E-Fencing -What It Is And How To Fight It
E-fencing, also known as e-commerce fraud or online fencing, is the practice of selling stolen or fraudulently obtained goods online through legitimate e-commerce platforms. These goods can include anything from electronics and jewelry to clothing and accessories. E-fencing is typically done by organized crime groups or individual criminals who acquire the stolen goods through burglary, theft, or other illegal means.
E-fencing is a growing problem due to the ease with which criminals can set up online storefronts and the anonymity provided by the internet. It is also difficult to track and prosecute because the goods are often shipped across the state or international borders.
To fight e-fencing, law enforcement agencies and e-commerce platforms have implemented several measures, such as monitoring for suspicious activity, implementing stricter seller verification processes, and working with other agencies to identify and shut down illegal online storefronts.
Consumers can also help fight e-fencing by being vigilant when shopping online, avoiding suspicious sellers, and being aware of the signs of fraud, such as prices that are too good to be true, and reporting any suspicious activity to the authorities.
It’s also important to note that buying stolen goods is illegal, even if the consumer didn’t know they were stolen at the time of purchase.
Why is selling stolen goods called fencing?
The term “fencing” refers to the act of selling stolen goods, as it metaphorically compares criminal activity to the sport of fencing. In fencing, a fencer uses a weapon (the sword) to defend themselves from their opponent’s attacks (the stolen goods), and in a similar way, the criminal is using the act of selling the stolen goods to “defend” themselves from the consequences of the theft by disguising and disposing of the stolen property.
The term “fencing” comes from a criminal subculture that has been using this terminology for centuries. It likely originated from the phrase “to fence stolen goods”, that is, to dispose of stolen property through illicit channels. The person who carries out this activity is called a fence.
The term “e-fencing” refers to the modern version of this activity, which is done through the internet, specifically through e-commerce platforms.
Where Does E-Fencing Occur?
E-fencing can occur anywhere in the world, as it is a global problem that is facilitated by the internet and e-commerce platforms. Criminals can steal goods in one location and then sell them online to buyers in another location.
However, some areas may be more prone to e-fencing than others. For example, in urban areas where there is a higher concentration of retail stores, there may be more opportunities for criminals to steal goods to sell online. Similarly, areas with high levels of organized crime or gang activity may also see more e-fencing.
E-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba are where e-fencing happens. These platforms have a large customer base and are easy to access, making it easy for criminals to sell their stolen goods. Some countries have stricter laws and regulations for e-commerce platforms, making it harder for criminals to sell stolen goods. However, it’s important to note that no platform is completely immune to e-fencing.
It’s also important to note that e-fencing is not limited to physical goods. Digital goods such as account credentials and other digital information can also be fenced.
E-fencing, also known as e-commerce fraud or online fencing, is the practice of selling stolen or fraudulently obtained goods online through legitimate e-commerce platforms. It is a growing problem caused by the ease of setting up online storefronts, the anonymity of the internet, and the difficulty in tracking and prosecuting the criminals involved. E-fencing can occur anywhere in the world, but areas with high levels of retail stores or organized crime may be more susceptible to it.
To fight e-fencing, law enforcement agencies and e-commerce platforms have implemented measures such as monitoring for suspicious activity, implementing stricter seller verification processes, and working with other agencies to identify and shut down illegal online storefronts. Consumers can also play a role in fighting e-fencing by being vigilant when shopping online, reporting suspicious activity to the authorities, and avoiding buying stolen goods, which is illegal.