Monday, January 30, 2006

Target Taking a Bite Out of Crime

Yesterday, I wrote about eBay and the problems they seem to have with organized fraud. My thought was that in order for them to remain viable in the long run, they needed to address the issues that were causing a lot of their customers to become victims.

In fact, should they fail to do so, I fear their business model could be at stake.

Today, I came across an interesting article in the Washington Post by Sarah Bridges about Target Corporation and their efforts to stem organized fraud. The story deals with the Target forensics lab solving a case, which no one else was able to.

"Besides running its forensics lab in Minneapolis, Target has helped coordinate national undercover investigations and worked with customs agencies on ways to make sure imported cargo is coming from reputable sources or hasn't been tampered with. It has contributed money for prosecutor positions to combat repeat criminals, provided local police with remote-controlled video surveillance systems, and linked police and business radio systems to beef up neighborhood foot patrols in parts of several major cities. It has given management training to FBI and police leaders, and linked city, county and state databases to keep track of repeat offenders."

Here is the full story from the Washington Post: Retailer Target Branches Out Into Police Work.

Besides giving back to the community (something Target Corporation has always done) it started addressing organized criminal efforts in about 1995. Target realized back then that professional criminals were responsible for a large share of their losses and dedicated resources to go after the people responsible.

In doing this, Target not only assists the community, but makes their environment a better one for the general public, a.k.a. the customer.

Microsoft is initiating similar efforts and putting their money into going after cyber criminals around the world.

I recently wrote a post about that:

Bill and Microsoft are Impacting Cyber Crime

I've often written about how jurisdictional boundaries hamper investigative efforts and the need to organize the fight against fraud.

People make fortunes designing security measures against fraud in all it's forms, but the truth is (history proves this) that every countermeasure has a shelf life of it's own. Eventually, the criminals seem to find a way around it, or attack from a different angle. Catching those responsible is probably more effective than a thousand countermeasures.

We should realize that technology is a tool and in the long run, the human mind is capable of defeating AND creating new and better technology. Unfortunately, the mind can be put to both good and bad uses.

I've often written about how jurisdictional boundaries hamper investigative boundaries. It's amazing that Microsoft and Target are leading the efforts in this (but after all) they have some pretty large jurisdictions.

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