Social media lets small business get all Sherlock Holmes

Yesterday I wrote how a police force in Canada had moved their cold cases online. Now today, we hear about small businesses turning to social media to track down people ripping them off. Once again of course I have to give the high fives because one of the stories has to do with Canada.

Apparently a group of retailers in Cape Breton have been logging into places like Facebook and YouTube to identify theives that have been picking on member stores. It would seem that it hasn’t been that hard either to track them down. As Steve Plumridge; a manger for a SportChek store, said in an interview by CBC.ca

“There’s been a few instances where we had names but no faces to recognize from, so we quickly use the internet to fill in the gaps,” Steve Plumridge, manager for SportChek at the Mayflower Mall in Sydney, told CBC News Thursday.

Some shoplifters have bragged about their illegal activities on videos posted on YouTube.

“And they’re not shy to put their face right in the middle of the camera when they’re on stuff like Facebook,” he said.

In one video, a young man from Glace Bay is seen bragging about the headphones he just shoplifted

Once a shoplifter has been identified that persons picture and information is shared with all the other member stores of the association.

The other really great story takes us to down under and Australia where a case of dine and dash left one restaraunt owner holding a bill for $340.00 (USD). It happened after a group of people went out for an after dinner smoke before presumably finishing up their dinner party but decided to take off instead.

After talking with his staff Peter Leary found out that the people involved had been asking about a past employee of his restaraunt who when contacted suggested that he check out Facebook.

“We searched a few names and there in front of us his face came up,” Mr. Leary told Reuters, referring to one of the diners.

“He was pictured with his girlfriend who was the only girl in the group. We also knew where he worked, at a nearby restaurant, which was handy. It’d been clear they were in the trade.”

Once Peter contacted the owner of their workplace the offenders showed up to pay the bill plus a nice tip. The tip however didn’t help them from being shown the way to the unemployment line.

Now I like this idea of business owners handling situations like this on their own for a couple of reasons. First off these are all petty and minor crimes which for the most part if they ever make their way into a courtroom usually end up with a slap on the wrist. The business owner is still left holding the bag so to speak.

For store owners as in the first story such co-operation with each other makes them all a little stronger. By sharing this kind of information they are helping to protect each other. To me that is a real example of what social is about.

In the second story it puts people on notice that regardless of how smart and clever you think you are ripping people off is wrong. The thing is that now the people you are screwing with have their own ways to find out who the idiots are and it looks good on them.

Isn’t technology grand :)