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eBay Works with Retailers to Crack Down on Stolen Goods

Nearly 6 years after hiring a retail insider to help it prevent the sale of stolen goods on its site, eBay is praising its own efforts. “From Adversary to Trusted Partner” describes how eBay worked with retailers, credit card companies, and law enforcement to zero in on an estimated $4.5 million to $5.5 million in stolen retail goods in Florida in November in what was dubbed “Operation Holiday Steals.”

“Millions in recovered goods is a tremendous accomplishment, but the amazing part of this story is the transformation of the relationship between retailers and eBay that made this operation possible. Five years ago there was a common perception among retailers that eBay was an adversary that allowed the sale of stolen goods and profited at the demise of retailers. This article explores how this transformation happened and is told by the retail leaders and others who bore witness to this change.”

The article was published by a PR firm’s publication called LP Magazine, which said it was the only loss prevention “industry news team” invited to participate in the operation.

Despite being a public relations piece, Operation Holiday Steals was real, resulting in the arrest of 62 people for retail-related crimes, and the piece contains some interesting information about eBay’s efforts to combat fraud:

Global Technical Investigations (GTI). eBay’s asset protection team added an elite group of technical investigators in 2014. This team of skilled investigators is a complimentary (sic) addition to eBay’s asset protection team that proactively tackles issues of phishing, spoofing, cyber-crime, and carding scams. The GTI team maintains a global presence with investigators in the US; Amman, Jordan; Bucharest, Romania; and Dublin, Ireland, and conducts technical criminal investigations applying the fundamental principles and methods of the asset protection team.

LERS for Retailers. eBay now provides retailers with the ability to submit requests through their Law Enforcement e-Request System (LERS) protocol. This system allows requests to be made electronically through an eBay portal. The change improves efficiency that is used in proactive investigations.

It also describes a scam that is affecting consumers, credit card companies, and retailers known as Triangle Fraud. “This common scam takes place when a criminal seller lists items for sale on their own website, a classifieds site, or auction site. When a buyer purchases the merchandise, the fraudster purchases the item from a retailer using stolen credit card information and has the retailer ship direct to the unsuspecting buyer. Ultimately the account holder of the stolen credit card will dispute the purchase and the card company or retailer incurs the loss. This scam is gaining traction based on input from asset protection professionals around the country.”

eBay hired Paul Jones, former Vice President of Asset Protection at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), as Global Director of Retail Partnerships in 2009, and he gets credit for being the catalyst that sparked eBay’s transformation and improved retailer relations. See the full piece at LPportal.com.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.