Technology and Loss Prevention: Friend or Foe?

What amazing times we live in these days! I’m blogging this post from 35,000 feet on a Delta flight with wireless internet service. In the past hour, I’ve responded to emails from Japan, UK, Canada, and France that came in overnight, rebooked a flight on, sent four text messages to cell phones from my email, and taken care of paying some bills from my online banking account. I remember when a “powerful” personal computer used one 5.25″ floppy drive to run your application (only one at a time) and the other 5.25″ was your “hard drive.”

What impact is technology having on our industry and our efforts to battle fraud and reduce loss? Most of us would have a gut reaction that it is a positive impact. We could support that by citing the use of databases to track cases and share information; POS exception reporting that helps identify fraud at the register; digital CCTV systems that allow us to look-in on stores in real-time or review high risk transactions from the convenience of our computer screen; or the ability to integrate access control, alarm systems, CCTV, and other systems.

However, a contrarian might cite the use of the world-wide web to launch attacks on corporate websites or data; increased ease of sharing information between criminals about targets and security measures; the tremendous vulnerability that PCI non-compliance can have on an organization; the emergence of internet auction sites and their role in disposition of stolen goods; or the potential negative impact on shrinkage when data integrity is accidentally comprised with implementation of new equipment, systems, or technology platforms in our organizations.

What is your view of the impact of technology on our efforts for the good or the bad?

2 Responses to Technology and Loss Prevention: Friend or Foe?
  1. Lucy Rochester
    September 1, 2009 | 10:18 AM

    Working as an LP Consultant utilising data mining technologies I’m going to have to say that IT is a friend. I completely agree, however, that IT is also a friend to the people we all strive to catch. That’s why we need to use it effectively and make sure that we’re one step ahead.

    Fraud strategies are fluid and so they’re constantly changing we need the capability to adapt with them.

    I am sometimes utterly amazed at the laborious processes some companies still practice for their LP; sifting through receipt rolls, using 5 different data repositories to collate their cases etc.

    I have no doubt that human experience is essential in fighting LP but let’s focus that expertise in the right areas and let IT do the monotonous bits.

  2. Chris Richardson
    September 11, 2009 | 1:53 PM

    The recent study “Loss Prevention and Beyond: Survival of the Fittest,” sponsored by ADT, concludes that using business intelligence tools sets apart top retail performers from the underperfomers. EAS, exception analysis, and video surveillance systems are a few of the tools explored in this article. You can read more by clicking