Is the internet a huge fence for stolen goods?

i just bought a Lonely Planet guide from before it was even out in the stores. it was in pristine condition and i paid about 40% of the cover price. i’m thinking that an entrepreneuristic book store employee took one out of the box and made a few bucks.

i know that when somebody abandoned a Columbia House shipment in my apartment building (before you attack me, i waited as it sit there for 2 weeks and the name on the package wasn’t on the building registry), i sold the CD’s on and Ebay, whichever was more lucrative.

so the question is: hasn’t the wonder of the internet just made it easier for thieves and potential buyers to hook up? hasn’t it made it much easier to make money on small items that wouldn’t have been worth stealing in the past? is the buyer doing something illegal? how can you know if it’s pretty much anonymous? any reported increases in employee theft from book and record stores? anybody got in trouble for this kind of activity?

c’mon people, let’s fess up! how has the internet helped to enable our shadowy transactions?

of course, if i can keep getting books at 40% and selling items for 100% profit, i’m not about to alert any authorities…

If you were a nice citizen you would have marked return to sender for the obviously moved tenant or misshiped parcel. Instead you commited theft, and that persons credit could be screwed if they refuse to pay for the parcel they never recieved… although the other side of the coin I am sure it happens all the time.

And yes, I would be willing to say that a great number of people fence stolen goods over the net with a PO box for an address.


do people really get dinged on their credit report for Columbia House shipments? there’s no way to prove that it was ever received. and the minute amount of information they ask you to provide leads me to believe that they can’t even access your credit report if they tried.

as for “theft” from a major corporation…oh well. i won’t be losing any sleep tonight.

About 15-20 years ago when I was in high school, the thing to do was to fill out those Columbia House things for records and tapes (yep, that was before CDs were the rage) and use fake names and vacant houses (or those for sale that would soon be vacant) as the addresses. Records and tapes would come, you’d pick them up, and take them to the music store complaining you got them as a gift.

You’d get credit at the store (some would even give you cash back then without a receipt) and then you could get all the stuff you really wanted.

In modern time, I can’t imagine why this scam doesn’t still work, except that the item gets sold on the Internet.

Actually, as far as I know, it still does work. A friend of mine (and it really is someone else, none of this wink, wink, nudge, nudge BS) would go and get three P.O. boxes with his real last name and his nickname that everyone called him (but wasn’t his legal name). He would then register, have the CD’s sent to the P.O. boxes and then close the P.O. box and leave the company out 30 or 40 CD’s. I’m sure this is fraud or something bad, but last time I heard from him he wasn’t using his one call on me, so I guess he isn’t in jail yet.

No, stuff you order through the mail (CDs, books from book clubs, magazines) doesn’t affect your credit; at least not yet. Yes, it would seem to be incredibly easy to sell stolen stuff over eBay. I’ve never knowingly sold stolen stuff over the 'Net, but I guess if I had to get rid of some hot goods, that would be my first choice. All pawnshops and many second hand stores take drivers license info from you nowadays, and the price you’d get is nowhere near “fair market value”.

only an idiot store clerk would take these back as the BMG stuff that you get from the catalogs have no bar code on them. now this might be different 15 years ago, but all the BMG stuff that I have from the mail order places have no bar code.

As for stolen stuff I’m sure it goes on. I wouldn’t do it knowlingly though. I have bought cough bootlegs cough but only of live shows and normally the ones I’ve been too.

Yes, I believe that ebay does get a fair amount of hot stuff. paypal is great for paying for it too.

Carding is happening a lot on the net too.

hapaXL, buying hot stuff is illegal too.