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Webinar Coming Tomorrow!

The UK's Emerging Use of Biometrics in Retail Security

Biometrics in Retailing: Latest Thinking and Best Practices

Join us for updates & an informed discussion on emerging use of biometrics in retailing

Biometric authentication, such as fingerprint and facial recognition, provide a higher level of security by using characteristics that are extremely difficult to duplicate or steal.

For retailers looking to control staff access, manage time & attendance and high security areas, to what extent do biometrics represent an opportunity Vs current methods?

This session, which will start with a presentation from one of the retailers in the working group who will share their multi-year experience of a store wide deployment of biometrics and share their latest thinking. This will be followed by updates and commentary from other retailers in the group, including an update on the use of facial recognition in Distribution Centres for staff access control

This meeting is for retailers, CPG's and academics only.



LPRC: AP investigator assisted by FaceFirst at least eight times more efficient

Latest research analysis reveals investigator assisted by face matching technology identified twice the number of incidents, delivered four times the case value

An AP investigator using FaceFirst face matching technology was at least eight times more efficient than his unassisted colleague working the same case, according to new research. The AI-assisted investigator identified twice as many affected stores and delivered more than four times the case value.

The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) researches how retailers can effectively prevent retail crime, reduce losses, and improve store safety. Dr. Cory Lowe, LPRC senior research scientist, presented his case study research results on October 3, 2023, during the annual IMPACT conference hosted at the University of Florida.

In a presentation titled “ORC Case Study: The Difference Face Matching Makes,” Lowe explained how an unaided investigator fared against a fellow investigator using FaceFirst’s face matching technology. The investigators are employed by a retailer that’s a FaceFirst client, and both worked the same active gift card fraud case. Here’s an overview of their respective results:

Unassisted using traditional CCTV
Investigation time: 18 hours, 34 minutes
Locations identified: 11 stores
Case value: $8,800
Identified one related vehicle; no plate
Identified one suspect
Did not identify possible accomplice
Assisted using FaceFirst
Investigation time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Locations identified: 22 stores
Case value: $37,475
Identified two vehicles, plates for both, VIN
Identified one suspect
Identified possible accomplice
Foiled four attempts to place tampered cards
Deterred an additional $8,600 loss
Ongoing real-time face match monitoring

Gainesville (FL) Police Detective Sgt. Nick Ferrara joined Lowe for the presentation. “Nick was the Florida Retail Federation Officer of the Year in 2022,” Lowe said. “He has been using facial recognition technologies for many years. He’s widely recognized as someone who’s doing it right and winning the fight.”

Ferrara said efficiency is more vital than ever for short-staffed law enforcement agencies and retailers. “This case study is a textbook example of working smarter and not harder,” Ferra said. “Time is precious, and this technology is a force multiplier. Spend two hours on an investigation versus 18 hours, then devote that extra time to other cases. The unassisted one—it's a decent case, but the assisted one is one hell of a case to present to a prosecutor.”

Lowe addressed several extrapolations that could be made from the data, including additional efficiency calculations. “You can use case value as a common metric,” he said. “The assisted investigator built a $37,475 case in 1.97 hours. That’s 19,022 case dollars per hour. The unassisted investigator built an $8,800 case in 15.067 hours, not counting the initial search for the suspect. That’s 584 case dollars per hour. In terms of case dollars per hour, the assisted investigator was 32.57 times more efficient.”

FaceFirst considers the use of AI with human oversight vital for retailers. Consider 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, would you implement it? The real risk is answering no. FaceFirst’s solution is fast, accurate, and scalable—learn more today at facefirst.com.

The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

CA. State Legislative Select Committee - Holding hearings in November or December
Working quickly to develop recommendations for lawmakers early in the year

California lawmakers want to stop ‘alarming rise’ in retail theft. How big is the problem?

California lawmakers this session want to prioritize strategies to combat retail theft, which shopping chains say is prompting increased security and store closures.

But is the state truly experiencing a significant uptick in retail crime?  The answer is complicated.

Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, this fall and winter will convene a Select Committee on Retail Theft to examine an “alarming rise” in shoplifting, organized burglaries and robberies, which he said are “appalling and affect everyone” in a news release. 

While some forms of retail theft have increased in California, others have not gone up dramatically. And experts say undoing some of the state’s criminal justice reforms in the name of stopping thieves could prove ineffective or have negative consequences.

“We have to dispense with this simplistic narrative that reforms are what caused the crime and the crime is what causes all of the retail problems that the retail establishments are reporting,” said Charis Kubrin, a professor of Criminology, Law and Society at UC Irvine.

“It’s not to say that crime doesn’t matter. It’s not to say that it’s not a factor, not to say it’s not a piece of the puzzle. It’s just not the entire puzzle.”

California retail crime data

The Public Policy Institute of California in September analyzed 2022 crime data and found shoplifting rates were lower last year than they were in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, commercial burglary and robbery rates increased.

Kubrin, the UC Irvine professor, said organized retail theft — in which groups of thieves steal large quantities of items to resell — is a bigger concern than shoplifting, although there is little systematic data on the crime.

“The smash-and-grabs and the commercial burglaries, commercial robberies, that plays a role in what is happening with the shuttering of the Targets and others,” she said. “But I don’t think that is the whole story.”

Proposition 47 concerns

Some lawmakers have tied Proposition 47 to an increase in retail theft. Several have authored unsuccessful bills to repeal or change the law, in some cases lowering the felony theft threshold to $400.

But Kubrin thinks altering Proposition 47 would be a mistake.

Exploring retail theft solutions   sacbee.com


DA Focusing ORC Effort in Oakland

Alameda County D.A.’s Office Adds $2 Million to State Funds for Fighting Organized Retail Crimes

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price matched the $2 million Organized Retail Theft Vertical Prosecution state grant that her office was awarded in September with an additional $2 million. This raises the total funding to combat organized retail crimes within the county to $4 million.

The funds came from the Budget Act of 2022 (Senate Bill 154) that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed last year, which allocated a total of $267,118,293 to fight organized retail crime, the largest-ever single investment by the state.

In Alameda County, the Newark and Fremont police departments were among the 31 police offices that were awarded the state grants. They received $986,444 and $2.5 million respectively.

With the allocation of the new funds, Price was able to add more staff for theft prosecution, including an additional deputy district attorney and an inspector. The team will be overseen by Otis Bruce Jr., the chief assistant district attorney, who will also be in charge of the prosecutions for the crimes.

Although the county at large will benefit from these funds, attention has turned to the city of Oakland, which missed the deadline for the state grant.  postnewsgroup.com


Wisconsin Senator Introduces Bill Aimed at Raising the Penalty for Retail Crime

District 1 Senator Andre Jacque of De Pere has introduced a bill that would align the felony thresholds for retail theft and conventional theft to be the same at $500.

It would also allow the value of property stolen or received in a six-month period to be aggregated by a prosecutor, providing that offenses committed in multiple counties may be consolidated into a single filing.

Also, if the theft (retail or conventional) involves a risk of significant bodily harm, the bill increases a misdemeanor offense to a felony with a maximum sentence of three years or increases the maximum penalty for a felony offense by 50 percent. seahefnernews.com


Looks Like Somebody Finally Connected the Dots

Ore. cities, PD chiefs and sheriffs seek to recriminalize hard drug possession

The League of Oregon Cities has joined the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police and the Oregon District Attorney’s Association in calls to repeal a ballot measure decriminalizing hard drug possession, OPB reported.

Oregon cities, sheriffs, chiefs of police and DAs have signed a letter to state lawmakers, calling them to recriminalize hard drug possession when they convene starting in February, according to the report.

“As your partners in public safety, we believe that Ballot Measure 110 failed to recognize that drug addiction is both a public health and public safety crisis and requires solutions on both sides of the ledger,” the letter, obtained by OPB, reads.  police1.com


Taking Back the Streets of San Francisco - Hey Cartels We're Coming For You

Feds, SF authorities announce 'All Hands on Deck' initiative to fight fentanyl

City and federal authorities on Thursday announced a large-scale “All Hands on Deck” operation to help curb the fentanyl epidemic that has long plagued San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.

United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey — accompanied by top city officials Mayor London Breed, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, and San Francisco police Chief Bill Scott — said at an afternoon press conference that the law enforcement initiative would be conducted in cooperation with organizations such as the SFPD, SFDA, California Highway Patrol, BART police, Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Secret Service.

”Our drug crisis has been fueled in part because selling fentanyl has become a lucrative vocation for people who have found our neighborhoods ... to be a convenient and risk-free marketplace,” Ramsey said.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Clark said the measures outlined in the initiative are necessary to combat the proliferation and brazenness of Tenderloin fentanyl traffickers.

”Their business has changed the criminal landscape, and that is evident right here in San Francisco,” Clark said. “It is no secret parts of this great city are infamously known for an open-air drug market, where substance use and crime have exploded. That is due, in large part, to tolerance for drug trafficking.”

Clark said “permissive attitudes,” vast profits, and lack of criminal penalties have made certain portions of The City prime operating locations for drug traffickers.

”We don’t want this to be ‘that drug tourism place’ or ‘that place where anything goes,’” Breed said. “Today ought to make it loud and clear, based on the data and the collaboration of these agencies, that we aren’t going anywhere, and San Francisco is no longer the place where anything goes.”  sfexaminer.com


Crime rates continue to climb across Memphis

Crime is up more than 23.8% in first three quarters from 2022, MPD says

Burglaries also were up through the first three quarters: Business burglaries are up 42.2%, with 1,758; non-residential burglaries are up 34.3%, with 552; and residential burglaries are up 4.1%, with 2,811.

Violent crime increases were largely driven by the number of murders and robberies. The former was up 45.2% in the city and 42.4% in the county, and the latter was up 19.7% in the city and 18.9% in the county.

Major property crimes were up 27.8% in Memphis and 26% in Shelby County in the first three quarters of the year, largely due to a 78.9% increase in auto thefts in the city and a 77.7% increase in the county.  dailymemphian.com


"Chicagoans Feel There's a Severe Shortage of Officers"

Chicago Mayor's New PD Budget Falls Critically Short

With police vacancies hovering at 1,000 the past few years, the city has been saving hundreds of millions of dollars through attrition. Shortages in the number of police officers ultimately lead to greater overtime spending, which just topped $200 million for the year and partially offsets savings.

There are almost 1,000 police vacancies in the current police budget, while the total police officer count is almost 1,700 fewer than in 2019. The impact is seen in the lack of police officers available to respond to 911 calls and an abysmal arrest rate. Arrest were made in fewer than 12% of all crimes in 2022; the arrests between 2019 and 2021 were down 50%.

The mayor’s police budget plan calls for hiring 398 positions, but offers no details of responsibilities or tasks. Based on comments by the mayor and others in his office, it appears civilians may fill more police vacancies.

While there are many factors that contribute to the rise and fall in violent crime, police officer strength is the most critical. Police strength has dropped from almost 13,500 sworn officers in 2019 to a little over 11,600 as of March 2022. A RealClear Opinion Research survey showed 77% of Black Chicagoans want to see as many or more police in their communities. Close to the 80% of all Chicagoans answered the same way. Chicagoans implicitly feel there is a severe shortage of officers. illinoispolicy.org


Crime Stat Update

Memphis PD: Major Property Crime Shelby County Up 42.1%, City of Memphis Up 44% YTD
Memphis PD: Robberies (per 100,000 population) Shelby County up 4%, City of Memphis up 4.8% YTD





The Wave is Coming - Make Them Fight For Every Transaction

’Tis the Season for Fraudsters and Gift Card Scams

Food and beverage retailers see only 5% of their “traffic” tied to gift cards — and yet those same cards account for 50% of fraud they encounter.

Gift cards have become an attractive target for fraudsters due to their easily monetizable nature.

The Merchant’s Role

Merchants also have a role to play in mitigating gift card fraud, if their consumers opt for that payment instrument. By focusing on identifying patterns and behaviors of fraudulent users, merchants can analyze data using statistical tools, AI and machine learning to detect anomalies and suspicious patterns.

Implementing additional security measures such as two-factor authentication or prompting users to complete transactions through alternative channels can also help prevent fraud.

“It’s not about stopping fraud from existing,” he said. “It’s about making sure that it’s too ‘annoying’ to perform,” and they abandon the effort, “because they are frustrated. They don’t want to ‘fight’ over every transaction.” “It’s not about stopping fraud from existing,” he said. “It’s about making sure that it’s too ‘annoying’ to perform,” and they abandon the effort, “because they are frustrated. They don’t want to ‘fight’ over every transaction.”   pymnts.com


Guess Costo Did Have a Theft Problem

Costco shopper slams store’s ‘ridiculous’ 5-step anti-theft check to crack down on membership stealing at self-checkout

The fan said he loved being a member at the warehouse club retailer until the anti-theft measures got ridiculous.

In a post on X, the Costco shopper Matt (@MJSANGIULIANO) walked through the lengthy process of getting from the entrance to the exit.

According to the X user, shoppers must show their membership card to an attendant at the door to get in and again before they can get into self-checkout.

Once they get to a kiosk, they must scan their membership card yet again before the self-checkout will work.

After checking out, members must have all their items counted before leaving the self-checkout area and then wait for their receipt to get checked at the exit, according to the X user.

"I hate to say it because I love the place, but it's ridiculous," Matt wrote.  the-sun.com


Selling Banned Security Equipment From China

Lawmakers question Costco, ADI over sales of Hikvision, Dahua equipment

U.S. lawmakers are questioning why Costco and ADI Global continue to sell banned Hikvision and Dahua equipment in the U.S., calling the decision “puzzling” when most competitors have already pulled the items.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smtih (R-N.J.) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who chair the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), sent the letters to the chief executives Costco and ADI. 

The PRC-based brands’ products are banned for use by the U.S. government and “implicated in assisting with genocide and other horrific human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region."

Costco’s sale of Lorex security equipment allows Dahua to profit from the U.S. market in spite of the FCC ban, they said. securityinfowatch.com


Airports biometric check-ins grow as US eyes security check adoption

Convenience is motivating people to use biometric identification at airports in the U.S., aviation industry leaders said in a webinar this week on educating passengers. Meanwhile, airports in Saudi Arabia, France, and Thailand are all in different phases of rolling out biometric check-in options at their airports to streamline and secure travel.

U.S. states like Iowa, California, and Arizona have recently expanded their digital ID programs to be more integrated into more areas where ID checks happen, like airports.

While industry stakeholders may see the use of biometrics as a win for security and safety, “people are opting in because of that third element,” convenience, says Lisa Sullivan, VP of travel and transport at Idemia. “We always constantly think about that from the industry perspective. But consumers are really excited about the frictionless aspect of it.”  biometricupdate.com


Bosses Are Trying to Keep the Israel-Hamas War Out of the Office. It Isn’t Working.

Employees on different sides of the Middle East conflict say they feel unsupported as company leaders seek to head off workplace divisions

The reverberations of the Israel-Hamas conflict are playing out loudly everywhere in life—except at work.

The muted discussion is a sharp turn from the forceful statements and candid conversations that companies organized after #MeToo, George Floyd’s murder and anti-Asian attacks of recent years. This time, employees on many sides of the issue are criticizing their companies’ responses as tepid or tardy, and saying they feel as though leaders want to avoid the subject.

“CEOs, they’re like, nuh-uh, not getting dragged into this one,” says Johnny C. Taylor Jr., head of the human-resources professional association SHRM.  wsj.com


Starbucks to open 17,000 locations by 2030; cut $3 billion in costs

Survey: Store employee turnover down; average hourly start rate $15 or under

Last week's #1 article --

Security Dogs Added Outside NYC CVS Location
CVS & Home Depot follow Walmart with new ways to combat theft

All three companies are trying some pretty bold ways to cut down on theft to avoid having to close stores.

Walmart recently took the extreme step of
closing one Atlanta store with plans to reopen it with an on-site police station. That was a solution the retailer came to after talking with community leaders who did not want to see the city lose the retail giant, which has closed some locations in Chicago.

CVS adds security dogs

CVS, through a deal with The 34th Street Partnership, a New York City organization dedicated to promoting business,
has added security dogs in front of one of its locations. The dogs aren't only protecting CVS, but also neighboring stores.

Home Depot works with law enforcement

Home Depot worked with law enforcement in Florida to take down a crime ring that had targeted its stores. The criminals were arrested after an investigation by the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange taskforce, according to a press release from State Attorney General Ashley Moody. thestreet.com

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Sharing Community Outcomes

A prolific repeat person connected to more than 50 events was recently prevented by one of our UK retail partners!

Thanks to consistent and detailed reporting in the Auror platform, team members were able to connect the dots and police were able to charge the person.

They have not returned to this retailer in over a month – great collaboration and outcome!

Discover the key ingredients of leading an outcome-based approach to reducing retail crime and violence: https://www.auror.co/the-intel/reducing-retail-crime-auror-product-suite







Hackers Attacking Like Sharks - They Smell Blood

Ace Hardware says 1,202 devices were hit during cyberattack

Ace Hardware confirmed that a cyberattack is preventing local stores and customers from placing orders as the company works to restore 196 servers.

Ace Hardware is a hardware store retailer-owned cooperative that operates 17 distribution centers and 5,700 shops across the United States, China, Panama, and the UAE. The cooperative employs 12,500 people and has an annual revenue that surpasses $9 billion.

"As a result of this incident, many of our key operating systems, including ACENET, our Warehouse Management Systems, the Ace Retailer Mobile Assistant (ARMA), Hot Sheets, Invoices, Ace Rewards and the Care Center's phone system have been interrupted or suspended."

Scheduled deliveries are adversely impacted, and retailers are requested to refrain from placing additional orders for now, as these cannot be processed.

The new notice consulted retailers to keep their stores open to serve customers, advising that the in-store POS systems and credit card processing remain unaffected.

The online shop remains available for product search and viewing. However, the ordering functionality remains disabled today, as the systems that process customer orders are yet to be restored.

Cybercriminals take advantage

Unfortunately, while Ace restores their devices to resume operations, threat actors have flocked to take advantage of the attack.

Ace Hardware warns that threat actors are contacting Ace retailers with phishing emails that urge them to redirect payments to "an alternative" electronic payment address until systems are restored.

In other cases, attackers call Ace stores posing as agents of the Epicor Software Corporation, presumably one of Ace's contractors, asking them to hand over account credentials to their network allegedly for troubleshooting.  bleepingcomputer.com

Ace Hardware Still Reeling From Weeklong Cyberattack



U.S. #1 Country Attacked Worldwide

Organizations turn to zero trust, network segmentation as ransomware attacks double

Report finds network segmentation is considered critical to thwarting ransomware attacks, but adoption is slow in organizations.

The number of ransomware attacks (successful and unsuccessful) has doubled over the past two years. The average number of attacks per country among surveyed organizations rose from an average of 43 in 2021 to 86 in 2023. Organizations have responded by implementing zero trust and network segmentation strategies. That's according to the State of Segmentation 2023 report by security firm Akamai. The vendor surveyed 1,200 IT and security decision-makers in ten countries to measure the progress organizations have made in securing their environments.

The research found that almost all (93%) respondents consider segmentation - broadly recognized as an important element of zero-trust frameworks - critical to thwarting ransomware attacks. However, deployment appears to be slow, with only 30% of organizations segmenting across more than two business critical areas in 2023.

Ransomware attacks continue to rise, as does their impact

The greatest rise in ransomware attacks was measured between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023, according to data collected from the leak sites of approximately 90 different ransomware groups, the report read.

US companies faced the greatest number of ransomware threats with respondents reporting an average of 115 ransomware attacks over the past 12 months, the most of any individual country measured by Akamai.

Ransomware attacks also appear to be more impactful compared to two years ago, the report indicated.  Respondents cited increases in network downtime (44% vs 42%), data loss (42% vs 36%), and reputational damage (39% vs 33%) following attacks.

Segmentation a key element of zero-trust security but adoption is slow. csoonline.com


Hackers Targeting the Gatekeepers - Backup Administrators Credentials

Backup administrators under fire as ransomware threats evolve

Data backups are often in the crosshairs of cybercriminals looking to turn a profit off ransomware. As a result, threat researchers have noted an increasingly common new target: backup administrators. 

These essential personnel are gatekeepers for a company’s data backups, managing the system and ensuring backups work as expected in the event of a crisis. So, hackers are targeting backup administrators to steal their credentials and gather other key information that may clear their path toward circumventing security measures, deactivating backup protections and corrupting data. This allows bad actors to effectively cut off all access to backups, eliminating an organization’s last line of defense. 

To combat this, IT leaders must prepare their backup administrators and shore up data protection systems by leveraging new and innovative strategies. 

Backup administrator resiliency

As generative AI tools improve the quality of social engineering, cybercriminals can use those tools to create well-written emails designed to phish a backup administrator.

Consequently, no IT personnel, especially those outside the security team, should ever be exempt from cybersecurity trainings. In fact, their ongoing cybersecurity training should be much more rigorous than that of the average employee given the level of access they have to critical systems.  securitymagazine.com


4 Million More Cybersecurity Pro's Needed to Safeguard Digital Assets Globally
Makes sense when considering the global digital transformation & AGI's possible impact

Cybersecurity workforce shortages: 67% report people deficits

The global cybersecurity workforce has reached 5.5 million people, an 8.7% increase from 2022, representing 440,000 new jobs, according to ISC2.

While this is the highest workforce ever recorded, the report shows that demand is still outpacing the supply. The cybersecurity workforce gap has reached a record high, with 4 million professionals needed to safeguard digital assets adequately.

The research also finds new challenges impacting professionals in the field, including economic uncertainty, artificial intelligence, fragmented regulations and skills gaps. Additionally, a challenging threat landscape continues to loom over the field, with 75% of cybersecurity professionals saying the current threat landscape is the most challenging it has been in the last five years.

Only 52% believe their organization has adequate tools and people to respond to cyber incidents over the next two to three years.  helpnetsecurity.com


Visa launches cybersecurity training program

Visa Payments Learning Program to Diversify and Upskill Payments Talent

New program supports White House National Cybersecurity Strategy to develop and train a diverse workforce with necessary knowledge and skills to close critical talent gap.

In March 2023 alone, 41.9 million data records were compromised by cyberattacks across the world—a 951% increase since March 20211. This has created a demand for cybersecurity talent across all industries, but demand outpaces supply with global cybersecurity job vacancies growing by 350%, with 3.5 million unfilled roles in 20232. Overcoming this shortage is critical for any organization, but it is particularly important in the payments industry to protect sensitive data, prevent potential losses, comply with regulations, and maintain customer trust.

For more information about the Visa Payments Learning Program and the Payments Cybersecurity courses, visit Visa Payments Cybersecurity Certification website.   visa.com


39% of Cybersecurity Pro's or Colleagues Approached By Malicious Actors
Economic Uncertainty Impacting Cybersecurity Pros
New research also finds new challenges impacting professionals in the field, including economic uncertainty, artificial intelligence, fragmented regulations and skills gaps. Additionally, a challenging threat landscape continues to loom over the field, with 75% of cybersecurity professionals saying the current threat landscape is the most challenging it has been in the last five years.

71% of respondents agree that periods of economic uncertainty increase the risk of malicious insiders. Study found that 39% of cybersecurity professionals have been approached or know someone who has been approached by a malicious actor. Those at companies that have had layoffs in cybersecurity are three times more likely to have been approached to act as a malicious insider.

47% of respondents experienced cutbacks, which included budget cuts, layoffs and hiring and promotion freezes

35% faced cuts to cybersecurity training programs, vital for skills development and workforce growth

Two-thirds of respondents say that cutbacks have negatively impacted their productivity, team morale and increased their workload

57% said their response to threats has been inhibited by cutbacks, and 52% have seen an increase in insider risk-related incidents

31% of professionals believe that cutbacks will continue into 2024, and 70% expect those cutbacks to include layoffs helpnetsecurity.com








Secret "Project Nessie" Rakes in $1B+

Amazon made extra $1 Billion in profit via secret pricing algorithm.

Amazon used a secret algorithm to essentially help raise prices on other online sites and also “destroyed” internal communications as the Federal Trade Commission undertook an antitrust investigation against it, according to newly unredacted portions of the agency's lawsuit.  The new excerpts unveiled Thursday allege executives at the e-commerce giant intentionally deleted communication by using a feature on the popular app Signal that makes messages disappear. By doing this, the FTC said Amazon “destroyed more than two years” worth of communications from June 2019 to “at least early 2022” despite instructions it gave Amazon not to do so. 

In a prepared statement Amazon spokesperson Tim Doyle called the FTC’s claim “baseless and irresponsible.”   “Amazon voluntarily disclosed employee Signal use to the FTC, painstakingly collected Signal conversations from its employees’ phones, and allowed agency staff to inspect those conversations even when they had nothing to do with the FTC’s investigation,” Doyle said.

The FTC and 17 states sued Amazon in September alleging the company was abusing its position in the marketplace to inflate prices on and off its platform, overcharge sellers and stifle competition. Amazon is accused of violating federal and state antitrust laws, but the company has responded with a full-throated defense of its business practices.

The antitrust case is the most aggressive move the government has taken to tame the market power of Seattle-based Amazon and comes as the FTC has been taking big swings against tech companies.

The unredacted excerpts of the lawsuit disclosed on Thursday provided more details on a talked-about algorithm, which was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal and former Vox reporter Jason Del Ray.

The FTC's excerpts say the tool — codenamed “Project Nessie” has been used by Amazon to pinpoint products that will allow it to rake in more cash. The company used it to predict where it can raise prices and have other shopping sites follow suit. Amazon activated the algorithm to raise prices on some products, and when others followed its lead, it kept the elevated prices in place, the agency said. Using Nessie has generated more than $1 billion in excess profits for Amazon, according to the FTC.  boston25news.com


Amazon Aims it's Guns at Competitor & Buries Their Merchants

FTC Says Amazon Crippled Moms-and-Kids Startup Zulily

Heading into the holiday shopping season a few years back, e-commerce upstart Zulily mounted a bold challenge to Amazon.com Inc.: Zulily would beat or match the prices of its cross-town Seattle rival, on any product.

Amazon moved quickly to eliminate the threat. The company trained its pricing algorithms and competitive monitoring teams on Zulily, and began punishing merchants who offered lower prices on the rival site by limiting the visibility of their products on Amazon, according to newly unredacted portions of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit. “Because they could not afford the retaliation meted out by Amazon’s anti-discounting scheme, several suppliers stopped selling to Zulily altogether,” the FTC said

FTC saya Amazon stifles competition by effectively preventing suppliers from selling merchandise for a lower price on competing websites — an allegation also levied in a separate antitrust case brought by California. bloomberg.com


Brooklyn Gang Running Fake Websites

DOJ: Defendant Gets 20 Months Fed Prison As Leader of $1.9M in Schemes Defrauding Internet Consumers & Financial Institutions

Brooklyn - Larby Amirouche was sentenced to 20 months in prison for his role in fraudulent internet marketing schemes utilizing e-commerce websites that purported to sell various dietary supplements, hair care products, skin care products, testosterone, and web-based business tutorials.  As part of the sentence, the Court also ordered the defendant to pay $1.8 million in forfeiture and over $110,000 in criminal restitution.  Amirouche pleaded guilty in May 2022 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Amirouche was the managing member of Angry Elephant Marketing LLC and Purple Whale Management LLC.  Between January 2012 and April 2016, Amirouche and his co-conspirators earned illegal profits by (1) charging consumer credit cards for products that were ordered but never delivered to the consumer; (2) charging consumer credit cards for products that were not purchased by the consumers and (3) repeatedly charging consumers for products that they had ordered from Amirouche’s websites.  justice.gov


Online Returns 'Seriously Impacting Profits'
Are Stores Set Up To Handle a Wave of Online Returns?

With many retailers no longer offering free online returns, in-store returns promise to see an uptick. Are stores ready?

A study led by researchers at the University of Portsmouth supported by the ECR Community Shrinkage and On-Shelf Availability Group concluded that “
returns from online sales, particularly returns to store, are seriously impacting company profits.

The study finds that BORIS (buy online, return in-store) “
creates unexpected additional costs,” including requiring stores to find more physical space to store returns in their shops and use store staff to process returns.

The study concludes that
retailers should treat returns as a profit center instead of a cost of doing business, but complex procedures for managing returns remain a hurdle. The researchers wrote, “With little senior management oversight of the returns process, retailers find it difficult to pin down crucial information such as the rate of return and the costs of handling a returned item.”

Other studies also show a
side benefit of having shoppers return or pick up products from stores is a high likelihood that they’ll make an additional purchase. However, Appriss Retail’s “2022 State of the Industry: Returns as an Engagement Strategy” found only 22% of retailers believe they are effective at incentivizing shoppers at the point of return.

Narvar’s 2023 State of Returns survey likewise found
the most preferred return method for online shoppers for the second year in a row was “drop-off at a third-party location,” including stores but also the post office, UPS, or a locker. The top reason was to avoid the cost of mailing the return, while a third of respondents cited “repackaging” as their top frustration. Getting an “instant refund” also held strong appeal.

A Shopify blog entry on BORIS counted several benefits for retailers, including
saving the cost and time of mailed returns, increased foot traffic, and adding customer convenience. Downsides cited included potential long return lines and staff demands. Kate Ashley, associate teaching professor in the Supply Chain and Information Management Group at Northeastern University, told Shopify, “A retailer that offers BORIS needs to have a clear process for handling merchandise that is returned to a store, especially if the assortment offered online differs from brick-and-mortar offerings.”  retailwire.com

Editorial by 'Exhausted' Amazon Worker Who's Going on Strike
Amazon’s $26 billion delivery business runs on exhausted, sweat-soaked drivers running door to door. Now we’re on strike
work is extreme, our bodies ache and the pressure from Amazon is unmatched, but this year, we’re not willing to put up with it any longer. We are on strike to stand up for what we deserve.

On the average day, Amazon wants me to deliver
350 packages in just eight hours. In the wake of Prime Day or Black Friday, that number jumps to as much as 400. This load is unmanageable.

I am always sprinting door to door and worried that if I don’t deliver all the boxes, I’ll be fired. Amazon’s sensors and software monitor us in our trucks throughout the day and if we fall behind, they want to know why. I
usually skip my 15-minute breaks to keep up with Amazon’s demanding quotas.

In Palmdale, we deliver in the High Desert, and many of the Amazon vans don’t have working air conditioning. It feels like walking into an oven when I climb into the back of the van. After a couple minutes looking for a package, I’m drenched in sweat, and I sometimes feel lightheaded and nauseous from the extreme heat. Between 2010 and 2017,
20 California workers died from heat-related illness. I don’t want to be next.

Working at Amazon, you’re treated as though you’re less than human. Even though Amazon holds me responsible for delivering its packages, regardless of the weather, the
executives say my safety is not their problem. I wear an Amazon uniform, drive an Amazon-branded van, and I’m only allowed to deliver Amazon packages, but technically I work for an Amazon subcontractor.

The same is true for all of the Amazon drivers you see around your neighborhoods. Amazon does it this way because they get all the benefits of having their own drivers and complete control over those drivers without any real responsibility for their safety.
Amazon can hire and fire us and monitor us while we’re on the job, but can then pass the buck when people ask for a raise or complain about working conditions – working conditions that Amazon sets. fortune.com

Amazon, Meta Make 'Fair Competition' Vows To UK Regulator

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Says He Is Leaving Seattle for Miami







Defendant Indicted on 20 Counts of Organized Retail Theft

No bond for Yosvany Portilla who stole thousands in merchandise from Sephora and Ulta stores.

(Phoenix) – Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell has announced the indictment of Yosvany Maza Portilla (DOB 07/89)*, who is accused of stealing cosmetics from stores in the greater Phoenix area. Over a period of 18-months, Portilla repeatedly hit Ulta and Sephora stores throughout Maricopa County. 

“These thefts occurred on many different dates with different retailers, and involved merchandise valued at more than $11,500,” said County Attorney Mitchell.  “I applaud the leaders at Ulta and Sephora for calling the police and supporting this prosecution. In other cities, Organized Retail Theft is an epidemic. My promise to the people of Maricopa County is that I will not allow these organized criminal groups to take root here. These crimes are taken seriously, and they are prosecuted.” 

Portilla faces two indictments. The first is for 19 counts of organized retail theft, a class four felony.  In the second indictment, Maza Portilla is facing an additional count of organized retail theft, for a total of 20 counts of organized retail theft. Watch County Attorney Mitchell’s video

(Video) San Jose, CA: Women use distraction tactic to steal vault with $150K worth of items from SJ tailor shop.

A burglary at a tailor shop could be linked to two other crimes in San Jose involving women who allegedly used distraction as a strategy to steal valuables worth thousands of dollars.

Vallejo, CA: Three Vallejo burglary suspects arrested: $70,000 of merchandise missing.

Three suspects accused of burglarizing a Vallejo business were arrested, the Vallejo Police Department announced Saturday.

Riverside County, CA: Woman Arrested with Two Teens in Retail Theft of Over $10,000 in Merchandise from Several Stores.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Office officials report that on Thursday, November 2, 2023, about 8:04 p.m., deputies assigned to the Sheriff’s Lake Elsinore Station's Special Enforcement Team and the Robbery Burglary Suppression Team responded to a reported grand theft at a local retail store.

Canton, OH: Owner of DJ’s Tires & Rims reports $45,000 worth of merchandise stolen.

A burglary at a tailor shop could be linked to two other crimes in San Jose involving women who allegedly used distraction as a strategy to steal valuables worth thousands of dollars.



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Shootings & Deaths

DOJ:  Two Juveniles Charged as Adults for Murdering High School Student During Jersey Mike's Armed Robbery

WASHINGTON – Marlan Smith, Jr., 16, and Anthony Monroe, 17, of Washington, D.C., were presented in Superior Court and charged as adults today on the charge of first degree felony murder while armed, stemming from the homicide of 17-year-old A.C., on September 11, 2023, in front of Jersey Mike’s, in the 2300 Block of Washington Place, N.E.

The defendants are accused of committing five separate armed robberies beginning at approximately 5:49 a.m., prior to the sixth armed robbery that resulted in A.C.’s death by shooting him in the head. justice.gov

Indianapolis, IN: 2 dead, 6 injured in overnight shooting.

Police are investigating after two people were killed and six other people were injured in several shootings early Sunday morning across Indianapolis.

Philadelphia, PA: Philly pizza shop employee fatally shoots armed man during attempted robbery.

A Philadelphia pizza shop employee killed a would-be-robber in a shootout on Saturday night, according to police.

Columbus, OH: Man charged with murder after stabbing at Roosters restaurant.

A Columbus man is facing a murder charge after a fight at a Prairie Township restaurant.

Ocala, FL: 1 dead after shooting near Burger King in Ocala.

One person died following a shooting on Friday, according to the Ocala Police Department.

Clarksville, TN: 1 dead following shooting at Clarksville convenience store.

Detectives have launched a homicide investigation after a shooting was reported at a convenience store in Clarksville Sunday afternoon.

West Bountiful, UT: Man shot, killed in Lowe’s parking lot; suspect in custody after standoff.

A man suspected of being involved in the fatal shooting of a man in the parking lot of a Lowe’s home improvement store in West Bountiful Friday morning was taken into custody after a standoff with Grand County sheriff’s deputies.

Joliet, IL: Body Found In Car At Joliet Grocery Store Parking Lot.

Puebla, Mexico: Gunmen kill 5 people in an apparent dispute over fuel theft in central Mexico

Gunmen on motorcycles shot five men to death Saturday on the outskirts of the Mexican city of Puebla in an apparent dispute over stolen fuel, authorities said.


Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Spring Hill, FL: Serial fraud suspect arrested after using credit card stolen in ‘smash and grab’ burglary.

A string of vehicle burglaries spanning multiple counties landed two women behind bars, and another suspect remains at large, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Fresno, CA: Hobby Lobby placed on lockdown during arrest.

A woman was arrested in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby Friday evening after police discovered she was a suspect in a Halloween burglary and vehicle theft, the Fresno Police Department said.

Pleasant Grove, AL: Pharmacy theft leads to 3 arrests.

According to Pleasant Grove Police, two men are accused of breaking in and stealing from a Pleasant Grove pharmacy last week.

CBP nabs more than $873K in counterfeit goods in Puerto Rico 

DOJ: Federal Jury Convicts Masked Man For Armed Robbery Of Multiple Pharmacies

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Jesse Rance Moore (46, Bell) guilty of four counts pertaining to Hobbs Act robberies and three counts of brandishing a firearm during the robberies. Moore faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each of the robbery offenses and up to life in federal prison for each of the firearm offenses. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 30, 2024.

FBI first learned of a masked man robbing a string of pharmacy stores in the Columbia County area after the North Florida Pharmacy in Fort White was robbed at gun point on January 13, 2022. justice.gov

Kansas City, MO: KC man sentenced for 2020 deadly shooting outside Independence gas station.

Wichita Falls, TX: Man who pulled knife after stealing burrito sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Omak, WA: Man gets nearly 3 years in prison for Walmart burglary and theft.

Lewisburg, MA: Woman stole $1,300 worth of merchandise from Walmart; self-check-out.




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

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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Loss Prevention Manager (House of Sport)
Boston, MA - posted October 10
As a Loss Prevention Manager, you will support the Store Leadership team in achieving company objectives by managing all Loss Prevention programs and policies within the store. This key role will have the tremendous responsibility of keeping our associates, customers and our store safe...

District Asset Protection Partner
Tucson and Chandler/Phoenix, AZ Area - posted September 27
The Asset Protection (AP) Partner is a strong communicator, advisor, investigator, and compliance partner. This role is responsible for asset protection program execution at all levels and implementing methods to prevent, and control losses, in support of protecting company assets. This role collaborates with store teams, Human Resources, Supply Chain, and District Management...

District Asset Protection Partner
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The District Asset Protection (AP) Partner is a strong communicator, advisor, investigator, and compliance partner to our Stores. This role is responsible for driving shrink improvement and leadership of asset protection program execution at the District level. The District AP Partner is responsible for assessing store-based shrink initiatives, promoting shrink awareness, and implementing methods to prevent, and control losses...

Asset Protection Specialist
Newburgh, NY - posted September 25
The Asset Protection Specialist role at Ocean State Job Lot is responsible for protecting company assets and monitoring store activities to reduce property or financial losses. This role partners closely with store leadership and the Human Resources team, when applicable, to investigate known or suspected internal theft, external theft, and vendor fraud...

Security Director
Chicago, IL - posted September 7
Reporting to the VP of Corporate Security, the Director of Corporate Security is a professional security practitioner that acts as an advisor/consultant to the assigned Property Management Group. Responsibilities include monitoring security vendors' performance, evaluating for contract compliance, and serving as a program quality control manager...

District Asset Protection Manager
Washington, DC - posted August 31
The MidAtlantic Division has an opening for a District Asset Protection Manager in Northern Virginia. This person will support Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudoun counties. This is a salary role with up to 70% travel within the assigned district. District Asset Protection Manager will provide positive/proactive leadership, and instruction in the area of Security/Asset Protection...

Corporate & Supply Chain Asset Protection Leader
Quincy, MA - posted August 3
The primary purpose of this position is to manage the Corporate Asset Protection function for all US Support Offices and Supply Chain. Direct team in the design, implementation and management of physical security processes and equipment to ensure facilities are considered a safe and secure environment for all associates and external parties...

Occupational Health & Safety Manager
Mount Horeb, WI - posted July 27
This role is responsible for examining the workplace for environmental or physical factors that could affect employee or guest health, safety, comfort, and performance. This role is also responsible for reducing the frequency and severity of accidents. To be successful in the role, you will need to work closely with management, employees, and relevant regulatory bodies...

Region Asset Protection Manager
Jacksonville, FL - posted October 24
Responsible for managing asset protection programs designed to minimize shrink, associate and customer liability accidents, bad check and cash loss, and safety incidents for stores within assigned region. This position will develop the framework for the groups' response to critical incidents, investigative needs, safety concerns and regulatory agency visits...


Regional AP Mgr - South FL Market - Bilingual required
Miami, FL - posted August 8
Responsible for managing asset protection programs designed to minimize shrink, associate and customer liability accidents, bad check and cash loss, and safety incidents for stores within assigned region. This position will develop the framework for the groups' response to critical incidents, investigative needs, safety concerns and regulatory agency visits...

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