Category Archives: CheckMEND

Immobilise helps reduce mobile phone thefts

stolenmobilephonesThe Northamptionshire Evening Telegraph has reported that mobile phone theft rates have been steadily decreasing throughout the county thanks to forensic property marking schemes, encouraging people to use the security features on their phones and advising people to register their phones on www.immobilise.com.

However Crime prevention officer Paul Golley said people weren’t doing enough to protect themselves from thieves and against robbery:

We’d urge people not to show off their mobile phones or leave them unattended in public places like pubs and restaurants. People are advised not to use them while walking in public places as you are more prone to robbery.

We’d remind motorists not to leave phones in their cars and people should switch their phones to vibrate if they think their phone might bring them unwanted attention.

The number of mobile phone thefts in north Northamptonshire stood at 1,482 for the period 2006 to 2007. In the following year they dropped to 1,446 and the latest annual figure was 1,291.

To read the source article in full please go to: The Northamptionshire Evening Telegraph

Police target mobile phone stores in a crackdown on the sale of stolen goods

Emma Stone of the Coventry Telegraph has reported that police in Coventry are targeting mobile phone stores in the city in a crackdown on the sale of stolen goods.

Officers from Stoney Stanton Road police station, along with officers from Coventry City Council’s Trading Standards, have been carrying out spot checks at shops selling mobile phones and accessories.

Four mobile phone stores have been visited in the last week and two were found offering illegal handset unblocking services.

The stores were searched and seven stolen mobile phones were seized from the two city stores.

In addition to the stolen phones, trading standards officers also seized a large quantity of counterfeit phone accessories from one of the shops visited.

As part of the police operation, second-hand mobile phone stores are being asked to log details of the serial number, phone number and customer details of all handsets brought in for sale.

Shop owners are also being advised to check national database

will tell us if a phone has been stolen.

Anyone wising to carry and use phones which have been stolen are now much more likely to be caught.

Stores that do not check the validity of the phones they are selling will also be targeted by police and trading standards officers.

He added that further spot checks were planned throughout the city.

To read the source article please go to: Coventry Telegraph

Gwent Police launch high-tech war on thieves

The South Wales Argus has reported that vehicle thieves and shoplifters in Gwent are being targeted by police.

Extra officers are being used this week to capture cars and use specialist number plate recognition equipment to find stolen goods and return them to their rightful owners.

Detective Inspector Peter Jones, who is leading the operation, said

This is a response to the increase in thefts from vehicles during the run-up to Christmas … We know that thieves are stealing number plates, sat navs, audio equipment like CD players and mobile phones. We also know they are selling them on and are working with second hand shops to stop that.

People can register their valuables on the specially designed Immobilise.com website so their goods can be returned if stolen.

Officers from the community safety team will also be out in January showing shoppers how to register their valuables.

Inspector Terry Davies from the team said:

We are concerned that the credit crunch may be leading more people to risk buying dodgy goods which could have been stolen, to save money.

To view the source article in full please go to: South Wales Argus Newsdesk

Cheltenham Police Urge Students To Keep Their Accommodation Secure

Gloucestershire Constabulary make some sensible recommendations for students:

Cheltenham Police are reminding students to keep their accommodation secure. The warning comes after two student homes in the town were burgled last week.

Sergeant Mark Stephens from Whaddon Safer Community Team, who are responsible for policing issues at the Francis Close Hall, Hardwicke and Pitville campuses said: “Sadly student houses are an easy target for burglaries as with several people coming and going from the property they are easily left insecure.”

“If you add up the cost of everything you own, ipod, television, bike, laptop and mobile phone, you’ll probably be surprised at the amount it comes to.

“Along with the financial ramifications of losing these items it can also be very upsetting and devastating to your university work if any of your notes were stored on the stolen items.”

In addition to registering property on the Immobilise Property Register, Cheltenham police also make these sensible suggestions:

  1. A remarkable number of burglaries occur because a window or door has been left open, so make sure you keep them closed.
  2. Do not leave cash or valuables on display in your room and make sure valuable items cannot be seen from the window.
  3. During the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays take all items of value home with you.
  4. Make sure your property is insured.
  5. Get valuables security marked.

To see the orginal article in full go to: Space – University of Gloucestershire Students Union

Compulsory registration of mobile phones in the UK

The concept of making everyone register their handset in the UK is greatly misunderstood and is being hyped up by the press. Did you know that any contract mobile phone owner’s information can already be accessed by the Police using either a request under the RIPA or DPA procedures? So why should be people using PAYG phones not be subject to the same system? this is all this is about and it closes a loophole used by criminals that make it harder for the Police to identify stolen handsets or handsets used in connection with dubious activities. The only argument surely is whether the owner’s information is subject to the safeguards afforded by RIPA. If you use the DVLA registration of cars as a proof of concept, the Police can tap in your registration number and see the owner’s details in a heartbeat without having to make any formal requests so why not do the same with mobile phones?

Property stolen from luggage and sold on eBay!

With the recent incident highlighted in an article on the register website regarding the theft of consumer electronic from people luggage and their subsequent sale on eBay once again the use of CheckMEND could have saved a lot of people buying this stuff a lot of hassle. Remember if it looks too good to be true it probably is, always check what you are buying with CheckMEND.

CheckMEND service addresses online auction sites’ problems

CheckMEND SERVICE ADDRESSES ONLINE AUCTION SITES’ PROBLEMS

 

Need for Stronger Solutions Underscored by eBay Counterfeits Ruling in France; US Decision Imminent 

 

Gloucestershire, UK, July 2, 2008 – In light of the recent legal ruling in France resulting in a $63 million fine against eBay for selling counterfeit luxury goods, the global issue of product authenticity among online auction sites has been brought sharply into focus. Cybercrime and “e-fencing” are serious matters in the US as well, costing consumers an estimated $4 billion annually. A judge in the US is due to rule at any time on a similar case brought by Tiffany. 

 

This threat was identified eight years ago by the founders of CheckMEND.com, an online property validation service, who have compiled what is now the world’s largest database of counterfeit and stolen goods with more than 100 million records. A simple online search (or “check”) allows auction sites, consumers and manufacturers to validate the authenticity of a product for less than a dollar.

 

Adrian Portlock, founder and CEO of CheckMEND, has been in the business of identifying dubious goods sold online for nearly a decade and is an expert in this area, having worked extensively with law enforcement and government organizations. He said, “If you strip away the smoke and mirrors, this is a simple argument about whether online auction sites should be pro-active in policing the property being sold on their sites, and this issue is not going to go away. No system is ever going to be perfect at identifying all questionable items, but you have to start somewhere. CheckMEND is the most comprehensive system of its type, recommended by eBay in the UK when buying a mobile phone.”

 

A short demo of the CheckMEND system can be viewed at www.checkmend.com.

 

About CheckMEND

CheckMEND is a commercial service provided by Recipero Limited, a specialist aggregator of information. Based in Gloucestershire, UK, Recipero provides services to a range of blue chip clients and government organizations. The data on the CheckMEND database is checked over 1 million times a month by hundreds of approved organizations from more than 40 countries worldwide. For more information, visit CheckMEND at www.checkmend.com.

Check before you buy and only then you shall be rewarded

I have just been watching BBC News and one of their features was ‘Why shopping online could reward’.

The feature really focused on the fact that shoppers who like to spend their money online could also be earning at the same time and used an example from a woman who would only purchase items once she had sold a few on eBay and made a small profit.  Great example of how online shopping can really work well with the current credit crunch. However, I do wish the BBC had highlighted some of the risks involved in online shopping, like CNBC have done.

Yesterday we launched in the US and have already seen some coverage including from the Denver Post and it states we aim to curb the cybercrime of selling suspect second-hand goods. Hopefully there will be more to follow.

Anyway, hopefully the USA launch will be just as successful as the UK. According to the US Census Bureau the population of USA currently stands at 304,381,960 with:
• One birth every  7 seconds
• One death every 13 seconds
• One international migrant (net) every 29 seconds
• Net gain of one person every… 10 seconds

From the global population of internet users 27% are in the US and having read a lot of online articles and blogs e-fencing is proving to be a problem which the US are struggling to control. E-fencing laws have been discussed as being essential to combat organised retail crime. However, CheckMEND should now be an answer to their prayers, so let’s see how it goes.

This is what we do best and we have had plenty of stories from people who didn’t discover CheckMEND in time…

For example; Andrew Gudelajtis, from Mansfield, bought a Vodafone Nokia mobile phone from eBay for his wife. The phone arrived in a sealed box and was sold as being brand new, but after using it for six weeks the mobile phone stopped working.

He decided that he should use CheckMEND to check the IMEI number on its database. The search came back and identified the phone as being stolen or blocked. Unfortunately Andrew was then unable to re-trace the eBay seller and is left with a phone that doesn’t work and at the moment he is pursuing Vodafone to see if they can help – either by unblocking the phone or chasing the seller.

Hopefully he will have some luck at some point, but it is a great example of why you should use ‘CheckMEND before you buy’ or insist on sellers having a CheckMEND report. Or as I mentioned within my last post we should push for eBay to insist all sellers conduct a CheckMEND report!

Any questions – please fire them this way!

E-fencing on eBay – let’s enforce the check before you buy!

E-fencing – it’s an easy way to make fast cash and there are no regulations to stop you. BUT we can change this.

E-fencing is increasing everyday, according to CNBC , with the help of faceless online auction sites such as eBay and we need to really start looking into ways to overcome these issues. Well CheckMEND already have.

CNBC news in the USA have been really pushing the dangers consumers are facing in order to make e-fencing a more recognized problem.

The US-based National Retail Federation even went as far as to predict health problems caused by e-fencers re-selling stolen beauty products online, listing Cover Girl, Olay and RoC as the most common targets of e-fencing.
New York based Tiffany & Co has previously filed a lawsuit against eBay, and a host of other major retailers have all tried to persuade eBay and other online auction companies to combat e-fencing, but little has moved forward.

I have noticed a few online discussions by a number of cyber-crime bloggers about who is to blame and who’s responsibility it is. One I would like to highlight is, Investor Trip’s They point out the fact that eBay seem to be passing the buck. Quoting eBay’s Vice President of Trust & Safety Rob Chesnut: ‘increase theft protection at the retail level. It’s the job of these major retailers to prevent criminals from lifting their products.’

Although eBay is right, I still believe it is also the responsibility of eBay, and other online action sites, to protect their users. One simple way of doing this is to CHECKMEND IT. From our perspectives, asking all sellers to carry out a compulsory CheckMEND check would solve a lot of e-fencing problems.
Currently, there is an option to carry out a checkMEND report on eBay but it’s not compulsory. If we can persuade eBay to enforce then at least consumers will know they are shopping safely with eBay! Reassurance is all they need.

Anyway, here are some interesting snapshots of the top 10 eBay selling markets last year by rank, published on 14.05.2008 by Harris Interactive:
– Los Angeles-Long Beach, California
– 196,089 Los Angeles residents sold 24,051,645 items for a total of $1,396,037,518.
– Best-selling categories for Los Angeles sellers were cell phones and their accessories as well as clothing and accessories.
– Los Angeles sellers were also the most charitable eBay sellers last year, donating the most of any city via eBay Giving Works, eBay’s program that helps people buy and sell for a cause, turning e-commerce into a force for good.
New York

– 158,859 New York City residents sold 12,621,651 items for a total of $1,045,503,913.
– Best-selling categories for New York sellers were jewelry, gems, watches and clothing and accessories.

Chicago
172,972 Chicago residents sold 10,229,844 items for a total of $908,708,440.
Best-selling categories for Chicago sellers included toys and sports memorabilia.

Philadelphia
120,900 Philadelphia residents sold 7,069,212 items for a total of $584,383,915. Best-selling categories for Philadelphia sellers included collectibles and toys.

Dallas
85,484 Dallas residents sold 5,003,292 items for a total of $754,493,210. Best-selling categories for Dallas sellers included jewelry, gems and watches, and clothing and accessories. Dallas sellers also made more money on sales of cars and trucks than did sellers in any other top-10 U.S. seller market.
Orange County, California
75,486 Orange County residents sold 6,945,490 items for a total of $636,654,084.
Best-selling categories for Orange County sellers were auto parts and cell phones and accessories.
Washington, D.C.
112,462 D.C. residents sold 5,024,888 items for a total of $393,720,726. Best-selling categories for D.C. sellers included books and toys.
Houston
76,450 Houston residents sold 4,297,389 items for a total of $528,872,858. Best-selling categories for Houston sellers included health and beauty and collectibles.

Nassau-Suffolk, New York –
70,714 Nassau-Suffolk residents sold 5,396,880 for a total of $400,253,200. Sports memorabilia and health and beauty were best-selling categories here.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida –
39,623 Fort Lauderdale residents sold 2,838,954 items for a total of $631,845,063.
Best-selling categories for Fort Lauderdale sellers included home furnishings and auto parts.

The survey

was carried out by Harris Interactive. They also revealed that one in 10 US adults (that’s 11percent) is currently selling personal household items to generate extra cash, with the majority (59 percent) doing so via online sales

or auction sites like eBay. Additionally, 30 percent of all adults say they are likely to sell their personal or household items over the next three months to earn extra cash. Great, but are you sure they are not stolen!!!

So, lets all jump o

n the band wagon and make sure a CheckMEND check is enforced with all sales on eBay.

The Serial Entrepreneur

For those of you who have heard about it, but wondered what CheckMEND is and how it came about I thought I would give you the low down on why and how it all began.

Me, founder of CheckMEND.com

Lost my phone!

In 2000 I lost my phone on the London Underground and went to the lost property office to try to find it. However, I was then faced with the task of providing a serial number or what we also know as the IMEI number. But in 2000 no one had really heard of what an IMEI number was let alone know their own!

Anyway after eventually finding my IMEI number and recovering my phone, I realised that all modern consumer electronic products have a unique serial number and that without them there was little way of distinguishing one item from another. Thus, I formed the idea that there was a need in the market for a pre-loss or theft registration service containing these serial numbers.

Previous career path

My career has always involved providing services to the consumer, back in 2000, at the age of 40; I sold my chain of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities, with the aim of taking early retirement and relaxing after a very full working life… until the idea for CheckMEND hit me.

I decided to start up a company called Recipero (latin meaning to retain or recover), with a view to building a company that provided a range of products and services based on the accumulation, organisation and analysis of information relating to personal property ownership, associated criminality, fraud and illegal trading.

The simple pre-loss registration database:

The starting point was with a simple pre-loss registration database, but it quickly became apparent that there was value in the analysis of the data and potential to provide HPI-type data for consumer electronics. This was reinforced at the time with the explosion of online auction sites and the willingness of people to buy and sell second-hand goods online. All at the same time as the huge increase in the theft of mobile phones and other mobile devices such as laptops, ipods and the like.
The next three years was spent populating the MEND data warehouse and building partnerships across the mobile industry, with the likes of Carphone Warehouse and mobile phone networks. The police forces were also a vital partner for me.
Eventually, the system grew and now contains billions of pieces of discrete information and is accessed over a million times a month by the mobile phone industry, all UK Police forces, major insurers, the second hand trade, recyclers and the public.
CheckMEND.com was launched in 2006 and the CheckMEND database is now used extensively by second hand trade and the public the most common use of CheckMEND by the general public is for when they are buying or selling items from online auction sites like ebay.

Taking it international:

I can now safely say the company is well established and we are starting to focus on business outside the UK. 2008 will see two new launches for CheckMEND.com. One in the US, which the Recipero and CheckMEND teams are extremely excited about, with the U.S. being the largest market for consumer electronics. Not only that, we have already begun the process of launching in Asia too.

Obviously the road to where we are today didn’t all run as smoothly as suggested above, many a challenge was faced and problem overcome, but this is the CheckMEND story… so far…

Have a look at the youtube video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zcm9VFNvuQ