Breaking News in the Industry: April 28, 2017

detecting counterfeit currency

Restaurant manager accused of embezzling over $250,000

A former restaurant manager was arrested after being accused of stealing thousands over the course of a year. Patrick James Langbein, 38, was charged with felony theft by swindle. He had been working as the general manager of two locations for a Woodbury, MN, restaurant and grill. While Langbein was terminated from Woodbury Bonfire Wood Fire Cooking in January 2016 for unspecified reasons, an assistant manager contacted law enforcement after noticing a significant amount of money missing. Forensic auditing was able to show over 97 incidents of money being withdrawn by Langbein from restaurant checking accounts. The money was supposed reserved for paying employees and miscellaneous items for the restaurant. In one instance Langbein requested over $3,000 for supposed maintenance which was never completed. In total, he is being accused of stealing over $265,000.

Langbein pleaded guilty last week to felony theft charges, stemming from his time at a Lakeville restaurant he had previously managed. [For more: Woodbury Bulletin]

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Brothers arrested, charged with organized theft after targeting Home Depot

Three men were arrested and charged with organized retail theft following an attempt to steal over $1,100 worth of items from a Home Depot store in Houston, TX. Witnesses said two men appeared to enter the store, grab power tools, and quickly walk out. In the parking lot, surveillance video shows another man and a woman waiting inside a white van, with a sliding door open. Security personnel were able to follow the vehicle while contacting police. Investigators were already looking into similar crime at separate Home Depot in Porter, Texas. The woman in the vehicle has not yet been charged with anything, although the investigation is ongoing. [For more: KIAH-TV]

Blowout Cards suffers data breach

Blowout Cards, an online site owned by Frontline Collectibles, that buys and sells cards such as baseball and other trading cards has begun notifying customers about a recent data breach. The attack was actually discovered four days prior to the company alerting the public. A statement was released warning customers who purchased items using the website shopping cart between January 2017 and April 20, 2017, to be wary of any suspicious activity on credit or banking cards. An attacker managed to exploit a payment.php file in order to skim payment card information while customers checked out using the website. The breach may have given attackers access to “names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, credit or debit card numbers, card expiration dates, and card verification codes”.

Blowout Cards stated that an investigation into the incident is currently underway and they are also working with a third-party digital forensic firm. The number of affected customers has not been revealed, although card fraud from previous customers has already been reported. [For more: SC Media]

Is AI the ultimate fraud-fighting machine?

In 2011, HiGear, a San Francisco start-up seemed poised for success. The luxury car-sharing service attracted thousands of members and raised over $1 million in initial investments. However, the company soon fell victim to a fraud scheme in which criminals used stolen identities and credit cards and ended up losing over $400,000 in luxury vehicles. The car-sharing market has seen incredible growth and is projected to be worth over $16 billion by 2024. Unfortunately, the market has continued to suffer similar attacks. This has helped create the need for new defenses, like Feedzai, “a fraud-fighting, machine learning platform.

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has become important in the fight against fraud, as algorithms are able to grow and adapt. Feedzai helps by taking advantage of its expansive network of partners by aggregating merchant data. It takes a “Segment-of-One approach, which entails tracking transactions that occur on the company’s network and using that data to verify the authenticity of consumer identities and their transactions.”

The luxury retail industry has also become one of the most frequent victims of fraud the past several years. In fact, attacks increased by almost 90% from 2015-2016 alone. These attacks include chargebacks, botnets, and account takeovers. Retailers that rely on selective distribution often face further issues. Many luxury retailers try to sell directly to their targeted consumers, rather than someone buying in bulk and re-selling. AI learning can help out here because it has the ability to learn the digital identity of customers, payment methods, and geographic locations. [For more: PYMNTS]

Drug supply-chain security: New APEC toolkit to aid collaboration

As the pharmaceutical supply chain grows worldwide and becomes more complex, regulators and industry groups have collaborated to develop a new toolkit of resources to ensure drug quality across the globe. Efforts by the US Pharmacopeial Convention, US Food and Drug Administration, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation led to a project designed to benefit the following areas:
1. Good manufacturing practices
2. Good distribution practices
3. Good import and export practices
4. Clinical and retail pharmacy practices
5. Product security
6. Detection technology
7. Internet sales
8. Track and trace systems
9. Surveillance and monitoring
10. Single points of contact

Lisa Bernstein, deputy director of the FDA’s Office of Compliance, noted that this is not something that can be accomplished by individual countries, cooperating will be necessary. Many Western nations take the quality of medicine for granted, but lower income nations often face quality and shortage issues. Criminal groups have begun to try and counterfeit expensive medications to take advantage of the high demand. [For more: Regulatory Affairs Professional Society]

OSHA launches campaign on young worker safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently launched a campaign on workplace safety, targeting the youth workforce with the message, “Young workers! You have rights!” OSHA outlined the necessary responsibilities employers have to keep young laborers safe. The importance of training temporary workers properly and the responsibility temporary staffing agencies share with host employers were among the highlighted guidelines. Furthermore, the agency stressed the importance of compliance with child labor laws, ensuring youth recognize hazards in the workplace, among other suggestions. [For more: The National Law Review]

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