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Breaking News in the Industry: February 27, 2018

Woman arrested on suspicion of resisting police after reported retail theft

A reported theft Saturday afternoon at the American Canyon, California, Walmart led to a Richmond woman’s arrest, according to police. Officers were called to the store at 7011 Main St. at 2:32 p.m. by loss prevention associates, according to Sgt. Dave Ackman. In the parking lot, police saw Willicia Shawnae Davis, 42, trying to enter a Ford Expedition, and a fight ensued when police tried to detain her, Ackman said. Davis is alleged to have tried to leave the Walmart with 74 items totaling more than $600, including detergent, fabric softener and air freshener, according to Ackman. An officer sustained minor injuries in the altercation, but was not hospitalized, according to police. Davis was finally arrested and booked into the Napa County jail for investigation of felony resisting of police officers and misdemeanor theft. [Source: Napa Valley Register]

Hackers stole more Social Security numbers than credit card numbers last year – looting $16.8 billion

Hackers stole more Social Security numbers than credit card numbers last year despite efforts to tame rampant identity fraud, according to a report. In 2017 the number of people affected by fraud in the US rose eight percent to 16.7 million, with hackers successfully swiping another 1.3 million victims and stealing $16.8 billion from accounts. Javelin, the firm behind the new report, warned identity theft is happening more online and less in physical communal spaces. The report’s authors warned that hackers are now more creative and more powerful than ever as they adapt to new security measures. The percentage of Social Security numbers compromised by hackers, 35 percent, surpassed the percent of credit card numbers, about 30 percent, stolen last year. The percentage of US consumers that fell victim to identity theft jumped to 6.64, growing by about one million from the previous year. “This increase was driven by growth in both existing non-card fraud and account takeover,” the analysis said.

Account takeover (ATO) happens when a hacker can access your funds, and this practice also grew “significantly” last year, tripling and jumping to a four-year high in 2017.
ATO losses hit $5.1 billion, up 120 percent from 2016. Additionally, the report found that the biggest fraud opportunity in 2017 was online shopping. The takeaway from the report is the fact that hackers’ abilities are getting sharper, the authors of the analysis said. “Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated in their attacks and using more complex and difficult to detect monetization schemes,” the report explained. People are now placing the responsibility of keeping their information secure on institutions they work with. According to the report, the new fraud trends “combined to cause consumers to shift the perceived responsibility for preventing fraud from themselves to other entities, such as their financial institution or the companies storing their data.”  Javelin senior vice president Al Pascual said: “2017 was a runaway year for fraudsters, and with the amount of valid information they have on consumers, their attacks are just getting more complex. Fraudsters are growing more sophisticated in response to industry efforts to implement better security.”  [Source: Daily Mail]

- Digital Partner -

Mother and daughter theft scam

A mother and daughter were arrested for attempting to return items they had never purchased. Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputies in Florida responded to a Walmart located at 6650 Collier Blvd in reference to two women committing theft. The older of the two women, identified as 55-year-old Kathleen Totoro, is accused of selecting a large amount of clothes from the store, placing them in an empty shopping bag, and attempting to return them. Once the items were returned, Kathleen would give the money to the second woman, identified as her daughter, 33-year-old Danielle Totoro, and continue shopping, CCSO said in a report. Both Kathleen and Danielle were arrested when the two were caught leaving the store. They face Petit-Theft charges.  [Source: Fox4 Now]

Police seek enhanced penalty for accused shoplifter

Authorities plan to seek an enhanced penalty for a Vanderburgh County, Indiana, man accused of shoplifting. The Jasper Police Department investigated an incident Jan. 23 at the Walmart Supercenter, 4040 N. Newton St., that resulted in a warrant being issued for the arrest of Bart E. Hayes, 36, Evansville, in regard to the alleged theft of various items of merchandise. The Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office has filed a notice of intent to seek an enhanced penalty for the theft, pushing the charge to a Level 6 felony. Authorities are seeking an enhancement because Hayes was previously convicted of felony theft in Vanderburgh County in 2011. The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department went to Orange County and took custody of Hayes, booking him into the Dubois County Security Center at 7:29 a.m. Friday. His initial hearing in Dubois Superior Court was held that day. The court granted Hayes’ request for pauper counsel, entered a preliminary plea of not guilty on his behalf and scheduled his next court appearance for March 19. Hayes’ bond was set at $500. [Source: The Herald]

Employee busted trying to steal merchandise at retailer’s warehouse

A 22-year-old man was arrested after he tried stealing hundreds of dollars in merchandise off a truck at a local Macy’s warehouse, authorities said.  Isaiah T. Caston of Jersey City was charged with theft after police were called to the Macy’s Logistics and Operations warehouse on Meadowlands Parkway on Feb. 14 on the report of an employee theft, Secaucus police Capt. Dennis Miller said.  A loss prevention associate at the facility told police that Caston was concealing various items, including shirts, wallets and perfume, as he was loading or unloading a truck, Miller said.  Authorities determined he was attempting to steal $475 worth of merchandise, Miller said.  Police also learned that Caston was wanted on a Somerset County warrant for drug distribution charges, as well as a warrant out of Jersey City for aggravated assault, Miller added.  Caston was served his complaint warrant and was transported to the Hudson County jail in Kearny.  [Source:]

Nordstrom family reportedly near take-private offer

A possible deal to take Nordstrom private could shelter the company from Wall Street’s bearish outlook on retail, which was actually the thing that killed the deal last year, as financiers became wary of retail deals following the unexpected bankruptcy of Toys R Us. In September, reports surfaced that the family group — which included company co-presidents Blake Nordstrom, Peter Nordstrom and Erik Nordstrom, as well as President of Stores James Nordstrom, Chairman Emeritus Bruce Nordstrom and Anne Gittinge — was closing in on a deal with private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners to help fund a go-private transaction. But by early October, those talks were said to be “in deep trouble” amid issues with raising financing. Bringing in a private equity partner was in part a way to fund a deal without taking on large amounts of debt with high interest rates attached — the latter a symptom of Wall Street’s darkening view of brick-and-mortar retail in a year of recession-level bankruptcies for the sector.

Members of the Nordstrom family announced in June they were considering taking the company private. By late July, the group was negotiating with potential private equity partners for a possible deal. Erich Joachimsthaler, CEO of growth strategy firm Vivaldi, told Retail Dive at the time of the initial announcement that going private was a smart play for the company. “Nordstrom goes private in order to massively restructure its business which is impossible as a public company. It is the right move,” Joachimsthaler said. “Either you disrupt or you are the disrupted. As a public company with the asset heaviness of the department store business and low margins, they cannot disrupt. This is the precursor of massive changes in retailing.” Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University’s​ Graduate School of Business, said of the announcement, “Going private, assuming it did not entail taking on a crushing level of debt, may very well be the best thing that could happen to Nordstrom.” A go-private deal could give Nordstrom a longer timeline to reinvent its business for the modern retail climate. It could also preempt an activist rebellion, such as those some fellow department store chains including Hudson’s Bay Company, Macy’s and Dillard’s, among others, have been fending off.  [Source: RetailDIVE]

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