2022 Retail Risk Fraud Awards

The Comsec team poses after winning two awards at the retail risk fraud awards

Comsec Investigations recently attended the 2022 Retail Risk Fraud Awards where we were delighted to win not one but two awards related to our innovative work around ecommerce fraud and civil recovery in collaboration with adidas and DWF.


Affecting a huge number of retailers, this project seeks to help businesses recover lost revenue suffered through online return scams.

To be recognised by the industry for this product is a proud moment but more importantly it highlights how much more needs to be done. So, if you suspect your business is being affected by online return fraud please do reach out and see how Comsec can help you.

Stolen goods being sold on eBay

hands on keyboard

Comsec’s online surveillance tool ‘Watchdog’ can automatically detect stolen and fraudulently obtained items being sold online

Employee theft is one of the most common ways businesses lose money, assets and their reputation. With various online selling platforms available it’s becoming easier for staff to profit from stolen goods.

Watchdog automates online asset protection by interrogating commerce platforms, social media, online marketplaces (eBay, Amazon, Gumtree etc.), as well as many search engines in real time.

This information is then then cross-referenced based on a number of criteria including: location, price and quantity to determine fraudulently obtained goods from within your business.

If stopping employee theft and Brand Protection is an area of your business that you want to gain control over, please do not hesitate to contact Paul Tuck paul.tuck@comsechq.com  or call 07880 200 948 to discuss a solution.    

Comsec To Attend Brand Licensing Europe 2018

Comsec are set to attend Brand Licensing Europe 2018. This year’s event is taking place at London’s Olympia Grand between the 9th-11th October.

Brand Licensing Europe will bring together leading brand owners, retailers, licensees and manufacturers to network, make deals and trend spot.

This year’s exhibitors include: Games Workshop, 20th Century Fox Consumer Products, MyMediabox, Aardman and many, many more.

To find out more information about the event, visit: https://www.brandlicensing.eu/about/about-the-event.

Do you need help protecting your brand? Get in touch with us.

Source: https://www.brandlicensing.eu/

Watchdog Featured on JTI.com For Its Online Crackdown of Illicit Tobacco

Watchdog has been featured on Japan Tobacco International’s (JTI) website as part of their online series on The True Cost of Illegal Tobacco.

In a video called ‘Illegal Sales Trending Online‘, Watchdog’s Project Manager Alex Jones speaks about the dangers of buying and selling counterfeit tobacco online, and how Watchdog assists in tackling this global issue.

JTI state that if taken together as a whole, illegal tobacco would be the equivalent of the third-biggest tobacco manufacturer in the world.

More information on The True Cost of Illegal Tobacco series can be found here: https://www.jti.com/our-views.

Do you want to know more about the illicit tobacco trade? Search the hashtag #FightIllegalTobacco on social media.

Source: https://www.jti.com/our-views/new-era-illegal-trade

Six Arrested For Illegal Streaming After Year-Long Investigation

Following a year-long investigation coordinated by Europol, six arrests have been made across the UK and Ireland. All six are suspected of illicitly distributing premium TV channels using IPTV (Internet Protocol Television).

Police officers carried out house searches on 11 September 2018 in England, Scotland and Ireland. Including a man and a woman, who were arrested by the Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service and Hampshire Constabulary.

The arrests were the result of a complex investigation, involving a number of law enforcement agencies, including: Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Police Scotland, Trading Standards and UK IPO.

Private sector partners were also involved, including: the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA) and Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

Of the investigation coordinated by Europol, Sheila Cassells, Executive Director of AAPA and member of Europol’s IPC3 Stakeholder Advisory Group said:

“This case demonstrates clearly why it is crucial for the private sector and law enforcement to work together on these complex cases. The AAPA members involved value greatly the commitment of law enforcement to fighting audiovisual piracy and the coordination role undertaken by Europol.”

Piracy is a criminal activity. Illegally streaming copyrighted content brings a significant loss to broadcasters and rights owners. It also threatens the livelihoods of those working legitimately in the industry.

COMSEC’s proprietary software Watchdog has helped broadcasters tackle this huge issue online. Are you suffering from illicit streaming? Get in touch with us.

Source: https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/six-arrested-in-hit-against-illegal-television-streaming-in-uk-and-ireland

German School Sued Over Use of Copyrighted Photo

A school in Germany has been sued over using a copyrighted photo on their website.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the school, based in the western German state of Land North Rhein-Westphalia violated a photographer’s copyright.

A student project containing the copyrighted image was published on the school’s website. A pupil at the school had found the image on a travel website.

The ECJ stated that the school needed permission from the photographer, Dirk Renckhoff.

Mr. Renckhoff claimed that he had given exclusive rights to the travel website Reisemagazin Schwarzaufweiss to use the photograph. It featured Córdoba in southern Spain.

Mr. Renckhoff sued the Land North Rhein-Westphalia for €400.

Before the case reached the ECJ, a regional court in Hamburg ruled that the photograph needed to be removed from the school’s website – with the state having to pay €300 plus interest.

However, both parties appealed this decision. A federal court later passed the case onto the ECJ.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-45113092

Counterfeit Designer Goods Discovered in Stoke-on-Trent Salon

A businesswoman in Stoke-on-Trent has been ordered to pay over £5000 after counterfeit designer goods were discovered in her tanning salon.

Tracey Bell, 53, who runs Alsager Tanning Studio, has been granted three months to pay the fee by Cheshire East Council, or face three months in prison.

It follows a successful raid by investigators from Cheshire East Council.

Counterfeit bags, accessories, make-up and footwear were amongst the goods discovered.

The fake product were labelled under internationally acclaimed brands: Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Beats. If genuine, the items are thought to have been worth up to £100,000.

Goods were acquired during a test purchase operation conducted by the investigators, who found goods on the premises, as well as on Facebook.

Bell was handed a four-week prison sentence, 12 month suspension, and a six-moth supervision order for the offences.

Following this, Cheshire East Trading Standards launched a financial investigation, to which led a separate hearing at Chester Crown Court on 20 July 2018.

Of the case, Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet Member for Communities, said:

“Although buying a fake designer handbag, watch or sunglasses might be seen as a ‘victimless’ way to get something desirable on the cheap, the money made from the trade in these types of goods is often used to fund significant criminal activity and impacts genuine businesses. Such goods are also often unsafe and pose a significant safety risk.”

Does your brand need protecting against counterfeiting? Get in touch with us.

Sources: https://www.crewechronicle.co.uk/news/fake-goods-dealer-alsager-told-14970137https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/investigators-raid-tanning-salon-find-1846010

Nandos force Chicken Shop to change Name following Copyright Dispute

A chicken shop in Reading, Berkshire has been forced to change its name following a copyright dispute with Nando’s.

Fernando’s (now named Fernandez) received a copyright infringement letter in March 2018 – stating that the name and logo was too similar to that of the internationally acclaimed restaurant chain.

The owner of Fernandez, Asam Aziz claimed Nando’s bullied him into chaining the name of the shop.

Mr. Aziz said: ‘It’s been stressful to do the rebrand, we couldn’t close up throughout it.

‘We’re trying to change the sign and interior while customers are still coming in.

‘It’s been an absolute nightmare but by the grace of God we’ve done it. ‘We’ve got the sign, the new wall design and everything coming now, and a new website as well.

‘Everything seems to be coming together and I’m happy.’

Mr. Aziz claims Nando’s are now happy with the changes that have been made, and a new menu would be introduced soon.

Do you need help protecting your copyright? Get in touch.

Sources: https://metro.co.uk/2018/07/18/nandos-forces-chicken-shop-change-name-accusing-copyright-infringement-7732334/https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/reading-chicken-shop-rebrands-following-spat-with-nandos/

95 Arrests Made in Europe Against Online Fraudsters

95 arrests have been made across Europe against online fraudsters.

This follows a joint law enforcement operation between 4 and 15 June 2018. The suspects arrested are believed to be responsible for more than 20,000 fraudulent transactions using compromised credit cards. These transactions are thought to total an estimated €8 million (£7 million).

The operation was coordinated by Europol – who worked closely with law enforcement, the banking industry and retailers across 28 countries.

Operations in the UK were headed up by officers from the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU). The DCPCU is a special police unit, comprising of officers from the City of London and Metropolitan Police forces.

Nine search warrants were executed across the UK, as well as the gathering of valuable intelligence. Several devices suspected of being used to commit remote fraud purchases were seized. Ongoing investigations are underway – expected to result in further arrests and changes.

Of the operation, T/DCI Glyn Whittick, Head of the DCPCU said:

“The success of these operations shows how through close cooperation with our European partners, retailers and the financial sector, we are cracking down on the criminal gangs targeting consumers online.”

“Ongoing investigations are now underway and we will continue to work together to bring those committing remote purchase fraud to justice.”

To help raise awareness around online fraud, Europol have a social media campaign under the hashtag #BuySafePaySafe.


The campaign fits with Financial Fraud Action UK’s Take Five to Stop Fraud – which provides consumers with advice and tips on how to stay safe.


Do you need help protecting your business? Get in touch with us.

Source: https://www.financialfraudaction.org.uk/news/2018/06/19/95-arrests-made-in-europe-wide-crackdown-against-online-fraudsters/

Changes To WHOIS Data. What Can You Access?

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect on 25 May 2018.

But how does the GDPR affect WHOIS data?

WHOIS data is now mostly confidential. If you need to access non-public data, you will now need to make a direct request to the registrar of the website – outlining why you require the information.

This could be that the website is unlawfully using your trademark, or violating your copyright. Or perhaps the website is providing goods and services that could harm the public.

Fundamentally, the key is that the need for the data must outweigh the individual’s rights under the GDPR.

This will likely result in back and forth conversation with the registrar, where you may need to confirm that you will store the data securely, should it be released to you.

More in-depth information regarding the changes to WHOIS data can be found on ICANN.

The following article on Lexology.com is also an interesting insight into the GDPR and WHOIS in relation to online enforcement.

Do you need assistance with websites that violate your trademark or copyright rights? Get in touch with us.

Sources: The ACG, https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/gtld-registration-data-specs-enhttps://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b65166b4-3065-4293-9123-8f146beb9ebb