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ORC 4-5-12



2012 Archives

Two men busted in California for more than a dozen cell phone store robberies in Houston Nelvin Cook and Randolph Long were picked up after an attempted robbery at an Orange County jewelry store. Police say, between February and March 19, they hit at least 14 stores across our metro area. Surveillance video helped investigators link the pair to the crimes. Police say they used the same small revolver with a red laser light attachment in each robbery. (Source

Counterfeit credit card gang member pleads guilty to purchasing $28,000 in gift cards from Giant Eagle and Wal-Mart stores in western PA. Robert Gardner faces up to 21 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine or both for using stolen information to make $28,000 in purchases of gift cards in 2010. (Source

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

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

Leading Online Marketplaces Have Taken Steps to Combat e-Fencing, but It Is Unclear If Additional Federal Action Is Warranted

eBay, the Largest Online Marketplace, Has Recently Taken Steps to Deter e-Fencing, but Varying Business Models and Available Resources Impact Efforts of Other Online Marketplaces

Continued from yesterday

While eBay is the domestic online marketplace most commonly cited by stakeholders, other online marketplaces, such as,, and Craigslist, could also be potential outlets for stolen merchandise. Like eBay, these marketplaces forbid the sale of certain goods on their sites and, to varying degrees, undertake some review of listings. However, these other marketplaces operate differently and some do not have the resources nor conduct the volume of transactions as eBay, which could make it difficult to implement the kinds of initiatives that eBay has started. For example, and are primarily online retailers, directly selling goods to consumers. In addition to selling directly, these sites offer a way for other merchants, individuals or small “storefronts” to sell to their customers. This sales stream accounts for approximately 30 percent of units sold on in 2010 and about .5 percent of’s overall business. Even though these third-party sales are not their primary business, both Amazon and Overstock have taken steps to ensure the integrity of their sites. All sellers on Amazon must first register with the site, providing name, address, and an active credit-card number. In addition, sellers must provide a telephone number to finalize registration, which is only complete when a personal identification number is entered during a call to the given number. In certain product categories—such as clothing and accessories, electronics, and watches—Amazon limits the addition of new sellers and closely monitors their performance to ensure products are delivered in a timely manner and in the condition described. According to Amazon, the company guarantees the condition of the item and its timely delivery when customers purchase products through third-party sellers on its site. Amazon also monitors the rates of customer complaints, claims, disputed credit-card transactions and other metrics in an effort to ensure that sellers are maintaining a high standard of fulfillment and customer service. Sellers who fail to meet performance requirements are blocked from selling. In addition, Amazon has security processes in place to flag suspicious activity, which may include changes in seller activity. Furthermore, like eBay, all new sellers on Amazon are subject to payment holds. Amazon disburses seller funds every 14 days.

Like Amazon, Overstock requires registration from all buyers and sellers, and verifies registration details through a credit card verification process, affirming that the registrant reported information matches credit-card-billing information. In addition, the company officials stated that staff manually reviews listings, going through every listing category daily looking for fraudulent auctions. When Overstock flags suspicious listings, it is to request proof of ownership of the offered goods from the seller. As with Amazon and eBay, Overstock also places limits on the amount of product being sold by new sellers until they have established a favorable seller rating. Both Amazon and Overstock indicated that they are willing to work with merchants and law enforcement partners as needed to address potential e-fencing activities, and they have done so in the past.

Continued tomorrow

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