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Retailer foils skimmer scam using AI

Retail deters skimmer crew, builds strong case in less than six hours

Here's how it started: A store manager saw through a skimmer crew's distractions at the checkout stand. As the manager approached, the three individuals abandoned the installation of the skimmer hardware and bolted.

With the immediate threat deterred, the client's AP team used FaceFirst's powerful visitor search feature. With this "look back," they quickly identified the subjects' criminal pattern by date, time, and store locations. In just hours, they built a strong case against a ring of 10 well-organized thieves.

You've seen some variation of this before. In this case, three individuals entered the grocery checkout together. They blocked views of the card swipe terminal with a bulk package of paper towels. One person distracted the cashier by asking for cigarettes from a locked case. Another said, "Oh, I'll bag" and stepped into position. The goal, of course, is to overlay an illegal skimmer device on the card swipe, intercept credit/debit card data, and steal money from the card accounts.

The sharp-eyed manager addressed the trio. They fled, leaving the partially installed skimmer behind. The manager called in his AP team right away. Their FaceFirst search of the three individuals' images revealed similar incidents in the client's other stores and more accomplices. Less than six hours after the manager's report, the AP team had identified 10 individuals casing 28 stores and installing six skimmers successfully. Overnight, the chain audited all checkout devices and added security measures.

Consider the benefit of taking an individual's image, running a search, and identifying that individual's past visits to any of your stores-all within minutes. FaceFirst's investigative features turn a nearly impossible manual task for humans into instant, actionable intelligence. FaceFirst helps AP investigators build strong, detailed cases faster for coordination with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.

FaceFirst's face matching technology alerts retailers instantly when known threats enter their stores, providing both life safety and loss prevention advantages. Calculate the risks of being caught unaware when a known offender enters your store. If you knew there was a proven solution to keep your valued customers and associates safer from violent offenders and prevent loss, would you implement it? The real risk is answering no. FaceFirst's solution is fast, accurate, and scalable-take action today at facefirst.com.

The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

To register for the webinar, please click Retail Theft Webinar Registration


This Annual Retail Theft webinar will discuss how
sophisticated organized theft groups (OTGs) profit from illegally obtaining goods that are later sold for economic gain. According to the National Retail Federation, retail theft losses increased to $112.1 billion in 2022 from $93.9 billion in 2021, causing retailers nationwide to reassess commercial operations or, in some cases, close for good.

Unlike shoplifting, where an individual steals food due to hunger or related incidents of simple theft, OTGs illegally profit from systematically
targeting retail establishments utilizing organized violence for profit and to fund other criminal activities that greatly impact the overall economic security of the United States.


Francey Youngberg - Assistant Dir., Office of Partnership & Engagement, HSI, DHS
Gretchen Burrier - Acting Assistant Dir., Office of Private Sector, FBI
Stacy Irving - Senior Advisor, Delaware Valley Intelligence Center / Philadelphia PD
Lisa LaBruno - Senior Executive VP of Retail Operations, RILA
Christopher Wallace - Special Agent, Financial Crimes Unit, (HSI
Ben Dugan - Executive Director of ORC & Corporate Investigations, CVS Health Corporation
Raul Aguilar - Deputy Assistant Dir., Financial and Fraud Division, HSI
Ashley Pritters - Global Head of Retail Security, Apple, Incorporated
Harley "Ray" Shuler
- Deputy Assistant Dir., Cyber Crime Center, HSI

Click here to register and learn more

Target CEO on RILA, NDAA Store Walks Impact & Inform Act
Target CEO has positive outlook on retail theft
Target CEO Brian Cornell believes that the company has gotten a solid grip on tackling retail theft in its over 1,900 stores across the nation. In a new interview with CNBC, Cornell stated that elevating the conversation surrounding the issue has resulted in "real progress."

We're really pleased with how some of the local DAs (district attorneys) are responding," he said. "And our teams and other retail teams have actually been walking stores with local DAs to make sure they better understand the challenges we're facing."

On Sept. 26, Target announced that it was closing nine of its stores across four different states due to shoplifting.  In Cornell's interview with CNBC, he said that
the company had no other choice but to close those stores, citing that it was a tough decision as the company's overall goal is to open more stores across the nation.

They were stores where we made big investments in additional asset protection, working with third-party security, we have used other devices to try to control theft," he said. "But we closed those stores because we deemed it wasn't safe for our teams to continue to operate in those environments. And it's really hard to make a decision to close a store."

He also said that the company
doesn't have any plans to close more stores this year. Target also revealed in its announcement in September that it promised to invest in technology and coordinate with lawmakers and industry partners to make progress in tackling shoplifting.

In the interview, Cornell applauded the recent passage of the
Inform Consumers Act. The legislation makes online transactions more transparent and helps to stop criminals from acquiring stolen or fake goods and selling them through marketplaces. He said that it will make it "much more difficult" for criminals to "monetize the goods that they're stealing."

He also said that
informing lawmakers that the impact of retail theft isn't just financial has also contributed to the progress he has seen in curbing the issue.  dcourier.com

Despite Theft Surge, LP is 'Most Underfunded Department of Any Company'
America's shoplifting problem, explained by retail workers and thieves

'Retailers would rather complain about shoplifting than invest in fighting it.'

I interviewed
more than a dozen workers in retail and loss prevention - and two retail thieves - about what the country's supposed shoplifting epidemic looks and feels like on the ground. In conversation after conversation, one thing became clear: While many corporations are frustrated by retail theft, they're not doing enough to try to solve it.

As David Rey, the author of
Larceny on 34th Street: An In-Depth Look at Professional Shoplifting in One of the World's Largest Stores - A Memoir, explained to Vox in an interview, "Most retailers really don't spend [money] when it comes to asset protection, when it comes to the resources needed to protect themselves from shoplifting ... because there's no return on the investment."

Slowing down stealing isn't free

Mark, a loss prevention specialist who has worked for companies such as Walmart, Lowe's, and Home Depot, says sometimes the issue is
firms aren't even sure what exactly they want to focus on. "Are you guys focused on theft? Or are you guys focused on shrink? Because there's a big difference between the two," he says. "One is more glamorous and more showy, while the other, focusing on shrink, you're attacking your business model and your operational spend."

not even clear exactly how much money is being spent to fight theft right now, explains Jeff Prusan, a security and loss prevention consultant to the retail industry. Retailers don't generally disclose the data, payroll increases vary by retailer and job purpose (employee versus loss prevention specialist versus private security guard), and the amortization of long-term security solutions, such as cameras and alarms, can be complicated to factor in.

There's no strong consensus about what would really work, investment-wise. And loss prevention doesn't bring in revenue, it's just an expense. "Corporate offices want to see profit. Marketing brings profits, the buyers bring in profits. Loss prevention, in and of itself, does not bring any profits. We just try to deter loss," says one loss prevention agent who works at a corporate office for a national retailer. "
Loss prevention, typically, is the most underfunded department of any company."

The financial incentives around retail theft make it a toughie: vox.com

Store Closures: Crime, Bad Management or Both?
The alleged crime epidemic in places like San Francisco causing stores to flee may actually just be bad management, investment bank suggests
Major chains including
Walmart, Walgreens, and Target have blamed rising crime for their decisions to close retail locations, with Target most recently shuttering nine stores across five cities.

But retailers' claims are likely exaggerated, analysts at investment bank William Blair wrote in a recent research note.
Yes, crime has risen relative to pre-pandemic levels - but that's not the only thing happening, they wrote.

More broadly, in the post-pandemic economy, retailers are
facing price pressures from all sides: Inflation-squeezed consumers are being pickier, while foot traffic in many downtowns is well below its pre-pandemic levels, making retail in these formerly busy areas unsustainable.

Target is one such example, William Blair wrote. The Minneapolis-based chain has been vocal in its complaints about theft, most recently with plans to
close nine stores in New York, Portland, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay area.

Actual crime statistics point to another culprit, however. Progressive newsletter Popular Information crunched the numbers last month and found that
reported crime rates in the stores that closed were actually lower than at other nearby Targets which remain open.

William Blair suggested another possibility: Target could simply be closing unprofitable locations and conveniently
blaming crime rather than bad business decisions.

"Target could be using shrink to mask other issues, including
poor inventory management, which came to a head in 2022 following supply chain disruption, and is now exiting underperforming stores to boost overall margins," William Blair wrote.

To be sure, William Blair doesn't completely discount the effect of shoplifting.
Crime will continue to be one of several factors dragging down retail margins, the bank predicts, saying, "We see limited, if any, near-term fixes to the larger problem of organized retail theft," given that shoplifting was and remains relatively low-risk and the popularity of online resale platforms like Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace make it easy and profitable to offload stolen goods.  fortune.com

Canada Seeing the Same Retail Crime & Violence as the U.S.

Canadian Retailers Demand Action On Theft & Violence 'Epidemic'
B.C. coalition calls for government action on violent retail crime

Clint Mahlman, a founding member of the coalition, said the issue is at a crucial juncture

A group of
more than 30 British Columbia retailers, trade associations and other groups is now calling for immediate government action on theft, vandalism and violent crime its members say have reached "epidemic proportions'' across the province.

The coalition says it
wants all levels of government to work together to address what it calls a crime "crisis'' in retail settings. It estimates the added cost of security is effectively costing B.C. families $500 each per year.

Members of the coalition include the Greater Vancouver and Surrey boards of trade, the Retail Council of Canada and Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers and retailers such as
Lululemon, Aritzia, Rexall and Save-On-Foods, and London Drugs.

London Drugs president Clint Mahlman said his company
lost $10 million to stolen merchandise last year. He says the company is now outfitting some store workers with stab vests in order to protect them from violent shoplifters.

''The streets and communities are becoming more unsafe,''
Mahlman said. ''We are very concerned that we are past the tipping point, and that it will take decades to correct if not dealt with now.''

The coalition said there was a
"critical'' need for immediate action to deal with threats to staff safety, rising security costs and community impact.

They said a coordinated government response for repeat offenders was needed. Mahlman said federal and provincial governments
can't succeed by taking a piecemeal approach and addressing ''singular aspects'' of the problem, such as drug decriminalization, policing resources or mental-health reform.

The coalition also
wants the B.C. and federal governments to ''establish a set of measurable results'' for the public to see if any government action works to bring down crime. cbc.ca

Related Coverage of Canada's Retail Crime Surge

   Suspect posters and panic buttons: How B.C. retailers are trying to combat crime

Jewelry store break-in the 5th in less than year for Nanaimo businessman

Even Thieves Have to Watch Out For the Competitors
In that world someone might get assassinated

Russian Reshipping Service 'SWAT USA Drop' Exposed by the Competition
One of the largest cybercrime services for laundering stolen merchandise was hacked recently, exposing its internal operations, finances and organizational structure. Here's a closer look at the Russia-based SWAT USA Drop Service, which currently employs more than 1,200 people across the United States who are knowingly or unwittingly involved in reshipping expensive consumer goods purchased with stolen credit cards.

Among the most common ways that thieves extract cash from stolen credit card accounts is through purchasing pricey consumer goods online and reselling them on the black market and then relying on willing or unwitting residents in the United States and Europe to receive stolen goods and reship them to crooks living in the embargoed areas.

Services like
SWAT are known as "Drops for stuff" on cybercrime forums. The "drops" are people who have responded to work-at-home package reshipping jobs advertised on craigslist.com and job search sites. Most reshipping scams promise employees a monthly salary and even cash bonuses. In reality, the crooks in charge almost always stop communicating with drops just before the first payday, usually about a month after the drop ships their first package.

The packages arrive with prepaid shipping labels that are paid for with stolen credit card numbers, or with
hijacked online accounts at FedEx and the US Postal Service. Drops are responsible for inspecting and verifying the contents of shipments, attaching the correct shipping label to each package, and sending them off via the appropriate shipping company.

SWAT takes a percentage cut (up to 50 percent) where "stuffers" - thieves armed with stolen credit card numbers - pay a portion of each product's retail value to SWAT as the reshipping fee. The stuffers use stolen cards to purchase high-value products from merchants and have the merchants ship the items to the drops' address. Once the drops receive and successfully reship the stolen packages, the stuffers then sell the products on the local black market.

The SWAT drop service has been around in various names and under different ownership for almost a decade. But
in early October 2023, SWAT's current co-owner - a Russian-speaking individual who uses the handle "Fearlless" - took to his favorite cybercrime forum to lodge a formal complaint against the owner of a competing reshipping service, alleging his rival had hacked SWAT and was trying to poach his stuffers and reshippers by emailing them directly. krebsonsecurity.com

Cities Seek to Repair Images Amid Crime Fears
To combat fears of downtown, a city puts Safety Ambassadors on the streets
Like other cities across the country, Indy has been
striving to repair its image since the shutdown era. The results are mixed. Out-of-towners are booking hotels for football games and conventions at near-peak levels, but officials say suburbanites - a critical set of spenders - are still reluctant to flock downtown for work or dinner.

Their hesitance reflects a wider apprehension: When researchers at the Brookings Institution interviewed more than 100 residents of
New York, Chicago, Seattle and Philadelphia last year, they expected to hear that a desire to work from home was depressing travel to urban cores. Instead, they wrote, fear of crime and disorder posed the bigger barrier.

People got spooked when
homicides shot up across the country during the pandemic, dominating newscasts. And while killings dropped in 2022, according to the latest FBI figures, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump continues to characterize liberal cities as "going to hell," and right-leaning talk shows keep echoing his view.

The rhetoric fuels a climate of nervousness:
Perceptions that our communities are getting more dangerous hit a five-decade high last year, a Gallup poll found, though violent attacks were generally far more common in the '90s.

In cities about the same size as Indianapolis, the
average rate of violent crime has remained more or less level over the last five years, as determined by a Washington Post analysis of data from 70 municipalities. But property offenses such as vandalism, burglary and auto theft surged by 17 percent this summer, compared to the same period in 2020. washingtonpost.com

Help's on the way for some understaffed PDs
DOJ awards $334M in COPS grants to boost hiring, community policing
WASHINGTON - The United States Department of Justice has
announced $334 million awarded in federal grants to help law enforcement agencies hire nearly 2,000 new officers.

A Nov. 2 news release said the money will come in the form of COPS (Office of Community Oriented Policing Services) grants. In addition to hiring new officers, the grants will go toward supporting school safety and community policing.

The release also announced the five cities to be added to the
National Public Safety Partnership in 2024: Knoxville, Tennessee; Minneapolis; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Antonio, Texas and Vallejo, California. police1.com

Police Dept. Stat Updates As of 29-Oct-23

Los Angeles: Larceny Arrests YTD as of 10/28/23 Up 113.4%, Robbery Up 7.6%
Chicago: Theft YTD Up 5% - 2 Yr. % Chg Up 68% - 3 Yr. % Chg Up 94%
Chicago: Robbery YTD Up 25% - 2 Yr. % Chg Up 46% - 3 Yr. % Chg Up 39%

21 Shoplifting Statistics for Small Businesses in 2023



Self-Checkout Debate Continues
Will Self-Checkout Ever Win Over Its Critics?
Walmart recently pulled self-checkout lanes from at least three stores in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and ShopRites in Delaware began adding back cashiered lanes to stores, a sign that some retailers may be rethinking self-checkout technology.

self-checkout registers have now become the dominant checkout format in grocery, with its share of transactions rising to 55% in 2022 and the usage of self-checkout by grocery shoppers vaulting by 53% over the last five years. The rapid expansion was attributed to grocers looking to mitigate rising labor costs and shortages as well as seeking to reduce shopper wait times.

Recent consumer surveys from Raydiant and Zebra Technologies show
in-store shoppers are increasingly preferring self-checkout options largely to avoid waiting in lines.

self-checkouts appear to be a work in progress. Target is testing self-checkout lanes of 10 items or fewer "in order to reduce wait times and better understand guest preferences." At some Costco and Walmart locations, hybrid self-checkouts let store associates assist in scanning items. Kroger is introducing artificial intelligence technology that alerts store personnel if an item isn't scanned. retailwire.com

A Chink Pops Up in Amazon's Armor
Amazon Is Shutting Down Its Clothing Stores

The two Style stores will become the latest Amazon bricks-and-mortar locations to close

The company said Thursday that it is shutting down the two "Amazon Style" locations that are located in Glendale, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio. The move follows closings of other Amazon outlets including bookstores and specialty retail stores. The company has concentrated its physical store ambitions on its grocery outlets, including Amazon Fresh stores and Whole Foods Market. wsj.com

Editor's Note: I guess a lot of retailers can breathe a sigh of relief. At least for the time being.

Uber, Lyft agree to $328M in back pay to drivers following wage theft investigation
Rideshare giants Uber and Lyft have agreed to return millions in back pay to their New York drivers following an
investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James. "For years, Uber and Lyft systemically cheated their drivers out of hundreds of millions of dollars in pay and benefits while they worked long hours in challenging conditions," James said in a statement announcing the settlement. nydailynews.com

2023 Holiday to Reach Record Spending Levels
The National Retail Federation today forecast that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels during November and December and will grow between 3% and 4% over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.

CVS and Walgreens say pharmacist work action had minimal impact

Aldi Is the Fastest-Growing Grocer in the U.S. With 100 Stores a Year

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Fight Organized Retail Crime with ALL TAG Box Seals, Overlays, and Q Guards

The video above highlights some of ALL-TAG's latest innovations such as the AM or RF Q-Guard, Overlay, Box Seal, and Non-EAS Box Seal. All of these solutions can be fully customized with store logos, deterrent messages, if found elsewhere, please call messages, store numbers, and much more.

ALL-TAG's Q-Guard will be completely new to shoplifters, and they will quickly learn that it cannot be removed from a product without irreparably damaging the packaging, and thus significantly reducing the resale value of the product. This, of course, will deter Organized Retail Crime attempts. The Q-Guard will also be very effective against common theft, as the RF or AM label underneath is very well protected. The Q-Guard does not have an unlocking or removal mechanism like those of hard tags, spider wraps, and keepers. Therefore, shoplifters cannot use magnetic detachers they bought online to remove a Q-Guard. The Q-Guard allows retailers to openly display the well protected merchandise, it does not require additional shelf space, and it will not interfere with the shopping experience. The Q-Guard does not need to be removed at the point of sale, so regular checkout and self-checkout processes are quick and easy.

ALL-TAG's Overlays allow RF and AM labels to do their job by protecting them from being removed from merchandise inside retail stores. The Overlays are built with a combination of unique material and aggressive adhesive that makes them the most tamper resistant Overlays on the market.

ALL-TAG's Box Seals offer the same benefits as the Overlays, but they also seal both ends of the product packaging. Shoplifters cannot remove the product from the package, or insert additional or more expensive products inside of the packaging.

For retail stores that aren't currently equipped with EAS technology, we recommend using Non-EAS Box Seals to keep packages completed sealed.

To find out more about ALL-TAG's solutions, please visit https://all-tag.com/.







New Microsoft Security Initiative Leans Heavily on AI
Microsoft Does Damage Control With Its New 'Secure Future Initiative'

Following a string of serious security incidents, Microsoft says it has a plan to deal with escalating threats from cybercriminals and state-backed hackers.

Today, in a blog post and email to employees,
Microsoft is announcing a broad vision for tackling the cybersecurity challenges that have increasingly plagued the company and its customers in recent years. Known as the Secure Future Initiative, the plan leans heavily on artificial intelligence tools as a "game changer" and also includes a call for international cyberspace norms, an expansion of the company's 2017 Digital Geneva Convention.

The most tangible and immediately applicable component of the strategy, though, relates to i
mprovements in Microsoft's software development and engineering approach. In Thursday's email, executive vice president for Microsoft security Charlie Bell and colleagues Scott Guthrie and Rajesh Jha lay out a plan to further safeguard identity management systems in Microsoft products, improve security software development, and shorten response and patch release times for addressing vulnerabilities, specifically those in the cloud.

The announcement comes as Microsoft has faced scrutiny over situations where
vulnerabilities in its products have enabled attackers-both financially-motivated cybercriminals and state-backed hackers-to rampage through the company's own systems and those of customers. And the climate around accountability is evolving as regulators and law enforcement look for new paths to deterring, but also preventing, damaging hacks.

Microsoft said on Thursday that its Secure Future Initiative comes in response to
wildly escalating threats from attackers.   wired.com

Fallout from CISO Fraud Charges
Why CISOs Should Pay Attention to SolarWinds SEC Allegations
fallout from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's charges of fraud and internal control failures against SolarWinds and its CISO has implications for the entire industry. Jonathan Armstrong, an attorney with Cordery Compliance, advises security leaders "take heed and remember that the actions of today can determine your fate tomorrow."

AdvertisementSEC regulators filed charges Monday accusing SolarWinds and CISO Tim Brown of misleading investors about the company's cybersecurity practices and risks - disclosing only generic and hypothetical risks even though they knew about specific issues. The SEC charges come nearly three years after Solar Winds in December 2020 disclosed that its Orion network monitoring product had been compromised in an attack that was later attributed to hackers from the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. Nine federal agencies were compromised.

Misstatements, omissions and schemes concealed both the company's poor cybersecurity practices and its heightened - and increasing - cybersecurity risks," the SEC alleged in a complaint filed in the Southern District of New York.

"As the SEC and other regulators seek to set examples,
it's a stark reminder that the responsibility of safeguarding data and ensuring transparency should never be taken lightly," Armstrong said. "Be vigilant in your role as protectors and guardians of your organization's integrity."

As security leaders, it's our duty to bridge the gap between resource needs and systemic issues, to communicate clearly with our organizations and to confront the challenging discussions with boards," he said. It's crucial to prioritize not just the protection of our networks but also to emphasize the significance of the CISO's role and expertise, he added. Equally important is ensuring that corporate boards are adequately equipped to accurately assess the risks posed by cybersecurity threats. careersinfosecurity.com

   RELATED: SolarWinds CISO Charges Send Shockwaves Through Security Ranks

Computers as Smart as Humans in 5 Yrs
Google AI Chief Says There's a 50% Chance We'll Hit AGI in Just 5 Years
More than a decade ago, the co-founder of Google's DeepMind artificial intelligence lab predicted that by 2028,
AI will have a half-and-half shot of being about as smart as humans - and now, he's holding firm on that forecast.

In an interview with tech podcaster Dwarkesh Patel, DeepMind co-founder Shane Legg said that he still thinks that researchers have a 50-50 chance of achieving
artificial general intelligence (AGI), a stance he publicly announced at the very end of 2011 on his blog.

AGI, a hypothetical agent that is capable of accomplishing intellectual tasks as well as a human, that can be of benefit to all. But whether we'll ever be able to get to that point - let alone agree on one definition of AGI - remains to be seen. futurism.com

International Business Email Compromise & Reshipping Scheme
Buying computers and reselling in South Africa

DOJ: Nigerian National Pleads Guilty to $3.5M Dollar Cyber Fraud Scheme Targeting Five Companies
TULSA, Okla. - A Nigerian national pleaded guilty Tuesday to
wire fraud and transportation of stolen property in federal court.

In July, Ganyo was extradited from South Africa pursuant to a 2020 federal criminal complaint alleging his involvement in a cyber fraud scheme targeting a Tulsa company that almost succeeded in stealing nearly half a million dollars' worth of
Microsoft computers and shipping them to South Africa. Investigators were able to intercept the shipment in route and track it to a warehouse in South Africa controlled by Ganyo, leading to his arrest by the South African Police Service. It was later determined that Ganyo had engaged in a wide range of similar schemes targeting at least four companies in California, Illinois, and New York with a total loss amount of nearly 3 million dollars.

According to Ganyo's plea agreement, from January of 2017 through January of 2021, he conspired to commit wire fraud in the Northern District of Oklahoma and elsewhere.
He specifically created email addresses that appeared to be employees of well-known businesses. He would use those false email address to impersonate employees and place large orders of computer equipment. Ganyo would then use the fictious email accounts to redirect the orders and send other conspirators to pick up the various equipment and ship the stolen goods to South Africa. justice.gov

Ransomware attacks set to break records in 2023







Deleting Text Messages - Junk Ads - Squeezing Sellers
FTC Lawsuit: Amazon Intentionally Destroyed Two Years of Encrypted Internal Text Messages
The commission also claimed that Amazon intentionally destroyed two years' worth of encrypted internal text messages to thwart the FTC's investigation, and said that Amazon knowingly raised the number of irrelevant ads on its website to boost profits.

Amazon executives discussed how its pricing policies had a "punitive aspect" on sellers, according to internal documents quoted in newly unredacted portions of the Federal Trade Commission's monopoly lawsuit against the company.

The FTC complaint says that Amazon began using an internal algorithm to track sellers discounting off of Amazon. "An internal Amazon document written weeks after Amazon dropped its contractual price parity requirement acknowledged that Amazon intended to use [the algorithm] to enforce its 'expectations and policies,' which 'ha[d] not changed.'"

The FTC also alleges that Amazon tried to impede its investigation into the company's business practices. "Amazon executives systematically and intentionally deleted internal communications using the 'disappearing message' feature of the Signal messaging app. Amazon prejudicially destroyed more than two years' worth of such communications-from June 2019 to at least early 2022-despite Plaintiffs' instructing Amazon not to do so." wsj.com

E-Commerce: 41% of Global Retail Sales by 2027
How fast is e-commerce growing globally?

A new study reveals some impressive numbers around the global expansion of e-commerce.

E-commerce is forecast to constitute 41% of global retail sales by 2027, a more than 100% increase from its share of just 18% in 2017, according to a survey of retail and CPG companies around the world from Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The "Winning Formulas for E-commerce Growth" study indicates
e-commerce sales increased 3% in Europe and 7% in both the U.S. and Asia in 2022. BCG expects global e-commerce growth to achieve a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2027-not meeting the 12% to 14% CAGR BCG was tracking before the COVID-19 pandemic, but still more than double the projected brick-and-mortar retail growth of 4%. chainstoreage.com

Shopify merchants seek AI boost for key sales decisions

How to Drive Traffic to Your E-Commerce Store








Memphis, TN: Thief burglarizes City G.E.A.R. store with sledgehammer; $20,000 of merchandise stolen
According to the Memphis Police Department (MPD), a thief robbed a City G.E.A.R. store on South Third Street out of $20,000 worth of merchandise using a sledgehammer Thursday morning. The thief allegedly smashed through a brick wall to get in at around 3 a.m. The brick wall at the rear of the building is now patched with plywood and pieces of broken bricks are piled nearby. FOX13 has reported on countless smash-and-grab robberies before, but not like this. Usually, people break into a business by smashing out the glass or driving a car into a storefront. A sneaker expert said the stolen merchandise is likely to get even more valuable soon.  fox13memphis.com

Ontario County, NY: Shopper accused of stealing over $8,000 worth of merchandise from Ulta
The Ontario County Sheriff's Office reports the arrest of a Rochester resident on felony charges after an investigation into a theft that happened at Ulta Beauty in Victor on June 15. According to a news release, Jahmere Davis, 21, passed all points of sale with over $8,000 worth of merchandise, then fled the store before authorities arrived. A warrant was issued for his arrest and eventually, last week, Irondequoit PD located him and took him into custody on unrelated charges. He was turned over to authorities in Ontario County and will appear in Victor Town Court at a later date. 

Davenport, IA: Scott County targets repeat shoplifters with enhanced charge
Billy Eugene Paul entered a plea of not guilty Thursday morning to charges stemming from three alleged thefts from the Walmart on Elmore Street in Davenport. Shoplifting is a common crime in Davenport and across the Quad-Cities. Paul faces a charge of second-degree theft, a Class D felony that can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison. That is not an uncommon charge for the all-too-common crime of stealing from retail stores, and the typical first- or second-time offender draws a sentence of probation. But Paul could be looking at hard prison time.
The soon-to-be 46-year-old also faces the charge of "ongoing criminal conduct," a Class B felony. That's a charge that carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison. There are at least two other cases in Scott County where individuals face the stiffer charge of ongoing criminal conduct: Kaleya Young is accused of stealing from JC Penney on 16 different occasions, and Lamont Stephany, who is accused leaving multiple stores with trash bags filled with merchandise qctimes.com 

DOJ: Indiana Man Gets 25-Months Imprisonment on Federal Identity Theft, Fraud Charges
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Jamaine D. Brooks, 46, pled guilty to possession of five or more identification documents, possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft in a U.S. District courtroom in July. Following imprisonment, he will serve three years of supervised release.

Brooks stole identities to commit financial fraud and buy merchandise using his victims’ means from various Walmart locations and other retail stores.

He was arrested by police after he traveled to southern Illinois with 23 Indiana identification cards and driver’s licenses, 39 stolen credit and debit cards, nine Social Security cards, four checkbooks in one individual’s name and equipment to alter checks in March 2021.

At the time of his arrest, Brooks had already used his victim’s identity and financial means to purchase more than $5,000 in retail goods, most recently at a Walmart in Collinsville, Illinois. In addition to the federal prison sentence, Brooks was ordered to pay $5,154.75 in restitution back to this specific victim.

Chelci Johnson, 33, also of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was a named co-defendant also charged in the indictment. justice.gov

Cohasset, MA: Two women charged in alleged retail theft of nearly $4k in merchandise from CVS
Two women, from out of state, are facing charges in connection to an alleged organized retail theft of nearly $4,000 in merchandise from a Cohasset pharmacy chain, according to police. Cohasset Police detectives allege in a complaint filed with the Quincy District Court that 23-year-old Niculina Lazar and 30-year-old Aurora Micleslu stole $3,999.65 in retail merchandise from CVS in Cohasset on October 17, around 12:30 p.m.
Police charge Niculina Lazar, of Anaheim, CA and Aurora Micleslu of Baltimore, MD, with one count of organized retail theft, a felony, in violation of Massachusetts General Laws. 

San Francisco, CA: Two plead guilty for rash of retail thefts committed at stores in two California counties, D.A. says
Two individuals have been sentenced to three years in State Prison for their involvement in a series of snatch-and-grab thefts and robberies in San Francisco, the city's District Attorney announced. Delandro Belvine-Brown, 22, from Antioch, and Sean Raquel Jevonce Simon Jr., 24, from Richmond, both pleaded guilty to robbery charges in San Francisco Superior Court. Specifically, Belvine-Brown and Simon Jr. were connected to six separate incidents in Brentwood that unfolded between November 2021 and June 2022. original.newsbreak.com

Exton, PA: West Whiteland Township Police Investigate $3,800 Theft at Kohl's Store

Lexington, NC: Police looking for a man accused of making $1700 in fraudulent purchases

Rutherford County, TN: Stolen Credit Card Case with Ties to Murfreesboro and Smyrna

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Shootings & Deaths

Los Angeles, CA: DOJ: SoCal Trio Charged with Armed Robberies During One-Week Spree in Which Their Flight from Police Resulted in Fatal Car Crash
The following defendants have been charged via a criminal complaint filed last Wednesday with Hobbs Act robbery and using and carrying a firearm during an in relation to a crime of violence: Kaelenn Maea, 26, of Long Beach; Salagi Iakopo, 30, of Carson; and Mathew Salanoa, 23, of Placentia. Maea and Salanoa are expected to make their initial appearances this afternoon in the United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. Law enforcement continues to search for Iakopo. According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, the defendants committed three armed robberies from September 22 to September 29 in Downey, Compton, and South El Monte. In each of the robberies, one of the robbers allegedly used a short-style rifle to control the cashier and customers while another robber took full cash registers or drawers before all the robbers fled in an SUV.  justice.gov

Tehama County, CA: Update: Red Bluff man found guilty of 2020 grocery store murder after lengthy standoff with police
A man from Red Bluff has been found guilty of shooting and killing another man outside of a grocery store three years ago, the Tehama County District Attorney's Office announced. According to the DA's office, Elfego Chaves Acevedo was convicted on Thursday, Nov. 2, after a jury found him guilty of first degree murder with personal discharge of a firearm causing the death of 52-year-old Arturo Eugene Bent, III, of Red Bluff. Investigators say Bent was shot and killed by Acevedo outside of Food Maxx, off Belle Mill Road, on Aug. 3, 2020. Almost a month later, the Tehama County Superior Court issued an arrest warrant for Acevedo. The DA's office says Acevedo avoided contact with law enforcement for over four months after that, and was only arrested after a lengthy standoff with multiple law enforcement agencies in Corning on Dec. 11, 2020. A sentencing date has not been selected yet, according to the DA's office.   krcrtv.com

Elyria, OH: Police arrest suspect in Walmart shooting
Police have arrested a suspect in connection to a shooting at a Walmart in Elyria. Police received a call around 5 p.m. Thursday for a man shot in the parking lot of the Walmart on Chestnut Commons. The man was transported to the hospital. Police said the shooting was an isolated incident. Early Friday morning, an alert from Lorain County was sent that said a suspect was arrested in Oberlin.  news5cleveland.com


Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Violent X-Con's Robbery Crew Now Back in Federal Prison
DOJ: Leader of Violent Armed Robbery Crew Spree in Hampton Roads Gets 507 Months (42.25 Yrs)
NORFOLK, Va. - A Bloods gang member was sentenced today to 507 months in prison for conspiracy to interfere with commerce by means of robbery, seven counts of interference and attempted interference with commerce by means of robbery, three counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

According to court documents, Harold Spencer, 33, of Virginia Beach, was the leader of a five-man armed robbery crew with Kareem Ross, 34, of Hampton, Roshaun Griffin, 36, of Virginia Beach, Jon Morgan, 32, of Portsmouth, and Marvin Lockhart, Jr. 32, of Virginia Beach.

During the second of six-armed robberies, Spencer shot multiple times at a fleeing customer, nearly killing the customer. Spencer took a "selfie" on his cell phone wearing a ski mask worn in all six robberies-a ski mask, which was recovered after the high-speed pursuit and later was shown to contain his DNA. His cell phone also contained photographs of Ross holding a handgun with a drum magazine, multiple Glock firearms consistent with those thrown from the fleeing vehicle, large sums of cash, and lottery tickets.

Several months before this armed robbery spree, Morgan had recently completed a ten-year prison sentence for a previous armed robbery. Spencer was also previously convicted of an armed robbery. In 2012, Spencer robbed the Golden China restaurant in Norfolk where he struck a victim in the head. He was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court to 10 years incarceration with 8 of the years suspended.

Ross was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Griffin was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Morgan will be sentenced on November 17. Lockhart will be sentenced on February 2, 2024. justice.gov

St Louis, MO: DOJ: Second Man Sentenced to 10+ Years in Prison for Armed Robbery of St. Louis 7-Eleven
Harvey Cameron, 33, of Ferguson, was one of two men involved in the robbery of the 7-Eleven at 5350 Chippewa Street on June 21, 2020. One of the men entered the store and pointed a Zastava AK-47-style rifle at an employee, demanding cash from the register. The pair were caught shortly after the robbery, with the cash and the gun.  justice.gov

Jersey City, NJ: Police Investigate Newport Mall Robbery With Macy's Loss Prevention stabbed
On Wednesday, November 1, Jersey City Police responded to a robbery incident that unfolded inside Newport Mall, leaving shoppers and employees shaken by the unexpected turn of events. During the course of the apprehension, the complainant and loss prevention personnel managed to subdue the shoplifter, ultimately tackling him to the ground. It was during this physical confrontation that the discovery of a kitchen knife inside Rodriguez's pocket was made. Spokeswoman Wallace-Scalvione said the knife tore through Rodriguez's pants, resulting in a grievous injury to the complainant in the groin area, causing a significant laceration. Emergency medical services swiftly arrived at the scene, providing immediate assistance to the injured complainant. The victim was subsequently transported to a local hospital, where medical professionals deemed his injuries as non-life-threatening. Spokeswoman Wallace-Scalvione said Alejandro Rodriguez was placed under arrest, and he now faces serious charges, including robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon.  rlsmedia.com

Akron, OH: Auto business workers use forklift to prevent theft suspect from escaping, video shows
When employees at Arlington Auto Wrecking realized a man had broken into one of their vehicles and was still inside, they lifted the car up with their forklift and left him hanging in the air until police arrived. Their antics even had the 911 operating cracking up. "So, he's still in the car about 20 feet in the air in the loader," the employee told 911.  live5news.com

Antioch, CA.: 69 people treated for exposure to chemical at Hobby Lobby
At least three people were hospitalized, and 69 people for exposure to a chemical consistent with bear or pepper spray at an Antioch Hobby Lobby, according to authorities. Contra Costa County firefighters crews searched for the individual who allegedly released the chemical and the chemical container, but did not find either, Toler said.  mercurynews.com

Duo Making Money & Hitting Stores
DOJ: Panama City Woman Gets 12 Months Fed Prison - Passing Counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes
Jacksonville, Florida - Lyndsey Rhea Markland (41, Panama City) to 12 months after entered various businesses in Brevard, Clay, Duval, and Seminole counties and purchased gift cards, merchandise, and food using counterfeit Federal Reserve notes. Law enforcement subsequently determined that Markland and her co-defendant, Neal Evan Pollman (42, Panama City), were staying at a hotel in Palm Bay. In November 2022, the Palm Bay Police Department (PBPD) executed a search warrant at their hotel room and located Markland inside the room. Also located in the room was approximately $30,000 in counterfeit currency and a printer, along with other tools used by Pollman to manufacture counterfeit Federal Reserve notes.

Pollman was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for manufacturing counterfeit Federal Reserve notes. The court also ordered Pollman to pay restitution to the victims he defrauded. justice.gov

London, Ontario, Canada: Suspect in Peoples Jewelry store robbery arrested
The suspect wanted by the London Police Service for allegedly robbing a south-end jewelry store has been arrested. Officers responded to the Peoples location(opens in a new tab) in White Oaks Mall around 4 p.m. Oct. 25, after receiving reports that a man smashed open a jewelry case and stole items. London police said the 23-year-old suspect has been located, arrested, and remains in custody. He's scheduled to appear in a London courtroom Thursday to answer to the charges.  london.ctvnews.ca

Salt Lake City, UT: Utah man in custody for multiple 7-Eleven robberies throughout September

St Louis, MO: Man sentenced to over 10 years for 7-Eleven armed robbery

Bronx, NY: Unhinged passerby stabs stack of water bottles outside Bronx supermarket on 2 separate days



C-Store - Tucson, AZ - Robbery
C-Store - Douglas, AZ - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Edgewood, WA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Salt Lake City, UT - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Broward County, FL - Armed Robbery
CVS - Cohasset, MA -Robbery
Clothing - Los Angeles, CA - Burglary
Collectable - San Antonio, TX - Burglary
Collectables - Oakland, CA - Burglary
Dollar - Hagerstown, MD - Armed Robbery
Dollar - Hickory, NC - Armed Robbery
Dollar - Boone County, MO - Armed Robbery
Dollar - Burke County, NC - Armed Robbery
Gas Station - DeKalb County, GA - Robbery
Gas Station - Oakland, CA - Burglary
Grocery - Indianapolis, IN - Armed Robbery
Grocery - Dearborn, MI - Burglary
Jewelry - North Attleboro MA - Robbery
Jewelry - Elizabeth, NJ - Robbery
Jewelry - St Petersburg, FL - Robbery
Liquor - Toledo, OH - Armed Robbery
Mall - Jersey City, NJ - Robbery / LP stabbed
Restaurant - Mobile, AL - Armed Robbery
Shoes - Memphis, TN - Burglary                                        


Daily Totals:
• 18 robberies
• 6 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed


Weekly Totals:
• 91 robberies
• 24 burglaries
• 1 shooting
• 0 killed

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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