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Organized Retail Theft

It’s becoming more popular than drug sales, we are talking about organized retail theft and it’s made possible by stealing your identity. This type of activity can turn millions of millions of dollars into the billions.


Oregon State Police (USA) uncovered major fraud relating to the purchase of iPhone. Criminals have used fake credit cards to buy Apple Store gift cards to buy iPhones and ship them to Hong Kong. Apple smartphones were purchased with Apple Store gift cards in the shopping centers Washington Square Mall and Bridgeport Village. Police officers made an ambush in Washington Square Mail and noticed the man who purchased a lot of Apple products with gift cards and that looked very suspicious.

The police officers waited until the man paid all of his acquisition and followed him to his car. When the man pulled away from the mall, police stopped his car and detained him. At that moment in the car were two people inside, later police reported that it was a criminal and his accomplice. A lot of boxes with new iPhones as well as large stack of gift cards were found in the car trunk. Investigators saying that the man planned to ship all of those phones to Hong Kong where they can be sold for two to three times more.

Now here is how this all works:

  1. Thieves Steal Identity
  2. Create Fake Credit Cards with stolen identity
  3. Use Fake Credit Cards to buy Gift Cards
  4. Buy Phones with Gift Cards
  5. All in the same area where the identity was stolen, so the bank doesn’t notice

During the operation were seized 470 iPhones total value of $290,000 dollars. Additionally, the police found large stacks of gift cards valuing $585,000 dollars, which are most probably were acquired with fake credit cards. Later, a nearby FedEX store, police found numerous boxes packed with iPhones that were destined for Hong Kong. If phones would have landed in Hong Kong, they could have been easily illegally transfered to China where they would have been sold through grey channels.

Nobody was arrested since the criminal with his accomplice are said to be cooperating with the investigation to find all the members of the criminal ring.

The police have no idea if the credit cards are stolen or not. Investigators think the the gift cards are linked to counterfeit credit cards from Southern California. The investigation is still ongoing.


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