CONTROLTEK Participates in This Year’s SCTA Conference, Showcasing the Latest in Cash Security

Our team traveled to Chicago to attend the Secure Cash & Transport Association’s annual conference on strengthening the security and efficiency of cash in transit.

Showcased at out display booth were the latest solutions from CONTROLTEK designed to reduce instances of theft, such as tamper-evident packaging, security seals and void tape.

What impressed the visitors to our booth the most was SafeLOK’s and TripLOK’s special inks which change color depending on how the would-be thief tried to defeat them.

Try This Simple Trick to Save Your Smart Phone’s Battery

I was recently at the airport where I saw a man frantically trying to find a plug to charge his smart phone. (Yes, sometimes that man is me.)

Today we use our smart phones a lot more than ever before, from checking email and surfing the web, to text messaging and making phone calls. So it should be no wonder that your smart phone’s battery often gets overtaxed. But before you go out and buy an extra battery pack or phone charging case, here is a quick and easy way to extend your battery life: check your phone’s brightness. For most smart phones it’s the screen that uses the most battery. So turn down the brightness just a little and you’d be surprised just how much longer your battery will last.

Two-Step Verification: Do You Have It Turned On?

Recently I was with a friend and former colleague who keeps getting locked out of his Gmail account. When I asked him if he has two-step verification turned on, he said – no.

Two-step verification is a secondary authentication method when logging onto email, social media, or corporate accounts. Most, if not all, of the major online service providers of email, banking and social media offer two-step verification free of charge. When logging in from an unrecognized computer or mobile device the service provider sends a text message or push notification to an application, like messaging. This ensures no one can access your account even if they have your password.

Check out this link for the instructions on enabling two-step verification on most major sites:

The Basic Way to Search the Dark Web

The Dark Web is the hidden section of the Internet that requires specific software, like TOR, to access it. It allows users and website owners to be anonymous and difficult to trace. The Dark Web is generally not indexed, which makes it difficult to search.

You can search some of the Dark Web via Google. For example, if you want to search the word ‘shoplift’ you can type the following in the Google search box: “shoplift”. Your search results would show in Google same as in a basic search, but keep in mind you will need TOR to view the results in detail.

If you use a more complex search method like “shoplift + YOUR COMPANY name” you would get more refined results. This method won’t find everything but can be useful in fraud and ORC investigations.

Do You Know if You Have Been a Victim of Spear-Phishing?

In the past two years a lot the cyber-incidents have one major similarity – they started with a spear-phishing email. Spear-phishing involves very targeted spoof messages where cyber criminals impersonate someone you know, hoping that you will click on a link or open an attachment.

For instance, you get an email from a co-worker who asks you to proofread something. You click the link and you are asked to login to your OneDrive account. But the email really wasn’t from your coworker, it only looked that way. And now the bad guys have your OneDrive credentials.

In the example above it was easy to miss that the message came from instead of (note that only one letter is different in the domain extension). So take an extra moment to look more closely at the emails you receive and where they are actually coming from. More than 35% of all cyber incidents start with a human error.

When Ordinary Things Get Smart

(This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine)

A ton of great smart tech was on display at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in January, from wearables to the Internet of Things (IOT). My team was invited to a small get-together. I noticed several people had sharp-looking ski jackets. As a trained investigator, I knew there was more to it. It was a ski jacket, and it was a bit warm and out of place at a cocktail party. I asked around and learned the ski jacket had near-field communication (NFC) in it. I started speaking to people about the jacket and learned—aside from the style—it was a smart jacket.

The NFC chip was under a patch on the chest, and when scanned with my Android phone, the chip instantly brought me to the company’s website. The jacket also could engage in social media with ski team members and show trail maps, points of interest, and location-based weather and events. My thought is that’s just the beginning. Imagine using that technology for return authentication, proof-of-ownership verification, conversion, or inventory turn, or even being able to pay for things at the ski lodge. Let’s review some smart technology—RFID, IOT, and wearables—that are out today, how the technology works, and some of the endless possibilities that could reduce theft and fraud.

The Internet of Things

The IOT is comprised of the physical devices, cameras, speakers, phones, buildings, or other objects connected to the Web with embedded electronics, software, or sensors. IOT devices collect data, and studies estimates there were more than 50 billion IOT devices active in 2016. If you were asked five years ago whether you or someone you knew would pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to wear something on their wrist to track steps and share with people, you would probably say no. Today, people are embracing wearable IOT, from smart watches to GPS trackers.

When you wear a device that tracks your movement, you’re sending that data somewhere. What happens to it? Is it used for marketing or to see how healthy you are? It could be. I am not suggesting a reason for concern. I am sharing what is often brought up in relation to IOT wearables. So how does it relate to retail? Today an IOT with Bluetooth can tell you how often a customer shops, give a client specific offerings, and allow for smarter shopping experiences as long as the customer opts in. If you reverse that capability, could the device potentially alert you to deviant behavior in a store?

Security can sometimes be challenging with IOT devices. Embedded firmware needs to be kept up to date. Also, a lot of devices are made to be easy, which can leave out more advanced security features.


Radio-frequency identification (RFID) has been around for some time. The adoption of RFID is growing as the technology becomes scalable. It uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves.

RFID is commonly used for inventory tracking. RFID in an omni-channel environment is a no brainer as it allows you to know where your inventory is and helps get it into the customer’s hands. For every three to five percent improvement in inventory accuracy, you can expect a 1 percent sales improvement.

Ned McCauley, director of retail strategic accounts at Tyco Integrated Security, said, “Success in omni-channel retailing is not possible without precise data, and RFID is the single greatest enabler of this capability. From operators to loss prevention, retailers are starting to reap the benefits of item-level visibility in a way that was just not possible in the past.”

RFID has many applications from “RFID as EAS.” Instead of installing a tradition EAS system, retailers are using RFID tags as opposed to EAS tags. This allows them to be ready for the future. Some retailers are using RFID in an effort to track organized retail crime and dishonest employees. It doesn’t end there. Imagine customers using RFID to help pair a dress with a handbag. All of that is possible today.

Steve Sell, vice president of global sales and marketing at CONTROLTEK USA, said, “We have seen a growing trend in retail where retailers in various formats are leveraging RFID as an effective EAS solution all while positioning their infrastructure investment for many other future RFID use cases.”

Always challenge yourself to think bigger. RFID, IOT, and NFC used together can help increase productivity, drive sales, and reduce loss. At the Loss Prevention Research Council, we currently have an Innovation Working Group. One of the topics covered is RFID. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit or reach out to me directly.


Tom’s column regularly appears on every issue of LP Magazine. To subscribe to the printed version of the magazine and enjoy other great content visit