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
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.
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.
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 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.
– 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Following our last post on £5 billion stolen goods for sale online, it seems that online auction sites are taking the heat, but as Identity Resolution Daily points out, if they reduce, what is termed as e-fencing – selling stolen goods online – they will lose most of their revenue.
However, if these auction sites ignore the statistics, and continue to allow themselves to be marketplaces for selling ‘stolen goods’ will mean that they will soon become high profile case studies for us. Beware – You will get caught
There has been much discussion within the mobile tech community on whether CheckMEND is a good deal which our very own bat phone cleared up:
Hi, just to let you know CheckMEND ‘trade’ account is such only because that’s who they think would be interested in it. In fact the vat number and co number are optional at registration and they only thing ‘trade’ about it is a minimum £25 worth of checks purchased at registration. At the moment though you get 50 checks for this so paying only £0.50 instead of £2.99 for your first fifty checks and only £1 per check after that.
Of course reselling checks is against the terms and all your certificates will have the account holders details on so giving them away becomes awkward too but if you may check several phones in future (the credits never expire) it’s a good deal.
Declaration: I work for the parent company but this isn’t an advert, I just want to put right the misunderstanding about trade accounts. I’ll pass on the confusion and perhaps the web guys will modify the website.
We have some hard hitting facts for you, collated from our CheckMEND database.
- Of the £5bn Stolen goods for sale online, it is estimated that £2.6bn of that can be attributed to mobile phones
- Of all the checks carried out on CheckMEND over the last 18 months 67% were made on mobile phones. Which equates to 6,700,000 checks made through CheckMEND, were to check the IMEI number of a mobile phone
- Out of every town in the UK you are most likely to be sold a stolen mobile phone in Leicester
CheckMEND has identified 3,522 stolen handsets in the last 23 days, that’s 153 a day and from these checks, it indicates the place you are most likely to be offered a stolen phone in order of likelihood are:
Greater London – Finsbury Park, North London –600 policemen arrested 70 people!
The Nokia N95 is the most checked phone as it is the top end of the price range for second hand phones, so watch out n95 users…
After registering your property stolen your information will be fed to our CheckMEND database and we can stop all e-fencing criminals from re-selling your property.
Today we released a report stating ‘£5 billion worth of stolen goods are on sale online over the internet at any one time in the UK’. Even more shocking, every minute two items are identified as being stolen
We know this because we are the UK’s online stolen property checking service that identifies over 1 million stolen items every year.
Our CheckMEND blog will aim to keep you updated and up to speed on any online shopping crime, crime prevention topics and stolen goods statistics. We shall let you know what’s going on in the world of ‘hot goods’ and any relevant breaking news…
So that we are clear from the start, here are a few notes about us:
- CheckMEND is a brand from Recipero Limited www.recipero.com, a company founded by entrepreneur Adrian Portlock and two other non-executive directors that had it’s official launch in July 2006
- CheckMEND searches the UK’s largest database of stolen goods and blocked mobile phones with nearly 30 million records which can be checked by a perspective purchaser prior to purchasing an item. We can refer to it as a super database, but NOT a government run ‘stupid’ database
- Since it’s launch CheckMEND has carried out over 10 million checks online
- The majority of UK Police forces use the CheckMEND data to check the legitimacy of property many thousands of times a week.
- In the UK CheckMEND is already recommended by ebay for the checking of mobile phones before purchase
To find out more about what we do watch our video online http://www.checkmend.com
Why are there so many stolen goods online?
The problem is being exacerbated by “faceless” selling on the growing range of online auction and classified sites and the new phenomenon of “Market Places” on social networks, like Facebook, eBay and specific online mobile phone shopping sites.
Plus with the backdrop of the credit crunch impacting on family purses, UK consumers are increasingly on the lookout for a bargain or are clearing out their clutter to sell online or at the local car boot sale.
For any of you bargain hunters out there always check with CheckMEND if what you are about to buy is stolen or you could find yourselves in a pickle!
The Bigger Picture
Not only can you protect yourself from the hassle of purchasing stolen goods and from the risk of prosecution for handling them… if we reduce the opportunities for thieves to sell stolen property, then surely the demand will reduce as well. Only last week the Design Council released a study that found that one in eight children aged 11 to 16 has been the victim of a “hot product” theft, in the past three years
Plus, think about it if you are selling your laptop on eBay and can prove, with a free to view certificate, that what you’re selling is legit then people would be more likely to buy from you, rather than the next person who can prove the background of the laptop they’re selling!
Stewert Mitchell from the Times wrote an interesting feature which named online auctions as ‘Unscrupulous thieves who con innocent buyers’ but authorities seem powerless. We agree but with help of checkMEND authorities are becoming increasingly powerful with more arrest being made each year.
Warning – what we have found:
We have found that on average one in ten items of second hand goods checked through CheckMEND is being identified as being reported as stolen. Since its launch in 2006, CheckMEND has recently carried out 10 million checks on items valuing over £1 billion.
The value of the goods identified as being stolen is around £100 million.
Here are some fast facts we have for you:
- There are over £1 billion worth of insurance claims made in the UK every year from items being stolen
- There are over 30 million items of stolen property listed on CheckMEND from the UK with an estimated value of £3 billion
- 10% of all items of second hand goods checked through CheckMEND is identified as having been reported stolen
- Over 10 million checks have been made through CheckMEND over the last 18 months
- Over 600,000 checks are now made through CheckMEND every month
- The total value of items checked over the last 18 months is over £1 billion
- The value of the stolen goods identified as stolen is over £100 million