Remove it in the morning and melt the security tag’s cone-shaped top portion with the lighter 
  • Wait for 15 minutes for the melted portion to cool, and remove it with a blunt knife. 
  • Carefully separate the gap between the tag to detach it from the item

9. Use a key or key chain

Using a key or key chain is very easy. You only need to find a key that can fill the gap between the security tag and the chain of any key holder. Once you have done this,

  • Insert the key or key chain in the gap in the security tag. 
  • Gently twist it until the tags unlock, and you can easily separate it from the item.

10. Hit the tag 

Hitting the tag gently also works if you follow these steps: 

  • Pull the security tag away from the item gently until the pin loosens a bit. 
  • Get a large nail with a head as wide as a penny and bigger than the tag. 
  • Pull the tag and the ink tube away from the item and gently hit the ink cartridge until it pops open. 
  • You will see a silver lining (it represents the pin holding the tag)
  • Slide the nail under the pin to remove the tag from the item.

Are Security Tags Reusable?

No, reusing them is illegal or considered shoplifting, and the consequences may range from a fine to a jail term. This is why it is advisable to appropriately dispose of Target security tags or store them in a cool, dry place after removal. 


What happens if you cut a security tag?

There is a big chance you will damage the item, especially if the ink spills. 

Can security tags track you?

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags can track you in real-time. They are expensive and uncommon. 

Do security tags beep when you take them off?

The alarm will go off if you attempt to shoplift. Otherwise, it will not beep unless you are trying to remove it forcefully or without a proper tool. 

Conclusion: How to Remove Target Security Tag

There are several ways to remove security tags from Target items. The most important thing is to know the type of tag you want to remove and use the appropriate method (the options in this guide are excellent for all tag types).

Using a magnet, rubber band, and freezing the tag are some of the safest ways to go about this process. However, you can try different methods if you are experiencing difficulty detaching the tag. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. For further reading, here is how to cancel a Target pickup order

Thanks for reading.