Gang members have been known to encourage their girlfriends to obtain legitimate employment in retail stores in order to have access to customers' credit cards. In some cases, the girls "forget" to give the cards back to the shoppers (in other words, they steal the credit cards). In other cases, the women are recording the card information for later use. The gang members use the data or the cards to make purchases that they either fraudulently return so that their girlfriends can process cash refunds, or they keep the merchandise. Observers are pretty sure that the money being used to further gang activities, but it's difficult to prove the link and almost impossible to stop the thefts.
If you have a solution or advice about how stores can prove the link to the gangs, or ideas about how they can avoid repeat credit card thefts, please let us know by e-mailing your ideas to Liz@RetailManagersGuide.com. We'll publish the best solutions in an upcoming SecurityInfoWatch.com Retail Security column -- and you can remain anonymous if you wish. The best solution receives a free copy of "The Retail Manager's Guide to Crime and Loss Prevention: Protecting Your Business from Theft, Fraud and Violence."