Dave DiSilva Of eBay Shares Strategies For Keeping Online Thieves At Bay

Tech-savvy thieves increasingly turn to the Internet to “fence” stolen merchandise. To help online retailers address this ongoing issue, Dave DiSilva, Manager of Global Asset Protection for eBay, outlined some steps retailers can take to reduce their exposure and help catch cyber criminals when they strike. He offered tips to help retailers combat fraudulent online sellers during a webinar sponsored by StopORC.

“With some of these thieves, if they were not criminals they would make fabulous business people,” DiSilva said. “They know what products move, they know what price points to sell at and they know how to turn a profit.”

In a poll of webinar participants, about one third said that they seldom or never check the Internet for stolen products. DiSilva said that retailer have to take the same active stance to fight online crime as they do in their retail stores, adding that there are a number of free and subscription tools available online to help retailers search for stolen merchandise being offered for sale.

Retailers should start with a thorough knowledge of their merchandise, including pricing thresholds and high-theft items, DiSilva said. “Retailers should understand their merchandise and the landed cost of an item so that they can focus on [suspect] listings and sellers. They should also be able to identify high-shrink items at the description and SKU level. The key is to have control, because thieves take advantage of a lack of control.”

There also must be a high level of communication between departments to help combat online fraud, DiSilva said. “[Loss prevention should] partner with marketing to be aware of the various coupons, loyalty and awards programs being offered,” he said, adding that there are some “grey-haired gangs” who look for loopholes. He also said that loss prevention has to communicate with the inventory control and treasury teams to fully understand product lifecycle trends and how lost inventory is managed and accounted for on the balance sheet.


Gathering as much evidence as possible can help a retailer make a case for law enforcement to take action, DiSilva said. The prosecution rate for domestic cases that involve boosters — thieves who steal products from stores to sell them online — are “very good,” he said. It is harder to punish online criminals operating outside of the country. “Even if we know who they are and where they are, it takes a high level of commitment from the retailer and resources.”

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