First it was shoplifting, then ticket-switching. Now it's bar code fraud. Just how difficult is it to fake up a UPC label that reports a lower price? Not that hard, it turns out -- but getting away with it is another story. CNET's Jonas Tichenor reports.
First it was shoplifting, then it was ticket-switching, and now it's bar code fraud. Just how easy is it to make a fraudulent UPC? Easier than you think. But getting away with the crime is a different story.
Verizon Wireless, the company created by combining the wireless units of Bell Atlantic and Vodafone AirTouch, has signed an agreement to use technology from BarPoint.com, a wireless comparison shopping company. The deal will allow, by June, Verizon's 23 million subscribers to access product price information by inputting Universal Product Code (UPC) numbers, the numeric digits on a bar code, into a mobile phone. The service is intended to allow people to check comparable e-commerce prices prior to making a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. InfoSpace offers a similar service.
International Paper and Motorola announced a joint project to implant microchips in boxes to create "smart packages" that would allow manufacturers, distributors and retailers to more easily track products through the supply chain. The companies said the system would enhance inventory control and security and help to slash billions of dollars in losses annually from theft and counterfeiting. Motorola's "smart tags" emit radio signals that will allow companies and stores to monitor packaged products continuously, rather than the manual updates required by current UPC systems.