Tagged: retail Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , retail, retail theft ring, , ,   

    Where do shoplifting rings sell their stolen goods? 

    Where do shoplifting rings sell their stolen goods?

    By Greg Collier

    You may have seen some stores in the news lately about shoplifting rings. In these recent stories, a large number of people enter a store all at once and grab as much stuff as they can. The reasoning behind this kind of theft is that the store security can’t possibly stop everyone. While these incidents have been largely successful for the thieves, this is not how retail theft rings normally operate.

    In most cases, there is a ringleader who will employ a team of shoplifters. Often these shoplifters are people with substance abuse issues who are paid in drugs. They’ll walk into a big box store like Walmart or Home Depot and walk out with high dollar items like it was child’s play. The ringleader will then sell the stolen merchandise at below-market value and still make a handsome profit.

    In the pre-digital world, these goods would be sold out of the back of a truck, or a back alley, or even the back of a store. The problem then was that you had to be in the know to be able to buy the stolen goods. Now, these stolen goods are sold on several digital platforms, but one platform seems to attract more stolen goods than the others. While eBay and craigslist used to be popular for selling stolen goods, they’ve both fallen out of favor. According to a report from NBC News, Facebook Marketplace is now the go-to place for stolen goods to be sold.

    The reason behind Marketplace’s popularity among retail theft rings is that Facebook is slow to respond to law enforcement requests, if they respond at all. This has caused investigations into these rings to come to a grinding halt while police wait on a response from Facebook. Since many retail theft rings travel around the country, time is often of the essence for law enforcement.

    Industry experts seem to think that Facebook isn’t responding in a timely manner because Marketplace’s oversight hasn’t kept up with its growth.

    Many think that this is a victimless crime. They think that the retailers are insured against this kind of loss, so who is it hurting? For one, the shoplifters themselves as the ringleaders are keeping them in a cycle of substance abuse. The people buying the stolen goods can also be held criminally responsible. It some jurisdictions, even if you buy stolen merchandise unknowingly, you could still face criminal charges. If prosecutors believe that if the buyer should have had reasonable suspicion that the goods were stolen, the buyer could face legal repercussions.

    Just because Marketplace is owned by a multi-billion dollar corporation, if it’s not being monitored, it’s no safer than craigslist.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , retail,   

    Avoid Black Friday again this year 

    Avoid Black Friday again this year

    By Greg Collier

    As you’re probably well aware of, this Friday is the infamous shopping holiday Black Friday. Every year, we urge our readers to avoid going to brick and mortar stores due to deceptive practices by the stores. Last year, we urged our readers not to go for health reasons due to the ongoing pandemic. This year, we’d like to remind our readers that COVID-19 infections are still happening and being in such close quarters with other shoppers may increase the risk of infection. But again, there are other reasons why you should be wary of many different things on Black Friday.

    The first thing to be aware of is the so-called doorbuster deals. These items are usually very limited in stock. These items are generally designed to get you in the door and try to get you to buy something more expensive once the limited stock is exhausted. Some have even said that the doorbuster products are manufactured with cheaper components to keep profit margins high for the store. That’s not even taking the current supply line crisis into account, as this year’s stock could be even more limited than before. Many of the doorbuster deals can be found on sale later on in the holiday season at an even better price if they’ll be available.

    Shopping online is a much better alternative, but there are pitfalls online that need to be avoided as well. While shopping with the major online retailers is relatively safe, scammers will try to trick you into believing you’re using one of those retailers. Scammers will send out phishing emails using the actual logos of famous shopping sites but will leave a link in the email that will take you to a phony site that resembles the real thing. They’ll then try to gain your financial information for possible identity theft and other potential abuses. In the same vein, scammers will pose as retailers and email you asking you to download something to get a deal. This will instead infect your device with malware, which could allow bad actors to access your device remotely and steal as much information as they want from it. Always go directly to a retailer’s website rather than clicking on anything in an email.

    If at all possible, use a credit card when shopping online. While debit cards may offer some protection against fraudulent purchases, credit cards have better protections and won’t take any money directly from your bank balance. Also, keep an eye on both your debit and credit card accounts to make sure that no unauthorized purchases have been made on them. Many of these services can be set up to send you a notification every time the account is used. While the notifications may be a bit annoying, they can go a long way in preventing fraud on your accounts.

    Even if you’re just buying gift cards for the family this year, there are still hazards to look out for. If you get a gift card where the PIN has already been exposed, it may have already been bought by a scammer. Sometimes scammers will put the card back on the shelf, hoping that someone will add additional funds to the card. Then the scammer could use the funds on the card without your knowledge. Another variation of this scam is when a scammer will scratch the protective coating off the card’s PIN, then replace it with a sticker after writing down the number.

    We hope these tips help you shop smarter and safer this holiday season.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , retail,   

    Why does this online shopping scam send the wrong items? 

    Why does this online shopping scam send the wrong items?

    By Greg Collier

    Most shoppers are always looking for a good bargain. No one wants to pay more money than they have to. Sometimes we see a bargain that’s so tempting it’s almost impossible to pass up, and we forget the golden rule of online shopping. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s what online scammers are hoping anyway. These scammers set up legitimate-looking websites that pretend to sell items at cut rate prices. However, what you order isn’t always what you get.

    For example, a man in Tennessee wanted to buy a greenhouse for his wife’s garden. The advertised price of the greenhouse was around $25. Comparable greenhouses typically go for around $150-$200. That’s a price cut of over 85%. Instead of getting a greenhouse, he was shipped a pair of gardening gloves that probably cost less than a dollar to produce.

    Similarly, a woman from Ohio ordered a space heater from one of these scam websites. The item was 1/3 the price than it was on Amazon. She even did her research to make sure that the website was based in the US and not overseas. Her research showed that the website was based in Marietta, Georgia. So she ordered the heater and received a straw hat instead.

    The scammers send these cheap items instead of the actual goods to fight order disputes. When the victim tries to dispute the charges, the scammers just say that an item was delivered. For too many payment processors, this is a good enough reason to rule in the scammer’s favor. You might be able to fight the charges if you used a credit card, but if you used a debit card or a payment service like PayPal, there’s a good chance you’ll never see that money again.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Playstation 5, retail, , , Xbox Series X   

    Video game consoles are the new scam item 

    Video game consoles are the new scam item

    The hot new items this holiday season are the latest generation of video game consoles, the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X. The consoles were released last month and due to the pandemic and scalpers, the consoles have been in short supply. The demand has gotten so high that some scalpers have even been robbed when trying to sell an overpriced unit. While we can’t tell you how to get your hands on one of the new consoles, we can tell you how not to get scammed if you’re looking to buy one this holiday season.

    The main way to prevent yourself from being scammed is sticking with known retailers, both online and brick and mortar. While you’re searching online for a console, you may start to see ads for websites advertising the new consoles from retailers you’ve never heard of. Before clicking on that ad, research the retailer. Do a web search of the retailer’s name with the word ‘scam’ and see what comes up. If you try to use one of these scam sites, you could potentially end up providing scammers with your credit or debit card information.

    If you’re the type that has no reservations about dealing with scalpers, stick with sites like eBay that offer some kind of purchase protection. If you’re lucky enough to find one of the consoles on a classifieds site, make the exchange at your local police department. Also, inspect the box before buying as some scammers will put things like bricks and phone books in the box to make it seem heavy.

    The best advice we can give you is to just keep periodically checking with known retailers. You may just get lucky with your perseverance. However, if for some reason you’re not able to get a console this holiday season, keep in mind that there really aren’t any must-have games for either console yet.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , retail,   

    Why you should really avoid Black Friday this year 

    Why you should really avoid Black Friday this year

    In the past, we’ve always advised our readers against going to a brick and mortar store on Black Friday. This year, it should be quite obvious why you should avoid the big box stores this year. Not only has the CDC urged Americans to not travel this Thanksgiving due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, but many retailers have also reversed the previous trend of starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day. However, if you insist on braving the current landscape on Black Friday, there are still the annual pitfalls you have to look out for.

    The first thing to beware of is the so-called doorbuster deals. These items are usually very limited in stock. These items are generally designed to get you in the door and try to get you to buy something more expensive once the limited stock is exhausted. Some have even said that the doorbuster products are manufactured with cheaper components to keep profit margins high for the store.

    Shopping online is a much better alternative, but there are pitfalls online that need to be avoided as well. While shopping with the major online retailers is relatively safe, scammers will try to trick you into believing you’re using one of those retailers. Scammers will send out phishing emails using the actual logos of famous shopping sites but will leave a link in the email that will take you to a phony site that resembles the real thing. They’ll then try to gain your financial information for possible identity theft and other potential abuses. Along the same vein, scammers will pose as retailers and send you an email asking you to download something in order to get a deal. This will instead infect your device with malware which could allow bad actors to access your device remotely and steal as much information as they want from it. Always go directly to a retailer’s website rather than clicking on anything in an email.

    If at all possible when shopping online, use a credit card over a debit card when making purchases. While both debit and credit cards offer protection against scam purchases, credit cards have better protections and won’t take any money directly from your bank balance. Also, keep an eye on both your debit and credit card accounts to make sure that no unauthorized purchases have been made on them. Many of these services can be set up to send you a notification every time the account is used. While the notifications may be a bit annoying, they can go a long way in preventing fraud on your accounts.

    Even if you’re just buying gift cards for the family this year, there are still hazards to look out for. If you get a card with the PIN already being exposed it’s likely that card has been purchased already with the scammer putting the card back on the shelf hoping that someone will add additional funds to the card that the scammer could then use without your knowledge. Another variation of this scam is when a scammer will scratch the protective coating off of the card’s PIN then replace it with a sticker after writing down the number.

    To all our readers, we hope that you have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

     
  • Geebo 8:10 am on April 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: retail, social distancing, ,   

    Stores implementing new social distancing rules 

    Stores implementing new social distancing rules

    With Amazon and other retailers having their delivery schedules pushed back for months, now more than ever we’re all going to have to start relying more on brick and mortar stores. However, this comes with problems of its own as it’s recommended that we don’t gather in large groups in contained areas. Unfortunately, with the rash of panic buying that has been happening for the past few weeks that can’t always be helped when we go shopping for supplies. Now, some of the nation’s largest retailers will be implementing new procedures to keep customers from gathering too close to each other in their stores.

    Both Walmart and Target have announced new procedures that will allow only a handful of customers into their stores at a time. In order to lessen the impact of possible coronavirus infections, Walmart has started to only allow 20% of the store’s capacity in at one time. There will only be one door open to the store and if the store reaches capacity customers will be allowed in on a one in and one out basis. So there may be extended waits just to get into the store if you go. A member of our team experienced some of this over the weekend as the Walmart they went to only had one entrance accessible and had a line of shopping carts being used to cordon customers in line to enter the store. Even though our team member did not experience any lines longer than usual, that may change in the coming days. Target has not made their plans public as of yet but one could assume they would be similar to Walmart’s.

    As the virus continues, more retailers will probably adopt similar policies if they haven’t already. Please keep in mind that we are all in this together. Patience may wear thin while we might have to wait in a long line just to get a gallon of milk. While frustration is certainly understandable, causing disruptions either in the line to enter or while in the store helps nobody.

    This is just one of the many situations in today’s global crisis where things will work better and more efficiently. If we just work together and keep our fellow inhabitants in mind we’ll be able to weather the storm and come out of it a stronger community.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , retail,   

    Are counterfeits on Amazon a problem? 

    Are counterfeits on Amazon a problem?

    The other day, we posted about several scams that are targeting Amazon shoppers. The scams we mentioned all take place outside of Amazon. That’s not to say that there aren’t scams happening within Amazon. While Amazon is not directly responsible for this particular scam, they are said to be taking measures to combat the problem. What we’re talking about is counterfeits of brand name goods that are being sold through third-party vendors on Amazon. This isn’t the first problem Amazon has had with its third-party stores. Previously, there was an issue of some third-party vendors selling items that had been thrown in the trash.

    Fox Business is reporting that Amazon is getting more serious about cracking down on cheap knock-offs of name brands being sold on their platform. These counterfeits have come at a cost for Amazon as some name brands have refused to sell their products on Amazon because of the number of counterfeits being sold. Many of these counterfeits include such brands as Apple, Nike, Under Armour and Sony. Amazon has even faced a number of lawsuits over the number of counterfeits being sold. Since then Amazon has launched a number of programs to help rod their platform of counterfeits and have even enlisted the help of some well-known name brands.

    So what can we as consumers do to avoid buying counterfeits? When shopping on Amazon be aware of prices that are too low for the product in question. Read the Amazon reviews of the seller to see if they have a reputation for selling knock-offs. Be wary of pictures on the item page that are blurry or ill-defined. And if the seller wants you to contact them before you purchase the item, not only could it be a counterfeit product but it could potentially be a scam as well.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , dumspter diving, retail, trash, Wall Street Journal   

    Are your Amazon shipments delivered from the dumpster? 

    Are your Amazon shipments delivered from the dumpster?

    An untold number of people have probably ordered their Christmas presents from Amazon this year. However, did you know that not all the products on Amazon are actually sold by Amazon? Around half of all the products sold on Amazon are sold by third-party sellers. Some of these sellers are well-known companies who see Amazon as an additional venue for their products. Some sellers are operating out of their home. While many of these home sellers are offering products that have nothing wrong with them, some sellers have procured their stock through less than ethical means.

    Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an expose detailing how there are many Amazon sellers who source their stock by digging through trash. Many of these so-called dumpster divers raid the trash bins of known retailers to claim whatever products they can clean up and sell on Amazon. These can often include food and medicinal items. The WSJ was able to find items in the dumpster of a Trader Joe’s which they cleaned up and listed for sale on Amazon. They also quickly bought the items themselves to make sure no consumers bought the items. The orders went through as if the items were brand new.

    The problem with this practice besides the obvious sanitation issue is that since Amazon does all the shipping with its branded packaging it appears like these items are coming from Amazon directly. Some of the vendors even list these reclaimed products as new. After the WSJ published their report, Amazon said that they have changed their policy about items that have come from the trash. However, what kind of oversight is going into this new policy? How will Amazon be able to detect if third-party vendors are selling items taken from the trash?

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , retail   

    Homeland Security warns of counterfeits for Christmas 

    Homeland Security warns of counterfeits for Christmas

    If you’re looking for a very special Christmas present like a Louis Vuitton bag or a Rolex watch, you have to traverse through the minefield that are counterfeit goods. More often than not, when buying a well-known luxury brand item you’ll have to deal more with fakes then you will the genuine article. Besides being possibly ripped off, the high-end counterfeit goods market has been linked to every type of criminal activity from human trafficking to organized crime and funding terrorism. In the past year alone, the Department of Homeland Security has confiscated over $500 million in counterfeit goods.

    DHS has issued a warning about these phony products flooding the market during the holiday shopping season. They say to beware of websites offering deep discounts for normally expensive items as that’s a good indicator that the products are knock offs. A number of these sites offering these goods could also be just a front to gain your financial information and not even send you a product. DHS also wants people to know that knowingly buying a counterfeit product is also a federal offense and could land not only the seller but the buyer in jail as well.

    If you’re looking to buy these products first-hand, then only deal with reputable merchants and keep all the documentation that comes with it including receipts and confirmation emails. If you’re buying these items second-hand, any person selling these items should have all the documentation that goes along with them as they’re a common form of confirmation of the item’s authenticity. Some second-hand markets even have authenticity programs for high-end goods in order to try to prevent fraud. And while it may be fun to own a knock-off as a form of entertainment, keep in mind that buying one is not only illegal but you never really know where your money is going or what it’s funding.

    So, to keep everybody safe and happy during the holiday season, only buy genuine.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , retail,   

    How to avoid online Black Friday scams 

    How to avoid online Black Friday scams

    In the past, we’ve advised against going to brick and mortar retailers on Black Friday. Not just for safety reasons but also because many retailers engage in misleading business practices by using limited stock to try o get you to buy more expensive items. Usually, these so-called doorbuster deals can be found for the same price or lower later into the holiday shopping season. In the past few years, we’ve advised shopping online rather than braving the crowds on Black Friday. However, even online Black Friday shopping comes with its own pitfalls.

    While many of the big-name online retailers are safe to shop through, scammers will try to trick you into believing you’re using one of those retailers, but it reality you may not be. Scammers will send out phishing emails using the actual logos of famous shopping sites but will leave a link in the email that will take you to a phony site that resembles the real thing. They’ll then try to gain your financial information for possible identity theft and other potential abuses. Along the same vein, scammers will pose as retailers and send you an email asking you to download something in order to get a deal. This will instead infect your device with malware which could allow bad actors to access your device remotely and steal as much information as they want from it. Always go directly to a retailer’s website rather than clicking on anything in an email.

    As the video above mentions, if at all possible, use a credit card over a debit card when making purchases. While both debit and credit cards offer protection against scam purchases, credit cards have better protections and won’t take any money directly from your bank balance. Also, keep an eye on both your debit and credit card accounts to make sure that no unauthorized purchases have been made on them. Many of these services can be set up to send you a notification every time the account is used. While the notifications may be a bit annoying, they can go a long way in preventing fraud on your accounts.

    And as always, keep in mind that gift cards are the currency of scammers and you could be ripped off in a number of ways when buying gift cards. You can check our previous post here about what to look out for when buying gift cards.

    Once again, we wish you a happy and headache-free holiday season.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel