Breaking News in the Industry: January 8, 2019

ID theft victim helps PD bust theft ring; 4 arrested

A Redwood City, California, resident who found out someone was using her credit card for a motel room in Belmont called police, leading to the arrest of four alleged identity thieves. On Thursday around 12:45 p.m., the woman called Belmont police after she received a fraud alert from her bank, saying her credit card was being used at a Motel 6. Officers went to the motel and found five people, hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, several credit cards and a gun in the room that had been rented with the woman’s credit card, Halleran said. Four of the five were arrested, while the fifth person, a 35-year-old from Bay Point, was interviewed and released.   [Source: Daily Post]

Prolific outlet shoplift duo busted

Delaware State Police have arrested two suspects in connection with multiple shopliftings in Rehoboth Beach. On Friday, troopers were dispatched to the Nike outlet in Bayside Outlet for a shoplifting complaint in which the suspects had fled the scene. A silver Oldsmobile Alero, which matched the description of a vehicle involved in the incident, was observed traveling northbound on Coastal Highway and a traffic stop was conducted. The driver, 32-year-old Donald L. Dailey Jr., of Milford, and his passenger, 27-year-old Ashley N. Cannon, of Milford, both had active warrants for shoplifting.

Dailey and Cannon were taken into custody without incident. Cannon was found in possession of drug paraphernalia and search of the vehicle revealed stolen merchandise. According to police, the suspects had also shoplifted from multiple other businesses since December, including Tommy Hilfiger, Marshalls, Nike, and Adidas.   [Source: Dover Post]

US retail industry saw nearly $369B in returns in 2018

Appriss Retail, a retail performance improvement solutions provider, has released an analysis of the cost and ramifications of U. S. consumer merchandise returns on retailers, jobs, and state economies. The “2018 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry” report, which analyzes results from the National Retail Federation’s 2018 Organized Retail Crime survey, states that overall value of returned merchandise in the United States during the past year was almost $369 billion. This cost does not include the overhead a retailer incurs when receiving, sorting, and repackaging useable goods for resale. In addition, $18 billion to $24 billion of that sum were fraudulent returns.

Return rates vary greatly by retail vertical; for example, drug stores/pharmacies showed a 2.14 percent blended return rate while auto parts retailers had a rate of 22.58 percent. Most verticals are within two or three percentage points of the National Retail Federation’s published median of a 10 percent return rate. The report contains the blended return rate for 10 retail verticals.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • 38 percent of retailers report an increase in online purchases returned to brick-and-mortar stores.
  • In 2018, return fraud and abuse cost American workers between 607,400 and 789,600 jobs. In addition, return fraud and abuse cost states between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion in lost sales tax. (A state-by-state breakdown is included in the report.)
  • For every $100.00 in returns, retailers lost $5.00 to return fraud throughout the year. At the holidays, that amount was estimated to increase to $6.50.

[Source: Global News Wire]

Employee wore stolen clothes out of store

A Belk worker in Louisiana is facing a theft charge after he allegedly wore over $1,000 in clothing out of the store.  According to an arrest report for Xavient Blakely, age 21, of Monroe, officers were dispatched to Belk at Pecanland Mall on an employee theft shortly after noon on Thursday.

A loss prevention associate told officers that Blakely committed theft over a short period of time. The estimated value of the items stolen is $1,176. Per the report, Blakely admitted to theft and said he wore the items out of the store without paying for them. He also wrote an admission of guilt, the affidavit states. Blakely was transported to MPD headquarters and then Ouachita Correctional Center on one theft charge.   [Source: News Star]

Cashier accused of stealing customers’ credit card numbers

A Kohl’s employee in northeast Indiana is under arrest for allegedly using credit card number she stole from customers in the store. Niakia Lashawn Baker is facing charges of credit card fraud and theft. According to WPTA-TV, several transactions at the Kohl’s store at the Northcrest Shopping Center in Fort Wayne were flagged late last month. All of the suspicious transactions traced back to Baker’s register. When the corporate officers contacted customers and were told they had not authorized the purchase in question, they knew something was up. Surveillance video captured the alleged crime taking place.

According to court documents, after customers would use their Kohl’s credit card in Baker’s line, the cashier could be seen texting. Not long after that, an unknown male, occasionally accompanied by an unknown female, would go to Baker’s register and purchase gift cards, using the credit card numbers of previous customers. After the transactions, Baker would receive Kohl’s Cash via the store’s rewards program and spend it. At this time, Kohl’s has reportedly lost nearly $1,100 to the alleged crime.   [Source: WTHR13 News]

Another successful holiday task force

Two arrests in a counterfeiting case out of Long Tree, Colorado. Three collars on an elaborate nationwide iPhone identity theft case that hit locally. A crackdown on a credit card cloning and skimming case out of Highlands Ranch. These are just some of the on-the-ground results already tallied by a retail fraud strike force formed fewer than three months ago in Douglas County. Dubbed the Financial Investigative Regional Strike Team — or FIRST — the group is made up of investigators from five different law enforcement agencies, including the US Secret Service.

FIRST, which launched in mid-October and operates out of the Douglas County sheriff’s headquarters in Castle Rock, has the singular focus of chasing down the fraudsters and organized retail theft rings that cause misery for victims and cost stores millions of dollars a year. It is a unique example in Colorado of collaboration and information-sharing across jurisdictional boundaries and even state lines. “Retail theft and fraud is the No. 1 crime we deal with in Lone Tree, and frankly, in the state,” said Lone Tree Police Chief Kirk Wilson. “This isn’t a new problem — it’s just becoming more prolific every year.”

The internet has only made the job of tracking and catching retail wretches that much more difficult, as criminals use encrypted chat programs to communicate with one another and tap the dark web to obtain sensitive personal and financial data from identity theft victims. In 2018, Colorado was ranked as the second-riskiest state for identity theft, according to a report from ASecureLife. The security firm calculated that 385 victims in the state lost more than $1.7 million to identity theft in 2017.  [Source: Security InfoWatch]

 

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