Retail Anti-Fraud Systems May Need Serious Updates

Anti-fraud tactics have become much more sophisticated in recent years, but the thieves have been boning up, too. Consider a global theft ring that the Federal Trade Commission moved against this week. In an attempt to avoid triggering any alarms, the suspects created bogus company names but made sure they resembled the names of legitimate businesses. Rather than waste time fleecing people who were broke, the thieves ran credit checks on potential victims.

Here's where they get an "A" for effort, according to an FTC statement: "The defendants also cloaked each fake merchant with a virtual office address near a real merchant's location, a phone number, a home phone number for the 'owner,' a Web site pretending to sell products, a toll-free number consumers could call and a real company’s tax number." The beauty—or ugliness—of this effort is that had someone chosen to spend 10 minutes checking the thieves out, the information could have looked favorable. Yep, fraud detection packages are going to have to get some updates.

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