Thieves can be pretty smart. I’m convinced that if some of the people that I’ve come into contact with would just apply themselves to a legitimate business, they could be very successful. I guess it’s just easier to steal than to work… Over the past couple of years, I’ve had more and more investigations that come from our e-com site. One of the more sophisticated schemes involved counterfeit purses and how a very inexpensive tool (the Alpha Shark Tag) helped us stop the losses.
It was bright and early one Monday morning (personally, my favorite day of the week), when I got to my desk I had a voicemail from the VP of brand protection that basically said, get your butt to my office as soon as you get this! I enter her office and she has boxes of these high end purses. She looks at me and says, “Do you see anything wrong here?” Puzzled, I said no. She began pulling purse after purse and after purse out of these boxes all the while throwing them in the corner. Each one she was touching was a counterfeit. Now, I’m not a purse guy myself, but according to the boss, a well trained eye could spot the fake. How had this happened? We were looking at nearly $30k in junk. Refund fraud.
After days of researching, we found that over the past several weeks, several individuals were making purchases of these purses legitimately through our online platform. They were all purchased using reloadable credit cards, but were shipped to the same address. Through our research we found that the purses would then be returned either through our stores, or directly back through e-comm. The catch? When they were returned, the actual product was switched with the counterfeit. During a routine walk through of the warehouse, one of the VP’s assistants saw the counterfeits and knew something was off. We had to stop this and after a bit of research, we found the Alpha Shark Tag to be the best solution.
We immediately made changes to our return policy regarding this particular line of product. Each would be affixed with an Alpha Shark Tag. These nifty little tags are removed by the customer at home and are placed in a very observable place. Once snipped, there’s no way to get it back on without you being able to see evidence of it being tampered with. Our return policy was amended to include language that stated once the tag was removed from the product, it could not, for any reason be returned. Within a few weeks, we stopped finding counterfeit goods. As far as our fraudster, the feds had a little chat with him at his house… since he was kind enough to provide his home address to us!
For more information, contact us at losspreventionsystems.com, or call 1.770.426.0547