SDM Magazine: Loss Prevention: Social Media Aids Law Enforcement Across State Lines
For Harborstone Credit Union, what began as an investigation into a $5,000 fraudulent transaction quickly led to an investigative path across multiple states, using numerous traditional and innovative social technologies to identify a federal parolee running a million dollar, national identity theft ring.
There has been much discussion about the use of the Internet, social media and other technologies by criminals to organize multi-state or multi-national organized crime rings. However, forward-thinking security, loss prevention and law enforcement professionals are identifying ways to use the same technologies to cooperate across state lines and share critical information that will both solve and reduce crime.
For Harborstone Credit Union, a community-based cooperative with $750 million in assets and 52,000 members in Tacoma, Wash., what began as an investigation into a $5,000 fraudulent transaction quickly led to an investigative path across multiple states, using numerous traditional and innovative social technologies to identify a federal parolee running a sophisticated, million dollar, national identity theft ring — all of which could not have been accomplished just months prior.
It all started on Feb. 1 when a person with a non-Harborstone credit card came into a branch and requested a $5,000 advance. The teller called the number on the back of the card for authorization, checked the person’s identification and, believing that the transaction was legitimate, gave the $5,000 in cash to the walk-in customer. However, about a week later, Tom Southern, risk management officer for Harborstone, received a rejection notice from the credit card company and realized that Harborstone was the victim of a scam artist.
Just months earlier, Southern had led the implementation of 3VR video intelligence appliances, which allow him to search through hours of video in seconds. By the time the $5,000 crime was committed in February, Southern had the ability to remotely search video captured from cameras across 12 branch locations. As a result, Southern, who knew what time and location the fraud took place, was able to obtain video of the incident in less than an hour, something that could have taken days just a couple months prior.
Southern now had crisp, clear video of the crime as well as snapshots of the criminal’s face. However, he did not have a name or anything else to go on. Southern packaged all the video he had of the incident and posted an alert on Crime-Dex (www.crimedex.com), an online collaborative network of more than 3,000 fraud, loss prevention and law enforcement professionals focused on solving and preventing crime.
Excerpt reprinted with permission from SDM, a BNP Media publication. Copyright 2012.