The International Business Times has an interesting article about an SAP Executive who was arrested for replacing the barcodes on Lego kits with barcodes for cheaper products. What I find interesting about it is that it’s one of the few times I remember where POS hardware is used for fraud that isn’t fake IDs or stolen credit cards.

Thomas Langenbach, the perpetrator of the crime, went through some pretty clever steps to get steep discounts on his Legos. Yes. I call it Legos. Anyway, he would scan the barcode off a cheaper product, create a new barcode label with that content, and would slap it onto more expensive stuff. So in one example, he bought the $270 Millennium Falcon Lego set for like $49. Personally, I would love to get the Millennium Falcon Lego set for $49. However, he’d then flip the products on Ebay, and ended up netting about $30,000 before finally getting caught.

Granted, he put extra steps into his crime, since UPC data for products is usually available online. But it does point out some of the weak points that can cause product loss at your business. For a larger retailer, such as Target, surveillance systems are a de facto standard and was the main way they were able to catch him in the act. However, this could have been caught even sooner by an attentive checker realizing that very obviously expensive product was just rung up at 50 dollars. I don’t know how much every product on our site is (I think I’m at 90%), but I’d still know something was amiss if one of ourPOS systems was sold for 150 bucks.

It is good to know the guy was caught, though it’s a little unsettling that an executive at SAP- a position I’d assume pays well- would feel the need to commit thievery for an extra 30 grand. The big lesson though is to just keep an eye on your products, or stay vigilant when you’re ringing customers up.

%d bloggers like this: