Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Using the Phone for Shoplifting

I know that this is not exactly telecom fraud, but seeing how that has moved from kids doing pranks to funding global terrorism it is time to look at how phones are being used in ways that were never envisioned.

We have seen how the phoneme of flash mobs have been used for good and bad in the past year. Flash mobs helped topple governments in the Arab Spring. How they were used in the UK riots. In each case the motivation behind the flash mob was different – frustration at years of oppression to looting from frustration at the slow economy.

Now retailers have to worry if they are the next targets. In an article Joan Goodchild offers 4 steps retailers can take to combat flash robs.
Flash robs, technically known as multiple-offender crimes, occur when a group of people coordinate to overcrowd a retail outlet and steal items by overwhelming staff with their numbers and speed.
Earlier this month, a crowd of youths in Maryland, some estimate as many as 50, made headlines when they flash robbed a 7-Eleven in Silver Springs, the third time such an incident has happened in that area this year.

While these types of group attacks are not new the combination of smartphones with Twitter and Facebook make these kind of attacks easier to coordinate and implement.

I will not repeat the suggestions that Joan gives in her article, but I will say that they make sense to me: Product Placement, Cameras, enough Staff, and training are the key.