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How to Improve Investigations in Online Classifieds

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Presentation on theme: "How to Improve Investigations in Online Classifieds"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Improve Investigations in Online Classifieds
Hosted by: Allen Atamer LTAS Technologies

2 Allen Atamer MIT graduate 2001 (S.M.)
10 years experience in artificial intelligence, text mining and software engineering 1 US and 1 Canadian patent in my name 8 years in the aerospace industry Personal motivation: 2 daughters 2

3 CraigsList & Online Classifieds
Cheap, effective way to reach many people with your product/service Many postings to investigate – sometimes thousands per day Anonymous nature of listings, limited validation of personal information CL hides behind the law when questioned* * S230 of the Communications Decency Act 1996

4 Illegal Activity Auto crime / Auto fraud Child prostitution
Unlicensed Contractors Weed / Drugs Fraud / 419 scam (King of Nigeria) E-Fencing stolen merchandise

5 Free Monitoring Tool - RSS
CL provides RSS feeds free Limited utility lack of prioritization Information overload for > 5 feeds

6 Webscrapers Cost about $50 - $500 off the shelf
Database Cost about $50 - $500 off the shelf Crawl a single page to many destinations Limited utility No clustering of similar postings No clustering of phone numbers No cleanup / filtering / prioritization of data Page The quick brown fox the lazy dog Page

7 Hand-Bombing Tip Repeat ad that keeps coming up over and over?
Use the - prefix

8 Auto Crime - Reporter Curbstoners – sell salvage title / grey titling vehicles list bogus private sale ads in CL: “for sale by owner” EXAMPLE: 1998 VW BEETLE TDI DIESEL 2000 VW JETTA GLS "NEEDS BODY WORK" 2003 Honda Accord, Auto, One owner, No accident, Private Sale

9 Auto Crime - Reporter Receive report compiling and separating list of sellers Instantly identify high-profile sellers without searching Sample Excel file below: 9

10 Auto: Investigator CL limits display of postings
Only 7 days old for major cities Typically 30 days old for smaller cities Additional matching against historic data up to 1 year old “TGTBT” price rank EX Acura for $9k, where average is $11k+ “TGTBT” mileage rank  odometer spinners (felony)

11 Auto Example: 2005 honda accord

12 The “Game” Career Criminals adapt when they feel the heat
Move their ads to another website Obfuscate phone number in ad Change cell numbers often We can meet the challenge Harmari can analyze all major classifieds Craigslist, AutoTrader, Kijiji, Backpage, (more coming)… Future development You need a long-term internet investigation partner to be one step ahead 12

13 Automation benefits Text cleanup (spelling, decorations, acronyms, abbreviations, synonyms) Automated License Plate Recognition (50-70% accy) Duplicates filtered out (97% duplicate-free reports) Merges info from similar listings Posts/data are stored on our server for 3 months Reporting allows you to prioritize the leads By region, number of posts, price, posted date

14 Breakdown of postings

15 Find the phone number Obfuscated numbers foil the Reverse Lookup Search Harmari Engine is 98% accurate in retrieving such phone numbers

16 Spot the difference

17 The Competition Requirement Hand-bombing CL Harmari Effort required
High Low – Excel compatible report Effectiveness Low High – prioritized list of suspects Coverage Limited Complete Cost Your time $ next slide

18 Auto: Reporter Pricing
Price per Month Level Posts/ Day Example CL CL, BkPg CL, BkPg, EbayCL 3 0-500 Omaha, Louisville $350 $650 $800 2 Cleveland, Detroit $1050 $1300 1 1000+ NYC, LA $950 $1400 $1700 Prices are negotiable!

19 Product Line and Features
Reporter Investigator Available? TODAY Database updates bi-weekly weekly postings stored offline a Analyze live data Analyze historic data up to 3 months Price and mileage filter by make/model (Auto) 19

20 NEW! CL Reverse Lookup Try it out for free! Matching Live And Historic
Ads Try it out for free! * Limited to Auto FSBO + Skilled Trades section Enter Phone Numbers Here

21 against the Perpetrator
Proactive Excel Report Delivered Weekly Report Divided Up Amongst Investigative Team Avoid Hand-Bombing Each Ad; Saves Time Reactive 1. Receive Tip Or Complaint of Internet ad 2. Search the phone number on Harmari 3. Gather evidence against the Perpetrator -website -office location -false advertising

22 Show Excel File

23 Case Study - OMVIC Subscribed since August Reports delivered monthly
CL ads Dealers DB Subscribed since August Reports delivered monthly TGTBT modifications Raw mileage number rather than ranking Below Market Value (Yes/No) instead of 1-5 Triage list Inappropriate dealer ads vs. true curbstoners Harmari Engine Marketing Investigations

24 Case Study – Virginia HEAT
Currently in evaluation phase Sample report for Tidewater, VA area Report for Craigslist with 243 phone numbers listed Out of 28 phone numbers with 6+ vehicles, 7 were found to be unlicensed dealers Report can be “very useful to the Virginia State Police, local LE, DMV, MVDB and other State Agencies for investigating curbstoning, vehicle crime and fraud, unlicensed contractors, fencing merchandise, prostitution, etc.”

25 Future Development Image Analysis – Stolen / Altered / Geo-tag ( see Blog on website) Tipline / Complaints DB Integration / Voice Agents Auto Flagging Ads for Removal

26 Next Steps Free quote specific to your needs
Free sample data for your review LTAS Technologies 26

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