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CCTV Case Study: Helping catch credit card fraudsters

These days everyone knows how CCTV is a vital tool in fighting crime, with recordings of incidents being used as evidence in countless cases. Whilst it is often thought of as the first thing to look at for crimes such as theft and assault, what many business owners don’t realise is how it can help protect them against countless other types of crime, that you wouldn’t necessarily expect it could be used for. As an example, we were recently contacted by one of our customers who used their CCTV system to help catch credit card fraudsters. It’s a fantastic example of how footage of seemingly innocuous things can be key to pinning down people committing a whole host of crimes. After all- as a wise TV cop once said- all the pieces matter

Visa and Mastercard payment cards
image via

Credit card fraud is a serious problem for UK businesses, and a growing one at that. The UK cards association recently released their annual report on the issue, which was loaded with some rather alarming statistics:

  • There was a total of £450.4million worth of fraudulent transactions on UK issued cards in 2013 (the most recent year with figures available)
  • Remote purchases such as online or over the phone were the most common type of fraud by a wide margin, accounting for 67% of all incidences, worth around £301million. This represents a constant threat for online retailers, who must always be on the lookout for fraudulent buyers
  • The fastest growing method of acquiring card details were so called “vishing” attacks, whereby fraudsters pose as banks or police officers on the telephone in an effort to con details from victims
  • It could potentially be even worse, as a Daily Mail report this week suggests that fraud statistics should be as much as 50% higher due to massive underreporting by victims

One of our customers- an online furniture retailer- was recently hit by such a case, after it emerged a large order was placed using fraudulent card details, despite passing all security checks. After being informed of the issue by the bank, the story would typically end with them having no way of pursuing the criminals. Luckily, the buyers had decided to pick up the furniture delivery themselves in a white van from the retailer’s warehouse. This meant the company realised they had the crims’ faces and vehicle archived on their security system, and could quickly bring it back up to pass on to the police. Fans of poetic justice might also note how the fraudster’s reluctance to pay a simple delivery fee ended up being their undoing!

2MP 1080p HD Outdoor IP Security Camera ONVIF with 30m IR Night Vision
Recording faces for possible evidence use requires the best quality cameras

Recording faces with high enough resolution to identify someone in court is no easy feat however, and it usually requires a professional grade security system, ideally using HD devices such as IP cameras. This case though shows how investing in this equipment can help protect your losses in more ways than you might initially expect, and a good quality system can stay in use for years. This instance also shows how CCTV can help put a face to would usually be a  faceless crime perpetrated remotely.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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