Keith Aubele, CPP, CSO of Salient Systems, says his first encounter with ORC was in the 1980s when he was working as a district loss prevention supervisor to track groups that were stealing beauty, electronic, and health products using a much more limited toolset than we have available today.
One of the initial tactics they used to track thefts was marking items with store numbers, so if an item was taken from one Walmart and returned at another it would initiate a conversation or potential investigation. Aubele and his team also began to see instances of ORC groups stealing product, repackaging it, and selling it to smaller stores for a profit.
“We had to develop those processes ourselves. We started a recovery team—that was the first ORC recovery team that anyone was aware of,” Aubele recalls. “We had about 25 people on the ROC recovery team, and our mission was to delve in and try to figure out the connectivity, the vulnerabilities, and work with our government relations team to put a stop to the ORC trend.”
After building out an ORC team and investigation lab at The Home Depot in the early 2000s, Aubele says he brought in then CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman, to take a tour and learn about the threat of ORC—including how products stolen from retailers were being sold on eBay. Aubele says it was an “eye-opening experience,” and it ultimately led eBay to be the first peer-to-peer retailer to require verification checks for sellers to limit ORC groups’ activity on the site.
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