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What You Need to Know About the Evolution of Cash Usage in a Post-Pandemic Future 

For decades, experts have speculated that the next new payment method, from credit cards to cryptocurrency, would replace cash completely. But even during a global pandemic that saw in-person payments plummet in just a few weeks, cash has remained a reliable, accessible means of payment that consumers trust. 

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, we have seen some significant changes in how consumers use, save and value cash. As reported by the Federal Reserve in its 2021 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, cash use made up 19 percent of all payments, down seven points from before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they also found that the average value of cash held in a consumer’s pocket, purse or wallet increased to $74, up $20 from 2019. 

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Targets, Trends and Threats in ORC Webinar: What You Need to Know About Organized Retail Crime in 2021 and Beyond 

CONTROLTEK recently partnered with the Loss Prevention Foundation to present the webinar “Targets, Trends and Threats in ORC” with co-host Ben Dugan, director of ORC and corporate investigations at CVS Health and president of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retailer (C.L.E.A.R.), and Tom Meehan, CFI, chief strategy officer, and chief information security officer at CONTROLTEK.

Short for organized retail crime, ORC has moved to the forefront of the conversation in retail. In fact, Dugan and Meehan both agree that ORC is the most dangerous security threat in the retail industry today. Many retailers consider organized retail crime to be one of their biggest challenges, with many companies unable to meet their profit goals because of the losses caused by ORC. 

Since 2020, we have seen a huge increase in ORC, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and an increased shift to e-commerce. One of the major issues in the fight against organized retail crime is the ongoing controversy between ehttps://www.controltekusa.com/blog/fake-vaccination-cards-spread-as-delta-variant-ramps-up/-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay and retailers and law enforcement, who claim that these platforms facilitate the sale of stolen goods by failing to verify sellers. 

The increase in organized retail crime has huge costs across the retail industry. Dugan reported that external thefts involving violence have doubled at CVS Health since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wall Street Journal reported that retailers like Target, Ulta Beauty, TJX, and Home Depot have seen the number of investigations into criminal networks grow by 86 percent since 2016. Organized retail crime has become such a huge challenge for retailers that it has surpassed loss prevention, and even the C-suite is now prioritizing combatting ORC in order to protect profitability. 

C.L.E.A.R. estimates that organized retail crime results in $45 billion in annual losses for retailers, a significant increase from the FBI’s estimate of $30 billion a decade ago. Today, retailers spend millions of dollars to combat organized retail crime groups that steal their merchandise and sell it online through e-commerce platforms. According to C.L.E.A.R., 100 percent of retailers surveyed reported being victims of ORC. 

Organized retail crime has also surpassed other sources of retail shrink. Today, the cost of ORC exceeds that of internal employee theft, and according to Dugan, external theft makes up 60 to 65 percent of retail theft. Although investigating cases of organized retail crime does reduce shrink, it’s not a sustainable long-term solution without any major preventative efforts, such as widespread collaboration between retailers and law enforcement and even creating new legislation. 

As mentioned earlier, the rise in online shopping and e-commerce has fueled organized retail crime by giving thieves more opportunities to sell stolen goods. Although the online marketplace has been on the rise since 2017, since the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer demand for online shopping has exploded. 

Amazon and eBay are the top e-commerce platforms today, not just for legitimate retailers and businesses but for organized retail crime groups as well. E-commerce platforms typically do not verify sellers’ identities and payment methods, which reduces the risk of being caught for thieves who sell stolen goods online. Today, ORC groups even sell stolen merchandise on mainstream social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit. 

Bringing more attention to the issue of organized retail crime can help law enforcement discover more cases and catch more thieves. Before 2020, many law enforcement groups and local governments were completely unaware of the rising threat of ORC, which left the burden of deterring theft and investigating ORC cases to retailers. But as retailers, federal agencies, and police departments continue to work closely together on ORC, law enforcement can work on real ORC cases and actually mitigate the issue. 

For nearly two years, the rapid digitization of almost every industry has ushered in some exciting changes for both consumers and businesses, while also increasing the risk of organized retail crime, cybersecurity threats, and much more. As retailers continue to combat ORC, it is essential for them to collaborate, share information and build effective strategies to protect their businesses and their customers. 

Please feel free to reach out to either Tom Meehan or Ben Dugan with any questions you may have about these topics. Organizations like C.L.E.A.R., are also here to support retailers in every facet of their loss prevention strategy. Don’t forget to check out the 2021 C.L.E.A.R. Conference, November 16-18, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. In addition, the Buy Safe America Coalition has numerous resources and ways to get involved and aid in the protection of consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods.

Fake Vaccination Cards Spread as Delta Variant Ramps Up

As the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to sweep the nation, thousands of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards have started to flood the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents report they have now seized more than 121 shipments containing more than 3,000 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards. The agency said agents have intercepted the shipments at the port of Memphis, Tennessee – all of them from China and bound for different cities across the nation.

Disguised as paper greeting cards in packs of 20, 51 or 100, the counterfeit cards look like real vaccination certificates, including spaces where the recipient can write their name, birth date and vaccine information. While they look legitimate, complete with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo, the cards are often littered with typos, unfinished words, and even misspelled Spanish words, in some cases.

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The Weekly Review: Episode 51 with Dr. Read Hayes, Tony D’Onofrio, Tom Meehan

This podcast originally appears in the LPRC website.

In this week’s episode of CrimeScience from Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), co-hosts Tom Meehan, CFI, Dr. Read Hayes and Tony D’Onofrio discuss active shooters, return costs for retailers, consumer interests, fake COVID vaccine cards and negative tests and more.

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The Weekly Review: Episode 50 with Dr. Read Hayes, Tony D’Onofrio, Tom Meehan

This podcast originally appears in the LPRC website.

In this week’s episode of CrimeScience The Weekly Review from the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), co-hosts Tom Meehan, CFI, Dr. Read Hayes and Tony D’Onofrio discuss ransomware, LPRC FusionNet and other hot topics in loss prevention.

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The Weekly Review: Episode 49 with Dr. Read Hayes, Tony D’Onofrio, Tom Meehan

This podcast originally appears in the LPRC website.

In this week’s episode of CrimeScience: The Weekly Review, co-hosts Dr. Read Hayes, Tom Meehan, CFI and Tony D’Onofrio discuss a new survey about cybersecurity for pharmaceutical companies, an analysis of vaccine effects, the top 6 changes caused by COVID-19 and protests on the West Coast.

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The Weekly Review: Episode 48 with Dr. Read Hayes, Tony D’Onofrio, Tom Meehan

This podcast originally appears in the LPRC website.

In this week’s episode of CrimeScience: The Weekly Review, co-hosts Dr. Read Hayes, Tom Meehan, CFI and Tony D’Onofrio discuss vaccine facts, a new call on LPRC FusionNet, state-sponsored vaccine misinformation, Amazon Go in the U.K. and more.

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The Weekly Review: Episode 47 with Dr. Read Hayes, Tony D’Onofrio, Tom Meehan

This podcast originally appears in the LPRC website.

In this week’s episode of CrimeScience from the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), co-hosts Dr. Read Hayes, PhD, Tom Meehan, CFI and Tony D’Onofrio discuss the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the global expansion of 5G and the new COVID-19 relief bill.

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The Weekly Review: Episode 46 with Dr. Read Hayes, Tony D’Onofrio, Tom Meehan

This podcast originally appears in the LPRC website.

Vaccinations are UP! Retail Sales are UP! According to the US Census Retail Bureau, January retail sales were up 3%. In this week’s episode, our co-hosts discuss these topics and more, including the US vaccination expansion campaign, retail successes in January, ranking of best retail performers, and vaccine efforts worldwide.

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The Weekly Review: Episode 45 with Dr. Read Hayes, Tony D’Onofrio, Tom Meehan

This podcast originally appears in the LPRC website.

On this week’s episode, John Voytilla, global loss prevention and subject matter expert in developing scalable and actionable strategies, joins our co-hosts to talk about the LPRC STRATEGY@ program, the importance of collaboration in the retail industry, acute vs. chronic LP issues, erosion of consequences, and much more.

John Voytilla has a verified approach to risk identification and mitigation. He has over 20 years of leadership experience in the office products industry, where he led the loss prevention and safety organizations at OfficeMax/Office Depot. Through mergers and acquisitions, John developed synergistic strategies that improved the profitability of the company. John joined Party City in 2017 as Senior Vice President to lead the development of the loss prevention and safety program, store development, facilities, and procurement functions. Recently, John launched his own consulting practice LP-FOCUS, LLC. There he will apply his critical thinking and financial/business acumen to help organizations improve their profitability. John has been an active board member and past chair of the BOA for the LPRC.

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