Breaking News in the Industry: December 29, 2016

detecting counterfeit currency

Retailers still on guard for counterfeit bills

According to the Federal Reserve, about one in every $10,000 Federal Reserve note is fake. As the holiday return season rolls on, stores are encouraging associates to pay extra attention to incoming cash.

Jeff Frost, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service Detroit office, told the Detroit Free Press that retailers usually see more counterfeit bills this time of year, when stores are crowded and cashiers are swamped. According to Frost, the $20 bill is the most commonly counterfeited bill in the United States.

Many retailers train their associates to identify security features of legitimate currency (watermarks, blue security thread) so that they’re more likely to detect a counterfeit bill when they receive one. Ultraviolet pens also aid in the detection of fake currency. [Source: Detroit Free Press]

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2017 fraud trends

The fraud detection-and-prevention cycle is neverending. Although investigators have cottoned to certain attack patterns, fraudsters have no doubt been busy devising new ways to commit crimes. Fraud prevention software company ClearSale recently analyzed 2016 patterns to make predictions about emerging fraud types that may show up more often in 2017. These predictions include:

  • More of the old standbys that exploit information attached to a past fraud victim or a website’s “blind spots” (for example, criminals flock to merchants whose checkout process does not require CVV validation for credit card purchases).
  • Bot transactions that involve randomly generated credit card and CVV numbers
  • In-store pickup exploitation, wherein criminals can complete and pick up an online order before a fraud is discovered
  • Post-EMV online fraud that is expected to continue increasing as more retailers implement chip card readers at the point of sale.

[Source: Retail Info Systems News]

Man steals fallen trooper’s identity to purchase merchandise at Home Depot

New York state police arrested a Bronx man on Tuesday after the conclusion of a two-month investigation. Steven J. Calderon, 31, was charged with identity theft in the first degree and identity theft in the second degree, both of which are felonies.

According to a news release, “The investigation began shortly after the untimely death of Trooper Timothy Pratt in a tragic accident on October 26th. On October 31st, Calderon entered a downstate Home Depot, applied for and was granted a $5000 credit line utilizing Trooper Pratt’s personal information. He purchased a washing machine at the Home Depot, and then went to another Home Depot and attempted to purchase additional merchandise. Staff at Home Depot became suspicious and contacted a member of Trooper Pratt’s family, on the day of his funeral, to confirm the person attempting to make the purchase was in fact Timothy Pratt.”

The investigation is ongoing. Calderon is scheduled to appear in court on January 2. [Source: New York State Police]

Police ramp up security in response to mall brawls

At least 15 malls across the country, including Simon’s Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis and the Beechwood Mall in Beechwood, Ohio, saw large-scale disruptions in the days following the Christmas holiday. Many bystanders report that the brawls took place in food courts and involved large numbers of teens or youths. No one seems to know whether the disruptions were coincidental or whether they were preplanned on social media.

According to the Sun Chronicle, security professionals from malls across the country conducted a conference call on Tuesday to talk about possibilities for preventing future chaos. Such strategies may include added mall security or age-related restrictions in the mall environment, said Stephanie Cegielski, vice president of public relations for the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Some mall operators are now redoubling their security efforts in anticipation of the long weekend for the New Year’s holiday. [Source: The Sun Chronicle]

$12,000 in oxycodone pills stolen from Walgreens

Henry County police are on the lookout for three suspects who broke into the Walgreens pharmacy in Stockbridge, GA, this month. Surveillance video recorded the hooded thieves taking several different dosages of oxycodone valued over $12,000 from the pharmacy, as well as $90 worth’ of condoms. After taking these items, the thieves fled the store through the front entrance.

The store also suffered $1,000 worth of damage in the break-in. [Source: 11Alive News Atlanta]

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