Witness the shoplifting episode. Be certain that the suspected shoplifter has selected store merchandise and that he or she has attempted to carry it away.
Watch the customer to make sure that he or she still has the item when you make the report.
Wait until the shoplifter has had a chance to pay but instead leaves the store before you make a report.
Notify a security guard or loss prevention agent of what you've witnessed, and all the while maintain visual surveillance on the suspect.
If there are no security guards tell a store employee and stay to explain what you have seen. Without your testimony, it will be difficult to prove that it was an intentional theft when criminal charges are filed.
Consider calling the store or the local police if you would like to stay anonymous.
Educate children about shoplifting before reporting them, as shoplifting is often an activity that young people engage in due to peer pressure. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention provides shoplifting education materials (see Resources below).