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Breaking News in the Industry: September 20, 2018

Suspects wanted in $75K credit card fraud with 200 victims

Police in Richmond, Virginia, are looking for two suspects in multiple incidents of credit card fraud totaling $75,000. Five incidents involving three card holders were reported July 5 for incidents that occurred between May 31 and July 2 at two Kroger stores. Police investigators believe two suspects seen on surveillance video September 6th at two Walmart stores are connected to the Kroger incidents.

The charges occurred at Kroger in the 3500 block of West Cary Street and the 900 block of North Lombardy Street and Walmart in the 5000 block of Nine Mile Road and the 2400 block of Sheila Lane. Police said the suspects are believed to have breached a financial institution and more than 200 victims have been impacted and $75,000 of merchandise purchased. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 804.780.1000.   [Source: NBC12 News]

Employees indicted in separate misappropriate, theft investigations

A United States Postal Service worker in New Orleans is accused of stealing more than $1,000 and two other area employees are accused of stealing mail containing gift cards and money, federal investigators said. Jacqueline M. Batiste, Bria Davis and Courtney Duplessis were indicted Friday in separate investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  Investigators said all three suspects were employed by USPS at different locations in the New Orleans metro.

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Each faces separate charges in the investigations. Batiste was a city letter carrier and supervisor at the USPS branch in the Bywater. Investigators said some of her responsibilities were to prepare and dispatch daily remittances for deposit, but instead she pocketed approximately $1,214. She was charged with misappropriation of postal funds, investigators said. Davis, a support employee and sales distribution clerk at the Slidell branch, worked the retail window counter and delivered mail to customer P.O. Boxes. Investigators said they determined she stole several pieces of mail containing checkbooks, gift cards, money and checks from September 2016 to January 2017. She was charged with theft of mail and delay or destruction of mail, officials said.
Duplessis, a letter carrier at the Carrollton and Elmwood locations, is accused of stealing several pieces of mail containing gift cards and cash from October 2017 to June 2018, officials said. Investigators said they also found 54 pieces of stolen mail in her personal vehicle. She was charged with theft of mail and delay or destruction of mail, officials said.

“The indictments obtained are a reflection of the hard work of our special agents who vigorously investigated these theft schemes and should serve as a deterrent for those that abuse the position entrusted in them,” said USPS Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Christopher Cave, southern area field office. The US Attorney’s Office worked with agents from the USPS and Slidell police.   [Source: WDSU6 News]

Retailers could ring up more than $1.1 trillion in holiday sales, topping last year

Retail sales are expected to grow between 5 and 5.6 percent from a year ago, according to Deloitte’s annual retail sales forecast for the holiday season. Sales between November of last year and January 2018 climbed 5 percent, totaling $1.05 trillion, according to data from the US Commerce Department. This year, Deloitte says holiday retail sales could top $1.10 trillion.

Retailers appear to have the odds in their favor this holiday season, with record-low unemployment across the US, strong consumer confidence and building sales momentum so far in 2018. “We think most retailers will have a good holiday season if they have a distinctive value proposition,” Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte’s US retail and distribution practice, told CNBC. “We think off-price will continue to do well, and there will be a rebound in luxury.”

Retail sales are expected to grow between 5 and 5.6 percent from a year ago, according to Deloitte’s annual forecast for the holiday season, which was released Wednesday. For comparison, sales between November of last year and January 2018 climbed 5 percent, totaling $1.05 trillion, according to data from the US Commerce Department. This year, Deloitte says holiday retail sales could top $1.10 trillion.

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E-commerce sales, meanwhile, are expected to rise as much as 22 percent through the holidays, Deloitte said. That would be higher than the 16.6 percent online retail sales growth from November 2017 to January 2018. Deloitte is predicting e-commerce sales by themselves could reach as much as $134 billion this holiday season, compared with about $110 billion a year ago. But as retailers have adapted to more sales shifting online, companies are less concerned today about whether the sale is being made in a store or on the internet. “Now it’s all a battle about share,” Sides said.   [Source: CNBC News]

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Two suspects sought after shoplifting $1,200 worth of medications

In South Carolina, the Lexington Police Department is seeking to identify two individuals involved in shoplifting at a Lowes Food. The department says the two stole over $1,200 worth of medications. They were also involved in similar incidents at other Lexington Stores. Pictures of the suspects can be found on the website. If you have any information about this incident, please call Detective Truel at 803-358-7262.   [Source: WACH Fox57]

Man who allegedly tried to steal peanuts faces felony charge

According to Gilford, New Hampshire, police Deputy Chief Kris Kelley, Corneau was in the Airport County Store, at Route 11 and Old Lakeshore Road, and less than a 10-minute walk from his residence, when a store employee saw Corneau allegedly attempting to steal a bag of peanuts. When the employee confronted Corneau he then allegedly assaulted the clerk. Kelley explained that, under state law, if someone uses physical force in the course of committing a theft — regardless of the value of what’s being taken — that meets the definition of robbery — a Class B felony, potentially punishable by 3½ to seven years in prison.   [Source: The Laconia Daily Sun]

Two of five US cardholders have fallen victim to credit card scams

The convenience and ease of credit cards comes with a downside – credit card fraud is a tempting and lucrative target for criminals.According to a new study, approximately 42% of consumers (roughly 103 million Americans) who use credit cards have experienced at least one fraudulent transaction in their lifetime. At an average loss of $1,319, credit card scammers have racked up approximately $136 billion in fraudulent charges – more than the current market value of McDonalds or General Electric and greater than the GDP of 132 countries. How do you avoid becoming a victim of credit card scams? You can’t eliminate all potential sources of credit card fraud, but you can greatly reduce the odds through pre-emptive action and good financial habits.

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Thieves love consumers who never check their accounts for fraudulent charges. According to the survey, over half (54%) of fraud victims fall into this category. They found out their card had been compromised when a retailer declined their cards. “You can’t rely on your credit card issuer to notice fraudulent behavior,” notes Jennifer McDermott, Consumer Advocate for “Make checking your statements a regular habit and ensure you can vouch for every transaction made, even if small.” Thieves may use small transactions to see if you are paying attention. If you don’t dispute smaller charges, scammers have a green light to rack up larger charges. That’s why McDermott recommends that you “report any suspicious activity on your card to the issuer immediately.”   [Source: Casper Star-Tribune]


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