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Alaina Kring, CPhT promoted to Senior Manager - Organized Retail Crime for Ulta Beauty

Alaina has been with Ulta Beauty for three years, starting with the company in 2018 as an Area Loss Prevention Manager. Before her promotion to Senior Manager - Organized Retail Crime, she spent a year as Lead ORC Manager - West Division and a year as ALPM - ORC. Prior to joining Ulta, she spent more than two years with Ross Stores as an Area Loss Prevention Manager. Earlier in her career, she spent nearly four years with Walgreens as Manager, Asset Protection. Congratulations, Alaina!

See All the Executives 'Moving Up' Here   |   Submit Your New Corporate Hires/Promotions or New Position






Violence & Protests

Federal grand jury indicts 4 former Minneapolis police officers on charges they violated George Floyd's civil rights
MINNEAPOLIS - Federal grand jury indicts 4 former Minneapolis police officers on charges they violated George Floyd's civil rights.

The federal charges could add additional time in prison or other penalties for the four former officers, independent of state-level convictions.

The three others - J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao - are facing state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter, in a trial set to begin in late August. washingtonpost.com

Gun Violence Surging Across the Country
Startling surge in L.A. bloodshed as COVID-19 fades: 'Too many guns in
too many hands'
In the first four months of 2021, gunshot victims have arrived at a much greater rate than usual.

The Level 1 trauma center in Torrance treats about 3,500 patients a year; an average of 15% experience "penetrating trauma" such as a shooting or stabbing, said Putnam, chief of the trauma and acute care surgery division.

So far this year, the figure stands at 19%, he said. From Jan. 1 to April 27, the hospital treated 142 shooting victims, compared with 76 during the same period last year - an increase of nearly 87%.

"This has definitely been one of the most stressful times in my entire career," said Putnam, a surgeon for 20 years who scrubs in and works 24-hour trauma shifts once or twice a week.

As COVID-19 began hospitalizing and killing more people in Los Angeles last year, so did shootings in the street. The increased bloodshed, much of it linked to gangs, surged as the economy faltered, leading to the deadliest year of violence in L.A. in a decade.

Surrounding areas of L.A. County saw similar increases in gun violence. The gun violence, however, is not receding.

According to Los Angeles Police Department data, the city as of Saturday had seen 465 shootings since Jan. 1, an almost 67% increase over the same period last year. Homicides, at 115 as of Sunday, were up more than 26%.

Preliminary data from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department show that homicides in surrounding areas increased by more than 113% in the first three months of this year, with 64 killings, compared with 30 during the same period in 2020. Aggravated assaults with guns, including shootings, jumped 82% during that time, from 255 to 465.

Police officials across the country have noted similar forces, as their cities - big and small, led by Democrats and Republicans - also suffer under surging gun violence. Criminologists have pointed to the pandemic, and its multitude of impacts, as the only common element across the country. latimes.com

Shootings skyrocketed in April, new NYPD data shows
The Big Apple endured a bloody April with nearly triple the number of shootings compared to last year, according to NYPD data released Wednesday.

The NYPD recorded 149 incidents of gun violence across the five boroughs last month - including the most violent week of the year, when 50 people were shot, the statistics show.

Gun violence only dipped slightly during April 2020 - 56 incidents compared to 62 in 2019 - despite the city struggling through the first wave of the COVID-19.

The NYPD also continued to tout its number of gun arrests - 223 last month - in line with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has repeatedly claimed that more firearms busts would help curb gun violence.

Meanwhile, hate crimes against Asian Americans in the city exploded 400 percent this year - 80 incidents versus 16 last year - with new cases of anti-Asian attacks reported every day. The NYPD, however, only began tracking the bias category around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, major crimes - including murder, rape and robbery - were up 30 percent compared to last year - but were down 3.2% compared to 2019's tally.

Only murder and car thefts had gone up from pre-pandemic numbers. nypost.com

After the death of George Floyd, lawmakers in Md., Va. and D.C. set out to hold police more accountable. Here are some key measures.
In Maryland, the General Assembly enacted sweeping police accountability measures, then overturned Gov. Larry Hogan's (R) vetoes of key changes. Provisions in the bills have different effective dates, with some taking effect in October and others next summer.

In the District, lawmakers passed emergency legislation last year. A vote is expected in coming weeks to make the laws permanent. A commission tasked with reshaping policing in the city has recommended a raft of changes that the city council could take up.

In Virginia, the General Assembly launched a special session last fall focused on police reforms and then focused on those issues again in the recently concluded session. washingtonpost.com

Shocking video shows random stabbing of two Asian women in San Francisco
Video published on Thursday shows the random stabbing of two elderly Asian women in San Francisco - including one who was attacked so brutally that the blade broke off in her body, according to a local report.

The chilling footage, obtained by KGO-TV, shows the attacker creeping up behind one of the women at a bus stop in the California city, around 7 p.m. Tuesday. He stabs her in the back - before calmly approaching the second victim and knifing her, too.

A bystander rushes over to help and cradles the woman, who had fallen backward onto the ground, according to the shocking clip. nypost.com

COVID Update

252M Vaccinations Given

US: 33.3M Cases - 594K Dead - 26.1M Recovered
Worldwide: 156.8M Cases - 3.2M Dead - 134.1M Recovered

Former Senior Loss Prevention Executive
Know of any fallen LP exec? Let's remember & recognize.

Private Industry Security Guard Deaths: 279   Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: 297
*Red indicates change in total deaths

Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low
Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are now at their lowest levels in seven months, thanks to the vaccines.

The big picture: The vaccines are turning the tide in America's battle with the coronavirus. Deaths and serious illnesses have dropped significantly, and now cases are falling too - an important piece of protection for the future, if we can keep it up.

By the numbers: The U.S. averaged about 48,000 new cases per day over the past week.

That's a 13% improvement over the week before, and it's the first time since October that average daily cases have dipped below 50,000.

20 states saw fewer new cases over the past week than they did the week before, while outbreaks got bigger in 10 states.

The bottom line: The vaccines are working. They are saving lives and beating back the virus right now, and they can minimize the virus' presence in our lives in the future - if enough people get them. axios.com

'Turning the Corner': U.S. Covid Outlook Reaches Most Hopeful Point Yet
Cases and deaths have dipped, and vaccinations make scientists hopeful, even as variants mean the coronavirus is here to stay.  nytimes.com

Studies of hospital workers suggest COVID-19 vaccines really do prevent coronavirus infections
Both studies compare coronavirus infection rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated people who work at a single medical center. And in both cases, being vaccinated was indeed associated with a significantly lower risk of testing positive for an infection. latimes.com

Legally, requiring vaccines is probably (mostly) fine
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance in December stating that employers are legally permitted to require employees to be vaccinated. But companies are still worried about litigation, in part because several states have proposed laws that would limit their ability to require vaccines. Some of those restrictions pertain only to vaccines that, like those for Covid, have been granted only emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer and BioNTech became the first companies to apply for full approval of their Covid-19 vaccine today, and others are expected to follow suit. nytimes.com

Companies are resorting to carrots over sticks
Darden offers hourly employees two hours of pay for each dose they receive. Target offers a $5 coupon to all customers and employees who receive their vaccination at a CVS at Target location. And many companies are hosting on-site clinics to make it easier to get vaccinated.

Others are experimenting with return-to-work policies that aren't all or nothing. Salesforce will allow up to 100 fully vaccinated employees to volunteer to work together on designated floors of certain U.S. offices. Some companies are mandating the shots only for new hires. nytimes.com

First COVID Vaccine to Seek Full FDA Approval
Pfizer/BioNTech seek full FDA approval for their Covid-19 vaccine
Pfizer/BioNTech has initiated its application to the US Food and Drug Administration for full FDA approval of its Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and older, the companies said Friday. This is the first Covid-19 vaccine in the United States to be assessed for full approval from the FDA.

Pfizer's mRNA two-shot vaccine is currently being used in the US under emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. The companies say 170 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed across the US to date. cnn.com

Retail & Grocery Transformed By the Pandemic
How Covid-19 Is Evolving Retail And Grocery Jobs For The American Workforce
Coming off the heels of the peak of the pandemic, retail and grocery business leaders are taking some time to assess the market and properly identify customer needs. Businesses now face the challenge of working towards financial stability and sustainability, while keeping up with the unpredictable nature of the market. Leaders are also taking a look at the steps their businesses need to take to keep up with shopper demands as businesses continue to re-open around the country.

Gary Drenik: According to Prosper Insights & Analytics data, around 37% of Adults 18+ said they are focusing on just what they need when making purchases this month, (not what they want), which is approximately 10% lower than April 2020. With lockdown behind us, people are ready to spend more money on things they enjoy right now, including clothes, food and more. How might this affect customer service initiatives, especially training? And is upselling in the cards right now?

Steven Kramer: Even though customers do enjoy the experience of shopping in-store, they enjoy the convenience of being able to shop virtually, from their homes - including curbside pickup. Retail workers will need to be trained to provide customer service, fulfill online orders, and take on new responsibilities they normally wouldn't be doing a year ago. Upselling is not off limits.

Drenik: That said, shoppers are also shopping online at about the same rate as they were at New Year's. Could this effectively change retail workers' job descriptions for good? Can we expect them to be doing fulfillment and face-to-face customer service at every shift - and how might retailers properly staff each store for floor work versus fulfillment?

Kramer: Yes, there has been a notable shift in the type of work frontline workers are doing. For one, online fulfillment orders have increased greatly - tasking more employees to stock shelves and fulfill these orders in addition to being on the sales floor. The in-store experience has also changed. Due to the pandemic, there are new ways to communicate with customers, protocols for store capacity and safety measures that must be enforced every day. Because of this, we are seeing a large demand for better task management solutions to help manage the increased cost of doing business. forbes.com

Unruly airline passenger behavior spikes amid zero tolerance policy: FAA
Airlines are seeing a spike in bad behavior among people flying despite a zero-tolerance policy, with 1,300 reports of unruly passengers made since February, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

The agency has so far identified potential violations in about 260 of the reported cases, an FAA spokesman told Fox News on Tuesday.

Officials also initiated approximately 20 enforcement cases and sent notices to the passengers, the spokesman said. The agency is also "preparing a number of additional enforcement actions."

Fox News has previously reported that thousands of Americans (upward of 2,800) were listed on the collective "no-fly" lists of the nation's major airlines as of mid-January, with the carriers confirming that many had been banned from travel for defying mask mandates during the course of the pandemic.

However, other bad behavior has included drinking excessively and engaging in physical or verbal assaults, NBC News reported. The assaults included political intimidation and harassment of lawmakers, flight crews and other passengers. nypost.com

Hundreds of COVID victims' bodies still in refrigerated trucks on NYC waterfront
The bodies of hundreds of New Yorkers are still sitting in a refrigerated morgue on the Brooklyn waterfront more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Big Apple. The remains of about 750 people are in long-term storage in the specially designed disaster morgue that opened in April, a medical official told a City Council committee meeting on Wednesday.

The facility was set up to give families extra time, but the arrangement was always intended to be temporary, said Dina Maniotis, executive deputy commissioner of the Chief Medical Examiner's Office.

Families of many of the dead still in storage have requested that the city bury their remains on Hart Island, the city's potter's field. The families of others have fallen out of contact with the city, Maniotis said. nypost.com

Retailers Fighting for COVID-19 Insurance Coverage
To No Avail - Judges Shutting Them Down Across the Board

Alabama Judge Deals Twin Losses In Virus Coverage Rows
An Alabama federal judge threw out two separate COVID-19 coverage bids brought by a hotel operator and a clothing store owner, saying they failed to show that virus particles caused any insurable damage. law360.com

Retailers Fight For Coverage In Ohio COVID Class Action
A group of small businesses urged an Ohio federal judge to keep alive their proposed class action seeking coverage for losses from COVID-19 and related government shutdowns, saying that virus particles altered the air and surfaces in their shops. law360.com

State Farm Wins Philly Fashion Boutique's Virus Coverage Bid
A Pennsylvania federal judge on Wednesday freed a State Farm insurance unit from having to pay for a Philadelphia fashion boutique's pandemic-related losses, holding that the retailer failed to allege property damage and that the policy's virus exclusion bars coverage.  law360.com

New Approach: Gov't Closure Orders, Not Virus, Caused Losses, 7th Circ. Told
An Illinois bar and a jewelry store have urged the Seventh Circuit to reverse a lower court's finding that their insurance policies' virus exclusion bars coverage for pandemic-related losses, arguing that the district court wrongly held that it was COVID-19 instead of government orders that caused their losses. law360.com

What New Technologies And Trends Will Shape Video Analytics?

The topic of video analytics has been talked and written about for decades, and yet is still one of the cutting-edge themes in the physical security industry. Some say yesterday's analytics systems tended to overpromise and underdeliver, and there are still some skeptics.

However, newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are reinvigorating the sector and enabling it to finally live up to its promise. We asked this week's Expert Panel Roundtable: What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics in 2021?

Fredrik Nilsson
Vice President of the Americas, Axis Communications

Cloud computing is a widely discussed topic in the enterprise security IT space, but its counterpart - edge computing - is an arguably more useful and impactful network infrastructure that is transforming the way analytics and data are handled, processed, and delivered from millions of devices around the world. Edge computing places computing resources closer to the user or the device, at the 'edge' of the network, rather than in a hyperscale cloud data center many miles away from the 'core' of the network.

Processing data at the edge lowers bandwidth consumption and reduces latency, allowing end users to make faster decisions in critical situations. In video surveillance, edge computing allows data to be processed in the camera itself. And thanks to advances in technology, IP cameras increasingly have the processing power to run AI- or deep learning-based analytics and algorithms in real-time.

See more expert responses here: securityinformed.com

Fabricating Test Results of Products Going to Market in Stores
Owner CEO of Consumer Products Testing Company Pleads Guilty to $46M Fraud
GABRIEL LETIZIA Jr., the owner and executive director of AMA Laboratories, Inc. ("AMA"), a consumer products testing company in New City, pled guilty today to defrauding customers by reporting laboratory test results for panelist testing that was not fully performed. Former AMA employees David Winne, Mayya Tatsene, Patrycja Wojtowicz, and Kaitlyn Gold previously pled guilty in connection with their respective roles in the scheme.

"As he has now admitted, Gabriel Letizia schemed for decades to defraud customers of his laboratory, and caused sunscreens and other consumer products to be sold and marketed to consumers on the basis of false laboratory testing reports."

LETIZIA is the owner and executive director of AMA, a consumer products testing company in Rockland County, New York. David Winne served as AMA's technical director, Mayya Tatsene served as AMA's clinical laboratory director, Patrycja Wojtowicz served as AMA's associate director of clinical studies, and Kaitlyn Gold served as AMA's supervising laboratory technician. AMA tested the safety and efficacy of cosmetics, sunscreens and other products on specified numbers of volunteer panelists for consumer products companies.

From 1987 through April 2017, LETIZIA and his co-conspirators defrauded AMA's customers of more than $46 million by testing products on materially lower numbers of panelists than the numbers specified and paid for by AMA's customers. LETIZIA, and AMA employees acting under his direction, sent the customers fraudulent reports, which falsely represented that AMA had tested the products on the number of panelists specified by the customers, causing the introduction of misbranded products into interstate commerce. justice.gov

CFO Stole Simply to Enrich Himself
Former CFO of Alden Shoe Co. Pleads Guilty in $30 Million Embezzlement
Richard Hajjar, 64, of Duxbury, pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud, unlawful monetary transactions and filing a false tax return.

From at least 2011 through October 2019, when he was terminated by Alden Shoe Co., Hajjar embezzled money by writing checks to himself from company bank accounts and transferring funds from company accounts to his personal accounts and to another individual. In total, Hajjar embezzled approximately $30 million which he used to enrich himself and to buy gifts and luxury travel for others close to him, including private flights to the Caribbean and diamond jewelry.

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss, whichever is greater. The charge of unlawful monetary transaction provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, or twice the value of the criminally derived property. The charge of filing a false tax return provides for a sentence of up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. justice.gov

Predictable-Scheduling First Big Victim
New York City Sues Chipotle for $150M in Alleged Work Schedule Violations
Chipotle Mexican Grill is facing a $150 million lawsuit for allegedly violating New York City's predictable-scheduling law at the fast-casual restaurant chain's 80 to 90 locations in the city.

Among other mandates, the Fair Workweek Law requires retail and fast-food employers in the Big Apple to provide employees with 14 days of notice regarding schedule changes or pay employees a premium.

New York City officials said Chipotle's violations of the predictable-scheduling law were "widespread" from 2017 to 2019. The lawsuit claims that Chipotle changed employee schedules without proper notice, denied employees time off and failed to provide premium pay, in addition to other violations. The suit covers about 6,500 Chipotle workers in the city who experienced about three scheduling infractions on average each week, according to the lawsuit. shrm.org

Mastercard: April retail sales up 23.3%; trends indicate recovering economy
Restaurant sector posts second straight month of growth

Retail sales (excluding automotive and gasoline) rose 23.3% year-over-year in April, and were up 10.8% compared to April 2019. Online sales in April grew 19.9% and 95.6%, respectively, compared to the same periods.

April also marks the second consecutive month of positive growth for the restaurant category. Spending at restaurants grew 118.8% in April versus the year-ago period when widespread shut-downs crippled the industry, and were up 5.7% compared 2019.

Despite the record-shattering e-commerce growth in April 2020, online sales remained up year-over-year. E-commerce share continues to make up a bigger portion of total retail spend overall (21.6%), as well as in categories such as apparel (61.7%), department stores (21.0%) and jewelry (15.7%).

Many of the depressed sectors in 2020, including department stores (+202.7%), jewelry (+255%) and lodging (+319.1%), are showing some of the largest year-over-year gains as retailers gear up for the return of gatherings and events. Department store sales grew 9.6% compared to 2019. chainstoreage.com

Quarterly Results

Carvana Q1 Units sold up 76%, revenue up 104%

Floor & Decor Q1 comp's up 31.1%, net sales up 41%

Costco April only - comp's up 32.5%, sales up 33.5%

Rent-A-Center Q1 retail business comp's up 23.4%, consolidated revenue up 47.7%

Qurate Retail Inc. (QVC - HSN & Other platforms) Q1 total revenue up 14%
Quarte Brands- QxH up 8%, QVC Inter. up 22%, Zulily up 19%, Cornerstone up 41%

Shake Shack Q1 comp's up 5.7%, total revenue up 8.5%

Weis Markets Q1 comp's up 1.4%, net sales up 2.1%

Loblaws Q1 comp's up 0.1% for food segment, sales up 1.8% for food retail. Total Retail sales edged up 0.7%
Loblaws drug segment comp's down 1.7%- with 6.4% decrease in front-end comp's and a 3.5% increase in pharmacy comp's, drug store segment total sales fell 1.9%

Tapestry Q1 Coach net sales down 9%, Kate Spade net sales down 21%, Stuart Weitzman net sales down 35%, total net sales down 14%

Sprouts Q1 comp's down 9.4%, net sales down 4%

EZ Corp Q1 merchandise sales down 21%, PSC down 21%, total revenue down 17%

Regis Salons Q3 System-wide comps down 20.7%, franchise comp's down 19.3%, co. owned comp's down 28.8%, total revenue down 34.8%

Senior LP & AP Jobs Market

Associate Vice President, Inventory Control job posted for Barneys New York
Reporting to the Vice President, Fraud & Risk, the Associate Vice President, Inventory Control is responsible for defining and ensuring the successful execution of asset protection and inventory controls throughout the organization. The AVP, Inventory Control will lead accounting controls, inventory control compliance, financial forecasting, and will support operational decision making. This individual must possess strong analytical skills as the position will require the ability to review large data sets and build reporting that will identify opportunities to minimize losses and exposures related to inventory loss and item file accuracy. ivyexec.com

Senior Manager, Asset Protection job posted for HelloFresh
Due to growth, HelloFresh is looking to add a Sr. Manager of Asset Protection to our team! As Sr. Manager of Asset Protection, you will join forces with the Director of Corporate Safety and Security to head up workplace security initiatives for our entire US Operations! You will develop and manage programs and teams in the trenches to promote HelloFresh's vision, inspire change, raise the bar on asset protection, and champion a safe and secure environment! hellofresh.com

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VIDEO: The Surprising Anti-Theft Feature
of Prosegur's Edge D-Arm Tag

Do shoplifters bring illegal detachers to your stores to try to remove your EAS tags? The Edge DeArm Pin tag has a big surprise for them, as seen in this video: it will alarm if removed with just a magnetic detacher.

Instead, the tag needs to be passed over a deactivator pad at the point of sale, and then removed with a magnetic detacher - something that's very easy for store associates, but difficult for shoplifters.

No additional training or equipment is needed for your employees as the Edge D-Arm tag works with your existing detachers and deactivators.

The data sheet and more information about this new solution is available at Prosegur's website.





EU is Clamping Down on Internet Scraping & Data Flow Out of the EU
Data Scraping in EU Regulators' Sights As Spain Orders Equifax to Delete Information
Collecting personal data from public sources without individuals' consent violates privacy law, regulator says

European data protection regulators are investigating companies' use of data they scrape from public sources. Spain's data protection authority recently ordered Equifax Inc. to delete data it collected this way and pay a fine of about $1.1 million for using in credit reports publicly available information from tax authorities and other government sources about individuals' outstanding debts.

Companies are under growing scrutiny for how they handle data they gather manually or with an automated process from public sources because using it without individuals' permission can violate European privacy rules. Regulators are looking into recent incidents affecting users of Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s LinkedIn, and have sanctioned smaller firms for data scraping.

The Spanish authority's penalty last month against Equifax highlights the risks companies face when using scraped data from individuals in EU countries. wsj.com

EU's Watching The Data Flow to U.S.
European Authorities Scrutinize Data Flows to U.S.
Regulators and courts are asking for proof of how companies protect data that leaves the EU

AdvertisementEuropean privacy regulators and courts are looking into how companies transfer personal information to the U.S. and have ordered suspensions of some data flows.

Portugal's data protection authority last week required the country's statistical institute to stop sending personal information to the U.S. from Portuguese residents filling out the national census, after determining that there weren't sufficient privacy safeguards in the institute's contract with California-based cloud security and infrastructure provider Cloudflare Inc.

The decision is the latest move by European officials to clamp down on how companies transfer data from the European Union to the U.S. following a ruling last July from the bloc's top court. The ruling demanded additional privacy protections if businesses move data outside the 27-country union. Regulators around Europe are looking into similar data-transfer issues, and privacy advocates have filed lawsuits to try to force companies to keep personal data from entering the U.S. wsj.com

Coveware Q1 2021 Report Shows Huge 43% Spike in Ransomware Payments
Over Q4 2020
Coveware issued its Q1 2021 Ransomware Report on April 26, 2021, which concludes that "[D]ata exfiltration extortion continues to be prevalent and we have reached an inflection point where the vast majority of ransomware attacks now include the theft of corporate data."

The Report states that the average ransom payment increased 43 percent from $154,108 in Q4 2020 to $220,000 in Q1 2021, and the median payment in Q1 2021 increased from $49,450 to $78,398, a 58 percent increase. According to Coveware, the activity by CloP in Q1 2021 was "extremely active."

Seventy-seven percent of all threats included the threat to leak exfiltrated data, which was an increase of 10 percent from Q4 2020. Sodinokibi continued to dominate the market share as a ransom type at 14.2 percent, followed by Conti V2, Lockbit, CloP, Egregor, Avaddon, Ryuk, Darkside, Suncrypt, Netwalker, and Phobos. Of these, Egregor has sunset its operations, and Netwalker was dismantled by law enforcement.

The top vectors for attacks included remote desktop protocol compromise, "phishing emails that install credential stealing malware," software vulnerability, and vulnerabilities in VPN appliances. jdsupra.com

DHS Secretary: Small Businesses Hard-Hit by Ransomware
Alejandro Mayorkas Says Attacks Increased 300% in Past Year

About 50% to 70% of all ransomware attacks in the U.S. are targeting small and medium-sized businesses, costing the victims an estimated total of $350 million in the last year, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Wednesday in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"The losses from ransomware are staggering. And the pace at which those losses are being realized is equally staggering," Mayorkas said, noting this is why DHS has made battling ransomware a priority.

In March, Mayorkas announced that DHS would conduct a 60-day "sprint" exercise focused on battling ransomware. Then in April, the Justice Department created the Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, which will include DOJ officials and representatives from the FBI and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

"We developed a series of sprints in the cybersecurity arena, and ransomware is the first sprint because of two important criteria: Number one, the gravity of the threat. And number two, the threat is not tomorrow's threat, but it is upon us," Mayorkas said in his Wednesday presentation. govinfosecurity.com

An 8 Year View From the Press Box in the Data Breach Stadium
Troy Hunt: Organizations Make Security Choices Tough for Users
The Have I Been Pwned founder took the virtual stage at Black Hat Asia to share stories about his work and industrywide challenges.

Data breach notification website Have I Been Pwned (HIBP) has processed more than 11 billion compromised records from breached websites and publicly accessible databases since it was launched in 2013, offering a window into attacks and security issues that put users' data at risk.

Founder and security expert Troy Hunt launched the site as a "fun little project" meant to index data breaches so people could search them, he said in a keynote at this week's virtual Black Hat Asia. HIBP started with 155 million records; years later, an "endless flow of data" from hundreds of breaches has brought stories and lessons on security incidents' underlying causes.

In many cases, the deluge of breaches fueling HIBP can be linked to organizations' poor security practices, as Hunt discussed in a series of examples. Some make it easy for attackers to strike. darkreading.com




Big Brother is Watching
Amazon wants to make sure drivers who don't work for the company are well-groomed and nice online
Amazon is infamous for tightly controlling its workers and contractors, but a report from Bloomberg shows that it also tries to control the employees of companies that it contracts. The company has explicit policies concerning personal grooming and social media etiquette that apply to the drivers from other delivery companies. The rules govern everything from how the delivery people look (they must have clean fingernails, teeth, ears, and hair) to how they smell (no bad breath, body odor, or immodest perfume).

The rules also apparently forbid drivers from making social media posts that could be considered obscene. That by itself wouldn't be remarkable, but it's worth noting that these policies are applied to drivers that don't work for Amazon, and so reach much further than the company's official employee base. The drivers are instead employees of local delivery companies that are contracted by Amazon through its Delivery Service Partners program.

The workers for these companies are the same ones affected by the company's AI-powered cameras. Drivers have to consent to always-on cameras monitoring them for things like distracted driving or traffic violations if they want to work (or keep working) by delivering packages for the retail giant. Amazon's plan to install the cameras was discovered through a video where an Amazon manager explained the partnership between the company and the camera manufacturer. Vice has since discovered driver consent forms as well.

Amazon is well-known for not giving its employees (or those who work under its umbrella) much leeway when it comes to handling their personal lives - many warehouse employees have to micromanage their time away from work to avoid being fired, and the company allegedly constantly texted employees during the recent Alabama union drive. Amazon's leadership, including Jeff Bezos, has claimed that it doesn't treat its employees like robots - but it's hard to look at rules like this for drivers who aren't even contractors and believe that's the case. theverge.com

As Online Shopping Booms, PayPal Surges
PayPal sees record earnings, volume amid sustained e-commerce surge
PayPal Holdings Inc. saw a record amount of volume flow through its platform in the first quarter as the e-commerce wave continued even amid the gradual reopening of the in-person economy.

The company generated first-quarter net income of $1.1 billion, or 92 cents a share, up from $84 million, or 7 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. The adjusted-earnings figure is a new quarterly record for PayPal.

PayPal's revenue for the quarter totaled $6.03 billion, up from $4.62 billion a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been projecting $5.91 billion. PayPal also upped its full-year forecast. The company now expects $25.75 billion in revenue, an approximately 20% increase from a year earlier, whereas its prior outlook called for 19% growth. marketwatch.com

Jeff Bezos sells $2.5B in Amazon stock as exit approaches

Walmart looks to 3rd parties for e-commerce growth







Newark, NJ: Passaic County Couple Sentenced for Roles in $4.5 Million Food Stamps Fraud Scheme
A Passaic County, New Jersey, couple were sentenced to prison today for engaging in a food stamps fraud scheme, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced. Ibrahim Zughbi, 67, of Wayne, New Jersey, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and his wife, Miriam Zughbi, 63, also of Wayne, was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Ibrahim Zughbi previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit fraud and money laundering. Miriam Zughbi previously pleaded guilty to an information charging her with conspiracy to defraud the United States through SNAP benefit fraud. U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson imposed the sentences today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in these cases and statements made in court: From January 2014 to January 2018, the defendants owned and worked at Jamaica Meat Market, a medium-size grocery store in Paterson, New Jersey, that was authorized to accept benefits provided by SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retail food stores approved for participation in SNAP may sell food in exchange for SNAP benefits. They may not exchange SNAP benefits for cash. While the Zughbis ran the store, another individual owned the store and was the person registered with SNAP. From between 2014 and 2018, through unlawfully exchanging SNAP benefits for cash, Ibrahim and Miriam Zughbi defrauded SNAP more than $4.5 million.  justice.gov

Eight Indicted in Northeast Ohio $750,000+ Credit Card Fraud Scheme
Charged in a 22-count indictment with conspiracy to commit access device fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft are Ring Leader - Diontae WALLACE, 35, of Warrensville Heights, Ohio; Adrienne CAMPBELL, 53, of Cleveland, Ohio; JOVANNA BROWN, 33, of Warrensville Heights, Ohio; Marcellus SMITH, 27, of Cleveland, Ohio; James LUKE, 43, of Cleveland, Ohio; Glenn KING, 27, of Cleveland, Ohio; Shirley LADSON, 37, of Shaker Heights, Ohio and JOSEPH BROWN, 62, of Campbell, Ohio.

According to the allegations, from around December of 2016 and continuing through approximately April of 2020, WALLACE recruited a number of co-conspirators, including CAMPBELL, JOVANNA BROWN, SMITH, LUKE, KING, LADSON and JOSEPH BROWN to participate in the credit card fraud scheme.

It is alleged that WALLACE would purchase personal identifying information from the dark web and use it to open fraudulent credit card accounts. WALLACE would then create fictitious identification cards bearing the stolen personal identifying information and a photograph of a co-conspirator. The indictment states that WALLACE provided the fraudulent identification cards and credit cards to his co-conspirators to use at his direction.

According to the indictment, WALLACE, CAMPBELL, JOVANNA BROWN, SMITH, LUKE, KING, LADSON and JOSEPH BROWN would use the fraudulent credit card accounts and identification cards to purchase various items, including retail goods, construction and building materials, appliances and equipment from various stores and vendors around Northeast Ohio and elsewhere. As part of the alleged scheme, WALLACE would then sell the purchased items to others and use the proceeds for his own benefit and to pay his co-conspirators.

In addition, it is alleged that WALLACE, the named co-conspirators and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, used the fraudulent credit card accounts to make purchases of goods such as clothing, household items and craft supplies, which they kept for their personal benefit.

In total, it is alleged that WALLACE, CAMPBELL, JOVANNA BROWN, SMITH, LUKE, KING, LADSON and JOSEPH BROWN made at least $750,000 in purchases throughout the scheme. justice.gov

Credit Card Fraudster Gets 51 Months Federal Prison for $1M Nationwide Identity Theft & Fraud Scheme
Sherman, TX., Daniel Brian Rink, 37, pleaded guilty on June 24, 2020, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III. He was also ordered to pay $230,783 in victim restitution.

Police also found fraudulent identification cards that contained Rink's photograph as well as credit cards and Sam's Club membership cards that matched the names on the identification cards. Further investigation revealed Rink had applied for credit accounts using the names on the fraudulent identification cards. He then used those cards to purchase various items, including computers, iPhones, and prepaid gift cards.

In all, Rink and his associates caused a loss of more than $1 million to various lenders and individual victims. On Dec. 11, 2019, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas, returned a 35-count indictment against Rink and 17 others. justice.gov

Tulsa, OK: 4 arrested after armed robbery at Tulsa cell phone store
Tulsa police say four people were arrested after an armed robbery with knives at a Tulsa cell phone store near 41st and Sheridan Thursday. Employees at the U.S. Cellular store told police that three suspects came in around 5:30 p.m. and used knives to cut the security wires off of smartphones before leaving the store. After patrolling the area, officers spotted the suspect vehicle described by the employees. Tulsa police arrested Jacob Lord, Jessica Truelove, and Patrick Reed for grand larceny. Officers say they stole more than $2,000 worth of phones. A fourth person, Briana King, was arrested on warrants. There was a fifth person in the back seat of the car who was asleep during the crime. She was released. ktul.com

Wilmington, NC: Trio accused of running retail theft ring that targeted stores in the Carolinas
Two women and a man from Wilmington are accused of running a retail theft ring that targeted multiple stores in North and South Carolina. According to a news release, Monaja Arijayan Green, 19, Ta'nasia Michelle Matthews, 19, and Antoine Lamar Nixon Jr., 28, were recently arrested on numerous charges including larceny and common law robbery. Officials say the group was focused on stealing Rainbow sandals and body spray from stores such as Bath and Body Works, Aussie Island Surf Shop, Palmetto Moon, Feet First, and H&M from locations between Jacksonville, N.C. and Myrtle Beach, S.C. The group would then turn around and sell the stolen merchandise on Facebook and Snapchat, according to officials. Investigators with the Wilmington Police Department are also looking for the public's help to identify a fourth suspect they say is involved in the theft ring. wect.com

Lee County, FL: Suspect in burglary at Fort Myers cellphone store apprehended with suitcase at RSW airport
A man suspected of burglarizing a cellphone store was apprehended at Southwest Florida International Airport, suitcase in hand and reportedly looking to leave the area. Keenan B. Primer, 19, of Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, remains in Lee County Jail on no bond and charged with burglary, grand theft, false identification, battery on a law enforcement officer and threatening a public servant or their families.

Lee County Sheriff's Office deputies were called to an AT&T store on Tamiami Trail in Fort Myers to check on a burglary that happened overnight Monday to Tuesday. A Sheriff's Office report said the break-in at the locked business resulted in the theft of more than $10,000 worth of electronics including cell phones and Apple AirPods. Sheriff's Office detectives developed Primer as a suspect and learned he was planning to leave Fort Myers on a plane. news-press.com

Pike County, MS: 772 stolen Dollar General items recovered in Pike County
According to Pike County deputies, investigators worked with Dollar General Asset Protection personnel to recover stolen merchandise. After a search warrant was executed, they recovered 772 items that were worth $2,847. The items were returned to Dollar General. Deputies said the items were stored in a recreational vehicle near a home on Hamp Lea Road. Investigators said the person responsible for stealing the items was a delivery driver. The driver's name is being withheld due to the ongoing investigation. Deputies said more arrests are expected. wjtv.com

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Shootings & Deaths

New Orleans, LA: Vape shop owner kills man he accused of threatening
his business daily
The co-owner of a Canal Street tobacco and vape shop fatally shot a man near his store and later tried to convince investigators that he was defending his business from daily threats and harassment, according to the New Orleans Police Department. Khutbi Abdelkader, who co-owns Smoke Sum at 926 Canal St., faces a count of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Francois, records filed by police in Criminal District Court in New Orleans Thursday show.

Following the slaying on Wednesday, Abdelkader told detectives that Francois "had been harassing and threatening" him and his brother - his business partner - "almost daily for over a week after they had told (Francois) he was not welcome in their store anymore," police wrote in the sworn court filings.

Abdelkader, from Harvey, allegedly told investigators he was standing inside his shop near the front door when Francois walked up and begin banging on the storefront glass about 4:50 p.m. He claimed he stepped out of his store to confront Francois, pulled out a gun when he saw Francois "reaching for an object," and shot him twice. First responders took Francois to the nearby University Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. Detectives said they found evidence that contradicted Abdelkader's version of events. One witness accompanying Francois allegedly told police that they were simply walking past Smoke Sum to get food from a neighboring business when Abdelkader stepped out and confronted them. nola.com

Fort Bend County, TX: Man killed in shooting after argument outside AutoZone
Houston police said a man was killed Wednesday night in a shooting at an auto parts store off South Post Oak in Fort Bend County. They said it happened at the Auto Zone in the 15900 block of South Post Oak at about 7:30 p.m. According to the information investigators have right now, they said they believe there was an altercation in the parking lot during which people were firing shots at each other. Police said a car that was northbound on South Post Oak also opened fire. When the shooting stopped, a man was found with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity has not been revealed. khou.com

Harris County, TX: Victim's son charged with murder after running over her, two others outside Tex-Mex restaurant
The son of a woman who was struck and killed outside a Tex-Mex restaurant early Thursday has been charged in her death, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office. Investigators say Homero Lopez intentionally ran over his mother, 35-year-old Crystal Gomez, and struck at least two others. Gomez was rushed by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann but she later died. khou.com

Fairfield, AL: Man found shot to death at convenience store, suspect arrested
A 24-year-old man is behind bars in connection with a deadly shooting in Fairfield Thursday morning. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says a man was found shot to death inside of a gray Dodge Charger at a convenience store in Fairfield around 11 a.m. Thursday. JCSO says detectives began an "intensive investigation" and were able to develop a suspect within hours with the help of the public. Around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, JCSO arrested Travec Ard near UAB Hospital. Ard is in the Jefferson County Jail for capital murder. He is being held without bond. wvtm13.com

Neptune, NJ: Man charged with attempted murder in Walmart parking lot shooting
A township man has been charged with attempted murder following a shooting in the parking lot of a Walmart on Route 66 that left one man injured on Wednesday, authorities said. Mark Ruffin Jr., 22, was also charged with second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon. The shooting happened about 1:09 p.m. in the Walmart parking lot, according to the news release. app.com

Bronx, NY: A knife-wielding man was shot by private security guards outside the Macy's
The shooting happened just before 4:45 p.m. Thursday when a man in his 30s, armed with a knife, was threatening random people walking on Metropolitan Avenue, according to the NYPD. A Parkchester Public Safety Officer fired three shots at the man, striking him at least once in the abs and buttocks, after he refused to drop the blade, cops said. The man, whose name was not released, was taken to Jacobi Medical Center and was expected to survive. The security guard was also taken to Jacobi for unspecified reasons. He did not appear to be seriously injured. A knife was recovered at the scene and the NYPD was investigating. nypost.com

Wichita, KS: C-Store Security Guard in critical condition after shooting
Just after 10p.m. Wednesday police responded to report of a shooting near a convenience store at Broadway and Murdoch in Wichita, according to Police Captain Jason Stephens. At the scene, officers located a 39-year-old man in the alley across from the business with a gunshot wound to his upper body. EMS transported him to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition, according to Stephens. Investigators have learned the victim was an armed security guard employed by Quick Trip. The victim encountered a man who was causing a disruption inside the store. He escorted the man from the store and ultimately to the edge of the property where the disturbance continued and the suspect shot the security guard. There is no indication, the security guard brandished any weapons, according to Stephens. Due to his condition, the victim is unable to provide a statement. hayspost.com

Boulder, CO: Officer justified in shooting King Soopers shooting suspect, DA rules
The Boulder police officer who shot the suspected shooter at the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive was justified in doing so, and his shots were the last ones fired that day inside the store, the district attorney found in his review of the shooting. The review of the shooting of the Boulder King Soopers suspect by Boulder Police Officer Richard Steidell was done by Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty and the Boulder County Investigation Team. It found that Steidell was the only officer to fire their weapon at the suspect, and that the rounds he fired were the last ones discharged that day. Steidell fired eight rounds from his 9mm handgun service weapon, the review found, one of which struck the suspect, Ahmad Alissa, in his right thigh, after which Alissa surrendered to police. Steidell was part of a second wave of officers that entered the store not long after the shooting occurred. Officer Eric Talley, who was killed, was one of three officers in the first wave to respond to the shooting just after 2:30 p.m. on March 22. thedenverchannel.com

Cobb Police investigating Jewelry Store Armed Robbery, shooting
at Town Center mall
The robbery involved three masked suspects, who fled before officers arrived, according to Cobb Police. Witnesses said the jewelry store in question was A&M Custom Jewelry. Sgt. Wayne Delk said Cobb Police initially received a report of an active shooter, but that was found to be incorrect. "Three armed robbers had entered the store and robbed the store at gunpoint. We have reports that shots were fired inside the store," Delk told Fox 5. One employee sustained a non-life threatening injury, though police had not confirmed as of press time whether the employee had been shot or injured in some other way, the television station reported.
Shopper Patrick Rogers told Fox 5 he was at Zumiez when he heard two gunshots. "It sound kind of from a distance and then I kind of looked back and saw people running (in) the other direction," he said. "So, we ended up going to the back of the store, closing the gate, and then, like, barricading the door with boxes."
Thursday's incident was the latest in a string of metro Atlanta mall shootings in the past several months. patch.com


Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Kennesaw, GA: 3 wanted in Armed Robbery at Town Center Mall jewelry store
Officers in Cobb County are searching for three masked suspects after an armed robbery at the Town Center Mall in Kennesaw on Thursday afternoon, police say. It happened around 3:20 p.m. Cobb County police say officers rushed to the mall after a report of an active shooter. It was later learned it was an armed robbery. Police say three masked suspects entered a jewelry store in the mall. "Three armed robbers had entered the store and robbed the store at gunpoint. We have reports that shots were fired inside the store," says Sgt. Wayne Delk, Cobb County Police Department. The trio fled the scene before police officers arrived. It was not immediately clear if the suspects took anything from the store. One employee was injured during the incident, but police say they suffered a non-life-threatening injury. "We have one of the store employees who received some sort of superficial injury. It is not confirmed that that is a gunshot or some other injury," says Sgt. Delk. Witnesses describe a chaotic scene and heard several shots before seeing people run for cover. fox5atlanta.com

Baltimore County, MD: Annapolis Police Officer Arrested, Charged In Theft Scheme At Baltimore County Walmart
An Annapolis Police officer moonlighting as a security guard for Walmart was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony theft scheme in February and March, Baltimore County Police said. Gerrard Lamont Williams Jr., 36, of the unit block of Wildberry Court, was working at the Walmart on Washington Boulevard, police said. Between Feb. 8 and March 30, Williams allegedly stole $3,643.59 worth of items, including flat-screen televisions, window air conditioners, baby products, food and beverages, hygiene products, clothing, household goods, dog food and other pet care items, and bedding, police said. Williams was arrested at his home on a warrant issued April 27, police said. He since has been released on his own recognizance, police said. Annapolis Police cooperated with the Baltimore County Police during the investigation. baltimore.cbslocal.com

Rockford, IL: Men charged, at large after Soto's Jewelry 2020 Burglary

Morgan County, IL: C-Store robber sentenced to 9 Years in Illinois Dept of Corrections

Katy, TX: More victims are coming forward claiming they were swindled by a Jeweler; investigators claim over $4Million of merchandise never delivered

Regina, Sask., Canada: Man robs cannabis dispensary, escapes police custody while still handcuffed; recaptured after a short chase



AT&T - Fort Myers, FL - Burglary
Auto - Denton County, TX - Burglary
Auto - Ocala, FL - Burglary
C-Store - Placer County, CA - Burglary
C-Store - Placer County, CA - Burglary
C-Store - Lower Merion, PA - Robbery/ Assault
C-Store - Houston, TX - Robbery
C-Store - Springfield, MO - Robbery
C-Store - Geneva, NY - Robbery
C-Store - Opelousas, LA - Robbery
Cellphones - Tulsa, OK - Burglary
Jewelry - Kennesaw, GA - Armed Robbery
Jewelry - Lexington, KY - Robbery
Jewelry - Spokane Valley, WA - Robbery
Jewelry - Roanoke, VA - Burglary
Jewelry - Chesapeake, VA - Robbery
Restaurant - Venice, CA - Burglary
7-Eleven - San Diego, CA - Armed Robbery


Daily Totals:
• 10 robberies
• 8 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed


Weekly Totals:
• 73 robberies
• 33 burglaries
• 3 shootings
• 1 killed

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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Loyalty is one of the most precious values there is and a loyal team that's unified in its goals and objectives, even in defeat, is strong and supportive. Loyal teams can make the largest tasks seem effortless and they create a sense of ownership of family that inspires individual performance and comforts individual failure. Earned slowly and grown daily, loyalty is a commodity no leader can be without because it fuels success, unifies purpose, and gives birth to exceptional performance. Without loyalty, teams splinter and lose focus on the true objectives. It's rare to build a truly loyal team and it's incredibly difficult to keep them together long term with private agendas always pressuring the balance. And yes, even loyal teams require balancing because at the end of the day it's always about personal agendas. Professional sports teams are constantly looking for that balance and the right players to fit as a team and the same holds true in business. With the right team, anything is possible and conversely one team member can destroy the entire balance. So being a team player is important even when you decide not to be.

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