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O.C. Credit Card Arrests Underscore Retail Fraud Popularity

Gary Satanovsky
 Big-box stores are a favorite target of fraudsters, because of the value of their products. So retailers tend to suffer the most credit-card and return receipt fraud: a recent survey by Lexis-Nexis found that fully half of all fraud retail losses come from credit cards.

 A typical case occurred in Orange County just a few months ago. A two-man group stole personal information of some 20,000 individuals, and used that information to retail fraudmanufacture fake credit cards in those individuals’ names. They used these cards at Best Buy, Home Depot, JC Penney and Kohl’s to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of consumer electronics: flat-screen TVs, computers, gaming systems, a dryer, dishwasher, cell phones and other items, according to the police report.

 There was nothing very sophisticated about this method, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars it will cost the stores to track down, repossess or replace stolen merchandise, not to mention in legal fees, will take months to recoup, if not even longer. But it all could have been averted with a relatively inexpensive strict card-verification policy and technology to test both card and ID authenticity.

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