LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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analysts, as well as the understanding of corporate teams to understand trends in other divisions that could carry over into those divisions that are not currently experiencing the issue," Bandaries said. "Also, analysts will often come up with their own analytics and their own ideas based on their experience, trends, and understanding of history." Analytic tools are improving, which can remove some of the technical work from investigative equations, but savvy and experience are still required to extract maximum value from data input. Gonzalez, who serves in both the role of data analyst and investigator, described some of the skills and strategies that serve teams well. "You need people who are intrinsically skilled to see outliers, who are disciplined, understand statistical theory, and can put it in context alongside all the other data," he said. "And you need to be savvy enough to understand when you have a false lead, and this is where a good feel for the industry and understanding what's going on in the building helps." Looking at data from all sides is also important, as Gonzalez highlighted in a recent LP success story. The data seemed to be all positive, with a sales associate ringing up impressive sales numbers on mobile transaction devices—until it was discovered that a significant number of them were fraudulent and made using stolen credit cards. "It's not something we would have noticed except that we examined nontraditional points of data and were willing to consider what is driving the data even as it's being celebrated," said Gonzalez. "You have to look for fraud on both ends of the spectrum and look for outliers on both the negative and positive side. When you have too much of anything you need to question it." The interplay between investigators and data analysts often continues all the way to the interview room door, said Bandaries. "There is a bunch of back and forth throughout the process. I know of times when investigators would step out of room as they are ready to go into an investigation and will make one last call to the analysts, to make sure they are on point with their investigation and that they have a thorough understanding of the loss avenue—and analysts support them in that." Data analysts also fill the role of educator for new investigators, helping them to understand how actions and illicit behavior are observable in the data. As it suggests, the partnership between AP investigative teams and data analysts is more important ANALYTICS IS NOT JUST A NUMBER'S GAME ? DID YOU DIG DEEP ENOUGH 19 LP MAGAZINE | JULY–AUGUST 2019

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