Retail Fraud Awards 2015

Friday, 31 July 2015 11:03

The Retail Fraud Awards takes place in Leicester on 08th October this year.

 The Fraud Awards showcases and celebrates the very best in retail fraud and loss prevention, people, processes, strategy and technology. Comsec are pleased to announce that in collaboration with the adidas Group, Watchdog has been shortlisted for the "Most Innovative Online Product".

In this category, judges are looking for innovative approaches to an existing, tried and tested online or mobile solution or a brand new product for online/mobile fraud and loss prevention.

 Watchdog automates the time-consuming task of monitoring internet based data sources such as auction sites, search engines and domain names to identify possible internal fraud and theft, Intellectual Property Infringements and counterfeit goods.

With Watchdog, our customers are able to quickly and easily search, filter and analyse data in a reliable and secure environment, providing users with the ability to turn information into actionable intelligence.

 


System Developments on Watchdog

Thursday, 16 July 2015 14:31

Reporting and Dashboard developments have been a major focus over the last 12 months. We now have the ability to dynamically provide you with the data that you need - when you need it.

The seller report has now been replaced by dashboards. They give you more dynamic reports that are tailor-made to your business requirements. Read more about dashboards and reporting in your user manual. https://watchdogapp.com/wiki/reporting

We are developing a new way of searching Facebook since the API deprecated in April.

You are now able to add additional contact details to an item or seller.

You now have the ability to manually import items from the datasources that we monitor.


Roche Diagnostics GmbH choose Watchdog for Global Online Brand Protection

Monday, 19 September 2011 10:50

LONDON UK APRIL 4th 2011 — Comsec, a division of Commercial Security International a global leader in the prevention, detection and investigation of corporate fraud and intellectual property infringement, have today announced that Roche Diagnostics, the world’s largest biopharmaceutical company, will use its unique investigative software solution - Watchdog  - to monitor and protect their Brand online.

Watchdog simplifies the process of Online brand Protection by automating the time-consuming task of monitoring internet based data sources such as search engines, domain names and auction sites.

John Newbold, Global Head of Retail and Pricing at Roche said:

"Watchdog is a vital and valuable tool in our processes to help brand protection on a global basis. The team at Commercial Security International are very proactive in helping with all our  requests and specific needs. The system is easy to use and has already added significant value to our business" 

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About Roche  

Roche logo

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management.
Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients.
In 2009, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested almost 10 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 49.1 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.

About Watchdog

Watchdog allows you to quickly and easily search, filter and analyse data in a reliable and secure environment. The key benefits include:

  • An intelligent image detection system that can be used to discover unauthorised sellers and counterfeiters misusing or misrepresenting your images and logo’s
  • Interrogates location data, automatically matching address and post/zip code information with an alert function, to let you know when activity is detected in a particular location
  • Protects and manages your portfolio of domain names across the internet, enabling your business to minimise the risks associated with maintaining a global web presence
  • Provides a full audit trail by automatically gathering intelligence on offending sellers, collecting and storing an evidential package for future legal actions
  • A comprehensive reporting package is fully customisable, easily accessible and simple to use.

About Comsec

Comsec is a division of Commercial Security International, founded as a corporate fraud and intellectual property investigation company.  This partnership is unique and enables us to compliment the Watchdog service, with traditional investigations, such as test purchases, surveillance, asset-tracing and other evidence gathering.

 


J Barbour and Sons Ltd choose Watchdog for Online Brand Protection

Monday, 20 June 2011 10:30

LONDON UK APRIL 4th 2011 — Comsec, a division of Commercial Security International, a global leader in the prevention, detection and investigation of corporate fraud and intellectual property infringement, has today announced that Barbour, an authentic British brand and recognised world leader for country and lifestyle clothing, will use its unique investigative software solution - Watchdog  - to monitor and protect their brand online.

Watchdog simplifies the process of Online Brand Protection by automating the time-consuming task of monitoring internet based data sources such as search engines, domain names and auction sites.

Brenda Readman-Bell, Group Finance Director at Barbour said:

"Protecting the Barbour brand is a top priority. We chose Watchdog because it simplifies the complex issues surrounding online Brand Protection. We are seeing an increasing amount of counterfeit goods entering the market through online auction sites and Watchdog enables us to identify where the problem areas are and allows us to focus resource effectively."

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Barbour logo

About Barbour

  • J Barbour & Sons Ltd was founded in 1894 and has always been based in South Shields in the North East of England.  Barbour is a 5th generation, family owned business.
  • Barbour is a leading lifestyle brand manufacturing and retailing wax jackets, waterproof breathable jackets, wools, quilts, shirts, knitwear, trousers and accessories in over 40 countries worldwide.
  • Barbour’s customer service is unique – wax jackets can be returned at any time for rewaxing, repairs or alteration.

About Watchdog

Watchdog allows you to quickly and easily search, filter and analyse data in a reliable and secure environment:

  • An intelligent image detection system can be used to discover unauthorised sellers and counterfeiters misusing or misrepresenting your images and logo’s
  • Interrogates location data, automatically matching address and post/zip code information with an alert function, to let you know when activity is detected in a particular location
  • Protects and manages your portfolio of domain names across the internet, enabling your business to minimise the risks associated with maintaining a global web presence
  • Provides a full audit trail by automatically gathering intelligence on offending sellers, collecting and storing an evidential package for future legal actions
  • A comprehensive reporting package is fully customisable, easily accessible and simple to use. From the complete online landscape, to individual sellers, products and geographies, reports can be quickly generated and exported into most common formats including XML, CSV, MS Word, MS Excel and PDF

The Impact of Terrorism on Your Business

Friday, 27 March 2009 10:28

  • Death, injury – physical and psychological – to members of staff, including key employees
  • Physical damage to buildings, vehicles, and other assets
  • Loss of data and damage to information systems
  • Reputation damage through poor preparation
  • Loss of market position

What you can do

  • You should make sure you are receiving good assessed information relevant to your business
  • As an organisation, you should consider your physical vulnerability to the impact of a terrorist attack or major incident
  • You should consider seeking professional advice on other areas of vulnerability
  • You should consider your business profile, trading partners, connections and public profile and seek help in assessing and reducing vulnerability
  • You should try to assess whether your neighbours raise your vulnerability
  • You should consider with your HR department whether your pre-employment screening processes are effective
  • You should ask yourself the difficult “what if” questions and be satisfied with your own answers
  • You should NOT assume it won’t happen to your business
  • You MUST have a crisis management plan
  • You MUST have a positive security culture

All businesses have a “duty of care” to staff and to customers. The legal implications to the management team if someone is injured or killed as a result of a failure on the part of the management in the event of a critical incident can be enormous.

Changing the Security Culture

Engendering a security culture without creating a tense atmosphere of fear is a finely balanced objective.

It has to begin at the top, but still for too many senior executives security is perceived as an unwelcome cost to be born grudgingly. Good security does mean cost, but it is the thing we care about most and people who don’t have confidence in their security will not perform well.

Moving down through an organisation, specific security responsibilities need to be assigned. People need to know who to speak to about concerns. They also need to know what is expected of them. Post an incident, an often heard lament is ‘No one told me I had to challenge strangers!’ People need to be encouraged to be as concerned about their workplace as they are about their homes.

So companies need to invest in visible measures that give staff confidence. They must not be window dressing, a uniformed guard supplied by an agency patrolling reception when the threat level increases, is not an alternative to an integrated and assessed security response. It may also be a waste of money! But a monitored electronically controlled access system may be an effective answer.

Crisis Management Planning

Implementing a Crisis Management Plan and gaining the trust and co-operation from your senior management and personnel is a big task; however, by communicating the right message, to the right people, at the right time is critical to managing a major incident. Crisis Management is a disciplined, logical and consistent approach that aims to protect an organisation’s personnel and assets by reducing the potential loss before it occurs and mitigating injury, loss and damage if an incident happens.

Whether as victims of direct attacks or as result of collateral damage to widespread and indiscriminate terrorist campaigns, your organisation must consider the vulnerability to the following criminal and politically motivated acts:

  • acts of terrorism
  • commercial sabotage
  • product contamination
  • criminal damage
  • kidnap, hostage, extortion and ransom
  • major systems attacks and reputation assaults

To be wholly effective, an organisation’s Crisis Management Plan should anticipate the impact of:

  • loss of life
  • material damage
  • lethal contamination
  • business interruption
  • low shareholder confidence
  • loss of industry reputation
  • clean up costs

By failing to take advantage of the first “golden hour”, those responsible for maintaining continuity can turn a serious situation into a major crisis. As a situation develops, failure to have planned an established Crisis Management mechanism will exacerbate risk, damage reputation and harm the ability of an organisation to work effectively with local Government officials and law enforcement. It is essential that comprehensive Crisis Management strategies are established, understood, rehearsed and effectively implemented.

There is an abundance of evidence that whilst a badly handled incident can cause complete organisational failure, organisations that are perceived to have handled a crisis well, will earn public respect, retain customer loyalty and become stronger in the long term.

Conclusions

Every business is different, run in different ways and located in different areas. These differences, combined with the real threat of terrorism, should determine whether your organisation is at immediate risk. By investing time and resources and by being prepared and responding quickly with confidence, will demonstrate your organisation’s ability to confront and deal with a major business crisis. This will allow you to mitigate adverse effects on your employees, surrounding communities and the environment, as well as helping to avoid costly losses.

Roy Ramm, Comsec Consultant 


On-Line Counterfeit Goods Market Doubles to £800m

Sunday, 01 March 2009 14:54

Figures compiled by DLA Piper and our on-line intellectual property specialists show the estimated value of counterfeit goods passing through on-line shopping sites in the UK to have doubled in just 3 years and is now over £800 million and is estimated by Comsec to exceed £1 billion in the next year. The products most at risk of infringement and typically removed from on-line sites include high fashion and cosmetic items, consumer electronics, vehicle spares and sports goods. But nothing is safe from the counterfeiters.
As well as the counterfeiting of brands and trade mark infringements, research also shows that on-line auction sites are fast becoming the market place of choice for the grey marketers. And the internet is not just the electronic version of a car boot sale. Many fraudulent sellers are earning in excess of £20,000 per month trading in bootlegged and counterfeit goods with some top sellers earning in excess of £1 million per annum.

Simon Levine, joint global head of DLA Piper’s technology, media and commercial group commented:

"Counterfeit goods dilute the value of brands, undermine the integrity of auction sites and ultimately cost the UK economy millions of pounds in lost income."

But this is not just about protecting brand owners – it’s for the consumer’s benefit also. If you invest your trust and money in a brand you want to know you’re getting the real thing, whether that’s make up and cosmetics or domestic appliances and children’s toys. Buyers most certainly need to beware – you may think you are getting a bargain, but you could be funding organised crime or buying faulty or dangerous goods in the process.

"Equally, this is not just a problem for the auction sites to address alone. Consumers need to report illegal or counterfeit trading and copyright owners need to work together with their legal representatives to take more active steps to police their brands on-line."

James Ramm, Managing Director of Comsec said:

"We call it e-fencing. Selling stolen, counterfeit or grey market goods. In hard times it's attractive for the buyers, but it's just as dangerous for them as buying something from a stranger in a pub. The quality is often terrible, sometimes dangerously so and there's no comeback. For the manufacturers and owners of the real product it is a serious issue. Their brand value is being eroded by cheap knock-offs. We use some very smart software to track the infringement of brands on-line, scanning both the image and textual descriptions. This is hard edged detective work in cyber space. And when we find illegally offered product, we are in a unique position not to just take the offending advertisements down - we have taken down £35 million worth in just last year - but also to do more conventional detective work, wear out some shoe leather and put together cases for prosecution in the real world."

Comsec offer the most effective and comprehensive brand protection services available. Fully automated or integrated with existing systems, Comsec's investigative software provides a comprehensive and highly cost effective solution to brand protection problems.

For further information call the investigative team at Comsec on +44 (0)207 553 7960.


Comsec removed £35m pounds worth of counterfeit and Iinfringing items from eBay in 2008

LONDON, February 26 /PRNewswire

Watchdog, a proactive and cost effective monitoring system developed by Comsec Solutions Ltd, automates the time-consuming task of manually monitoring and removing infringing auction listings from a number of trading sites.

Counterfeit goods and brand infringing products appearing on internet auction sites such as ebay, amazon and b2b trade boards such as Alibaba, cause significant financial and negative brand reputation risk in terms of lost revenue, consumer loyalty, sub-standard performance and alarmingly, health and safety issues. All brands are at risk. Popular fashion brands, for example, are an easy target for counterfeiters, as the consumer demand for the latest "must have" attitude outstrips supply. Counterfeiters fill that gap.

Traditionally counterfeit has been associated with the fashion industry but perhaps more alarmingly for the consumer is the targeting of the automotive and electrical industries. Are those cheap brake disks on the auction site really the bargain they appear to be? More often than not these counterfeit goods are being passed off using the brand owner's original images and logos. Assessing where and how your brand is under attack will allow you to allocate resource as cost effectively as possible. Staying on top of this evolving problem requires structured monitoring.

Watchdog Benefits:

  • Monitors eBay, amazon, ebid, alibaba and many other trading sites for suspicious and infringing items, 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • Automates the time draining manual process of removing infringing items responding to the offending seller with immediate "Cease and Desist" letters and "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" notices.
  • Locates international sellers selling into the European Economic Area preventing grey market activity and the loss of revenue such markets cause.
  • Gathers intelligence on offending sellers and securely collects and stores an automated evidential package for future legal actions.
  • Produces comprehensive management reports highlighting success rates, removal figures, turnover, seller statistics and tracks the progress of response.
  • Allows users to establish where auctions originate.
  • Searches auction listings for the brand owner's original electronic Images and logos copied from their website preventing passing off sales.
  • Recognises authorised sellers ensuring that "bulk de-listings" do not upset legitimate sellers.
  • Manages and automates the email obligations under eBay's VeRO notice scheme, as well as responses from offending sellers.
  • Demonstrates to offending sellers that proactive action is being taken.

Fraud - Finding the Truth

Friday, 28 November 2008 16:26

In New York, crooked Ponzi operator Bernie Madoff has busted all the estimates for the global cost of fraud. Closer to home, there are daily reports of “utterly trustworthy employees” turning to fraud of all kinds. In 2007 over £1 billion in fraud cases went to court in the UK.
While investigators and prosecuting lawyers acknowledge that 2008 was indeed a bumper year for fraud, there are no signs that the worst is over: the contrary is true. With the downturn in the global economy, individuals in positions of trust are also under personal financial strain. Vigilance and asset protection were never more necessary. For the victims of fraud, the legal process can be frustrating and inconclusive.

Roy Ramm, Chairman, Comsec Consultant said:

"Ending up in the courts prosecuting fraud is painful for the victims as it is for the defendants. Fraud is often complex, difficult for juries to understand and shaded - it’s rarely black and white. There is no miracle golden DNA bullet in fraud investigation. I have seen so many important and worthwhile ‘watertight’ cases sink without trace, it is phenomenally time consuming, often when time is the most valuable commodity in the business, and very dispiriting for the losers who feel they have lost twice over.

For every pound a company saves on fraud prevention it risks at least ten thousand in losses through dishonesty. In tough times, it’s easy to say cut anything that doesn’t add to the bottom line but it’s a bit like a struggling farmer saying I won’t bother with fences or a fisherman not maintaining the nets. It doesn’t make sense."

Fraud prevention medicine and rapid triage intervention does not have to cost the earth but doing nothing can be fatal for a business.

Reducing Exposure and Loss From Fraud

You can reduce your vulnerability to fraud. You can manage your risk, but you need to be vigilant. You may experience quite clear signals that something is wrong. If you are the person responsible for fraud prevention in your organisation or are concerned that fraud may be occurring - read on.

Trust Your Instincts

Most people in senior positions in commercial organisations regularly use their instincts in the normal course of business as a valuable tool. Sensing the market and knowing when to move. ‘Feelings’ are often actually the analysis of real signals subconsciously absorbed and synthesised. The same often applies in sensing when something is wrong in an organisation and investigators often unearth and unravel those instincts and feelings by lengthy questioning of witnesses. The outcome is often what you thought was intangible was there to be seen by someone with the right skills and experience.

Here are just a few very basic questions that might help you test whether your instincts deserve to be investigated:

  • Your sales have remained constant or even grown, your costs are unchanged but you are making less profit. Why?
  • There are other suppliers in the market place who appear to be offering materials at less than you are paying. Why?
  • Office supplies are inconsistent with the size of your staff. Why?
  • A procurement executive is ‘loyal’ to a supplier though goods are late, expensive or of inferior quality. Why?
  • Competitors seem to be able to second guess your business plans. Why?
  • Your customers are paying less than the market rate for your goods. Why?
  • Staff in positions of trust are being entertained by suppliers without your consent. Why?
  • You hear rumours of lifestyle inconsistent with remuneration. Why?
  • A person in a position of trust does not want to take a holiday and does not want to train a deputy or assistant. Why?
  • Records and accounts you want to see are ‘missing’. Why?

Gathering Intelligence

Gathering intelligence can appear inappropriate, more suited to government and security organisations, and perhaps misplaced in the corporate environment but nothing could be further from the truth. Knowing about your organisation, who works for you and the people you are doing business with is not only sound business advice but in some instances – for example in the prevention and detection of money laundering – may be a legal requirement. Intelligence is the basis for risk assessment

Comsec Consultant, John Lewis asks:

"Intelligence based risk assessment should underpin the way smart organisations operate. Whether it is straight forward pre-employment screening or deeper due diligence on people you are doing business with the principle remains the same. You would not let a stranger into your home and give them access to your valuables but some companies are remarkably relaxed about giving people they know little about the keys to the office and a password for the IT system. Why?

Knowing about your employees, your customers and your suppliers offers a degree of confidence that provides a genuine business edge. If you don’t think you know the stakeholders in your organisation, how can you be a confident manager? Whether you are investing in people through employment or in business development based on supplier and customer integrity the business case for having good information about those relationships is unarguable."

Conclusion

If you are concerned you may already have a problem or want to make sure you have appropriate measures in place to ensure you haven’t, CSi offers a fraud health check on your company.

Comsec Investigations offers a range of business services from online pre-employment screening to deep investigative probing. Please contact us on +44 (0)207 553 7960.