back to article E-criminals nicked £205m from UK retailers last year

Online fraud and other 'e-crimes' have cost British retailers operating over the internet at least £205m in a year according to the first comprehensive study of the make-up and scale of crimes affecting e-commerce. According to figures (8-page / 590KB PDF) published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the direct and …


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  1. Magister

    Call me Mr Cynical

    Having worked for many years in the retail sector, most of the senior managers believe that the majority of theft is actually carried out by staff. Not so much in terms of numbers of thefts but in amount of money / goods taken. It's been that way for a long time and based upon my own experience, it's probably valid.

    Is that any different with online retailing? At first glance, the answer would be no; the cases highlighted tend to involve people working for criminal gangs in Eastern Europe, Africa or Asia. But they don't tend to say too much about where some of the information originally came from. Call me cynical, but in several cases it seems likely that at least some of the information came from an inside source that highlighted where vulnerabilites could be found.

    The reality is that everyone has their price; many will argue otherwise, but they are fooling no-one but themselves. It starts with a company pen, photocopying minutes of the football club committe meeting, phonecalls to people for non company use. These are often viewed as just "perks", part of the job, no harm done to anyone. But soon they become seen as "rightful" use; and people can get upset if they are questioned over the amount that they take.

    What started as a box of matches to light a cigarette, became a weeks groceries for some managers in supermarkets and resulted in a number of my then colleagues getting fired. Often, an argument is made "If they paid us better, we wouldn't have to do it"; sorry, complete BS. Many of the worst offenders were people on the highest wages.

    When you consider how much the criminals make from their thefts, it wouldn't cost them a great deal to buy someone on the inside. For example £250k to a programmer for details on a few lines of code could net them tens of millions. And I think it pretty likely that they could find people to offer them the details for a lot less than that.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Warnings and cynicism

    People were warned not to put their businesses on the web as it isn't a secure platform, now they've gone ahead anyway they want the police to sort it out!

    I'm also suspicious of the numbers. It all seems lie a lot of plucking numbers out of the air and extrapolating along graph lines.

    Continuing on that theme they seem to be saying that "the internet" is a huge barely exploited source of income. This seems obviously untrue. If I buy my bog roles on line, I stop buying them in a shop. So all we've done is shuffle around the money, not create any new money in the economy.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't help if the police are not interested.

    A few times I have notified banks of phishing, but they don't seem to care. If the amount of effort that has been put into tackling file sharing has gone into phishing and other electronic crimes, then maybe something will be done about it.

    I know someone who paid for a camera from a website only for it to never appear and the person to vanish. He told the police and they said there is nothing that can be done about it and they have lost £500. However, when it comes to file sharing, the police will be doing dawn raids.

    The police are not bothered with tackling fraud against individuals. I have reported them to the police, but they say there is nothing they can do about it. It is only when large companies are afraid of others buying cheaper versions of their goods that the police are happy to get involved, that really annoys me.

    How many times have people had their email accounts hacked, only for the police or anyone not care? However, if they were a politician, say Sarah Palin, then everything is done to get the hacker into prison. Double standards!

  4. Hawknic

    The police are crap - one example

    A former workmate had his card details used by a thief, a couple of years ago now.

    The reason he knew this was because the goods bought were sent to the "bill to" rather than the "ship to" address.

    So he had the name and address of the perp - who had taken a classified ad order from him two weeks previously, working at the local paper.

    When notified, the police said it was a matter fro the card company. The card company weren't interested either. The newspaper said that they had susoected he wasn't kosher, but hadn't done anything about it, and to our knowledge didn't do anything afterwards either.

    If a clear case like this doesn't make someone investigate what incentive will there ever be NOT to defraud?

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