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2012 Archives

South Florida is an uphill battleground for the U.S. Secret Service fighting increasingly high-tech credit card crime. Two men were indicted for ripping off $600,000 from Apple stores around the country by using counterfeit credit cards. Florida topped the nation with 33,595 identity-theft complaints in 2011. Hackers and credit card "skimmers" sell stolen bank and credit-card information from unsuspecting users, then make fake credit cards linked to real accounts. Counterfeit-credit-card trafficking rings make it easy for criminals to get everything online. On March 16, federal authorities busted alleged members of a nationwide fake credit card operation on racketeering charges. The 19 people arrested, including three men from Florida, allegedly ran a large-scale network of complex financial scams. It's a constant battle," said Lynch. "[Criminals] can get on Interstate 95 and hit a lot of places in a weekend." (Source

Northeast Portland fencing operation busted this weekend that employed so-called "boosters" An apartment raided by police last week resembled a mini-mart, with tubs of diapers, lotions, toilet paper, shampoos and bottles of Tide detergent stacked in closets, stashed in cardboard boxes covered with blankets and even stuffed in drawers and shelves of a living room entertainment center. Investigators say they're finding these fencing operations popping up in apartment complexes across the metro area, particularly in east Multnomah County. They estimate this one caused more than $200,000 a year in losses for Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer stores. (Source

ORC ring member in Tennessee turns herself in to police after hitting T.J. Maxx stores in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Nance is believed to be one of four suspects involved in the shoplifting ring. The remaining three suspects are not yet in custody, police said. (Source

Preventing Organized Retail Crime. This nine minute video explains ORC and what retailers and law enforcement should know about this increasing trend. The video includes interviews with LP professionals, as well as past crime ring members, making the video a well-rounded look into the world of organized retail crime.  (source

Excerpts from GAO-11-675:  Efforts to Combat Organized Retail Crime

The U.S. Government Accountability Office ORC report June 2011

LERPnet Provides a Mechanism to Share Data Nationally, but Stakeholders Report That Use of the Database by Retailers and Law Enforcement Has Been Limited

Continued from Friday

In April 2011, LERPnet was acquired by ISO Crime Analytics, a data-management company with experience running large information-sharing databases for the retail, insurance, and banking industries. LERPnet 2.0, as it is being called, is intended to address some of the criticisms leveled at the original LERPnet when it becomes operational sometime in the summer of 2011. For example, the system is to have link analysis tools to help identify potential patterns of criminal activity and enhanced notification mechanisms for retailers. Additionally, ISO Crime Analytics is planning to hire a full-time data analyst to supplement the automatic tools. Working with a retail advisory board of 15 to 18 members, ISO Crime Analytics is to address standardization of data entry, including providing uniform definitions to aid in consistent reporting of incidents. The company is also working to simplify data entry of theft incidents, in part, by further enabling direct uploads from retailers’ existing case management systems. While the CEO of ISO Crime Analytics acknowledged that it will take time for the alerts to be "real-time," the goal is to get incident information uploaded into the system as quickly as possible to enhance alerts available to retailers and law enforcement that want to receive them. LERPnet 2.0 will be capable of linking to other crime databases such as the National Crime Information Center, but the specific databases are to be decided by the retail advisory board, which the company said was to be formed in June 2011.

ISO Crime Analytics indicated that the system is first and foremost a retail tool, since retailers are the entities most responsible for identifying stolen product, inputting incident details into LERPnet, and using that data to make links with other retailers and build potential ORC cases. An FBI official responsible for coordinating ORC investigations similarly stated that retailers are best suited to use LERPnet to help identify patterns of ORC activity, make links between stolen merchandise and goods being sold online, and identify major cases that may merit federal involvement. For example, one retail investigator noted that certain brands or products may be store-specific, making individual retailers the most appropriate stakeholder to identify which of those products could be potentially fenced online. The FBI official further indicated that the value of LERPnet is in making it easier for retailers to aggregate cases—thus demonstrating a bigger impact with a federal nexus—and that the agency typically relies on retailers to bring them ORC cases because of the FBI’s limited resources and other threat priorities. He noted that once an ORC case is presented to the FBI for potential involvement, agents would be able to use the FBI’s internal case management system to identify if any other cases involving the same criminal suspects or organizations were open nationwide, potentially linking ORC to other crimes. ISO Crime Analytics hopes that the new system will also eventually be of use to local law enforcement. For example, a company official noted that law enforcement may benefit from retailer alerts for areas within their jurisdiction or could potentially match stolen goods discovered to reported thefts. Since LERPnet 2.0 has yet to become operational, it is unclear how widely it will be used by law enforcement.


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