Let’s distinguish between the many different types of InVue keys and the specific types of products they open: For each key type, hyperlinks will take you to an image of the relevant product.
- The OneKEY detacher is used mainly by big box retailers, and is designed to be affixed to the countertop at the register. It decouples all OneKey Package Protection Products such as Package Wraps, Safers, Cable Locks, Padlocks and Bottle Caps. These products are impervious to magnets, which is why InVue claim they have a higher level of security.
- The IR3 Key (previously the IR2 Key), which is similar to the OneKEY detacher (in that it opens the same range of security products), is the portable solution to the OneKEY ecosystem. It’s a programmable key that opens all the products mentioned above, plus phone and tablet docking stands, tethered display docks, as well as display cabinets and secured fixtures. The key can be programmed to work at specific locations, and can be deactivated by the store if the key goes ‘missing’.
- OM Key: An innovative key that has a unique orthogonal magnet shape which provides a perpendicular force not achievable by regular magnetic detachers. This item was covered in detail in this previous post.
- CT Key: A unique secure code is programmed into this electronic key which prevents it from being used at other locations.
An important point here is that the IR3 and IR2 Keys are synced with, and can only be reactivated on, the programming station that was used to activate the key initially. This means if you manage to get your hands on one of these keys, and try to insert it into another store’s programming station to refresh it, it will not be activated. They are also deauthorised after charging. The only way to get either of these keys working is to ensure they are brand new and never activated. You’ll then be able to sync it once with any programming station.
Who exactly are InVue, and why are some of their previous products, like the S3 HandKey, associated with different brand names? Well, they did indeed patent the S3 range of products, but in 2007 Alpha Consumer Products, as they were previously known, sold the S3 product line to Checkpoint Systems. They then reformed their company as InVue.to focus on handheld electronic merchandise.
This article was updated on 28 October, and further refinements are still being made.
TAGREMOVERS.COM EXCLUSIVE: Wal-Mart is currently in a heavy cost-cutting exercise aimed at reducing its Asset Protection workforce, and replacing them with ‘asset protection customer specialists’, which in basic terms translates to ‘glorified door greeters’. The news comes soon after a Wal-Mart loss prevention officer was shot and killed pursuing a suspected shoplifter.
Sources working at Wal-Mart have informed us that team numbers for APAs (Asset Protection Associates) have been cut by at least two to three staff per store, in some cases leaving only one fully trained APA remaining. Some stores have also reported losing their APM (Asset Protection Manager). Naturally this is causing issues for proper monitoring of PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) equipped stores which require more than one APA to maintain constant visual contact. Constant visual contact is a policy that LP professionals must follow in order to make an apprehension.
The restructuring program commenced under the direction of new Asset Protection senior strategy manager, Joshua Ridgeway, who was promoted by Wal-Mart in March, 2016. Full details of the plan are still under wraps, but indications point to a change in Wal-Mart’s ‘stop’ policy, which they now seem to be moving away from. This will ultimately result in fewer apprehensions.
Wal-Mart’s remaining AP staff have taken to social media to complain of the situation, and some have even taken the drastic step of refusing to make apprehensions under the current scheme. Many others are reporting that shrinkage is now set to skyrocket, and will probably force the company to rethink its strategy in 12 month’s time. The discussion thread is very enlightening, and it’s likely that it will be hidden or removed once LP find out the story has broken, so here is a copy for safe keeping:
Here’s a link to the discussion on Facebook.
More to come. Subscribe for updates.
Our first vendor review for the year sets our scope on tagdetacher.com. It seems the industry has gone full circle, and we now have new sellers popping up using the legendary Vini technique.
To set up a dodgy operation and attempt to legitimise it by writing ‘reviews’ about yourself from ‘happy customers’.
Since this type of industry (security tag removal equipment) continues to lack vendor reviews due to the nature of the items being sold (and the fact that eBay and Amazon continue to remove these types of listings), we’ll do some of the dirty work.
The only way to review a site fairly is to become one of their customers, so we went incognito and placed an order with a US shipping address. We did this because their terms and conditions page implies, without clarifying, that items ship from the United States. However, much to our disappointment, we later discovered the seller is yet another Chinese drop shipper.
Tagdetacher.com is owned and operated by Shenzhen Tong’an Electronic Co., Ltd.
This is the system generated email we received after we placed a purchase on December 15, 2015:
We waited a few days for the tracking information but, somewhat as expected, it never came. This is where the alarm bells started ringing. Naturally, we wanted to get in touch with the seller for an update, so we went looking for their contact information:
- Phone number; none
- Address; none
- Contact page; generic, without any actual contact details, except for a ‘world map’ with an unaddressed pin dropped on Manhattan
But we did find an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and sent a message to it offering them an opportunity to respond. But after not receiving a reply from them in three days, we started a PayPal dispute. Then suddenly, as if by some sort of scam magic, we got a response form them instantaneously.
why you dispute? pls give me convince and this kind of item is very typical. we can provide you very high grade sevice. You do no know how deep I want your business hot, bucause, only if that you can give me a big order.
We sincerely want to support your business ,pls do not dispute. I not send item to you until you take dispute.
Thanks and best regards.
Okay. I think what Google Translate is trying to say is that we won’t get our item unless we cancel the dispute. But we’re not cancelling the dispute because that’s our only form of insurance. We told the seller in no uncertain terms that their only option was to ship our item, as promised, and provide a tracking number, as promised.
- One day later we got a China Post reference number.
- Four days later we were able to track the item as it left Shenzhen, China.
This looks like a seller taking orders on their own website and then placing those orders on Aliexpress or Taobao. That is, they’re a middle man posing as a supplier. But that didn’t prepare us for the hideous surprise we got in the post about a month later – the Clothes Security Tag Remover Detacher EAS Hook Key, or simply, a detacher hook. But we ordered the 15,000GS magnet.
The dispute with PayPal was immediately escalated to a claim, but we knew this was going to cause problems because the seller was going to use the tracking information against us. Indeed, the item was marked as received by USPS on January 20, 2016, but there is no clue as towards its contents.
The seller has denied any wrongdoing, but the case now rests with PayPal. We’ll update this post once they have a final decision. Until then, we’ll refer to tagdetacher.com as fraudsters for intentionally sending an item ‘significantly not as described’.
After Zoklet (a post TOTSE bulletin board) closed in the latter half of 2014, many of the Internet’s unwanted were left without a home, and we’ve since noticed a fair few posts around the web asking for forums similar to Bad Ideas. So, rather than updating the Zoklet has gone offline post, we thought users might want a regularly updated list of similar forums as they come and go.
Visit these sites at your own peril:
The following re-spawns have gone offline:
- longlivezoklet.net [offline after owner got doxed]
- avoyel.net [seized by, or was possibly linked to, the FBI]
List last edited January 11, 2016.
The guys over at detacherhook.com were good enough to share some research with us about some clever alternatives for bullet detachers. We’re going to publish this information in our next blog post, but wanted to give a shout out to them by happily recommending their page:
The price includes a sample Supertag, and shipping is from a safe US location. Not sure how long this deal lasts, so get it while you can.
Craze Co is an Australian based seller of shoplifting and graffiti gear and is owned and operated by Alec Leslie Zammitt. His principal place of business is located at 3 Banksia Pl, Greystanes NSW 2145, Australia. According to Google Maps, this address appears to be a common place of residence in the far western suburbs of Sydney.
The website sells China sourced knock-offs under alternative product names in an attempt to differentiate itself from other sellers. The names given to these products, along with their real names, are as follows:
- Rack Master 1000 (commonly known as: optical tag detacher)
- Rack Master 2000 (commonly known as: generic S3 handkey)
- Rack Master 3000 (commonly known as: detacher hook key)
- Rack Master 4000 (commonly known as Mini Pocker Detacher)
- Rack Master 5000 (commonly known as Golf SuperLock Detacher)
Essentially, the seller appears to be operating a drop ship business, selling knock-off goods freely available on websites such as Aliexpress, but at a significant mark-up. This is probably an attempt to avoid prosecution by Australian based authorities, as can be seen by some recent publicity.
Our verdict: If you’re going to buy knock-offs and risk having them imported to your country, save your money and buy them from China yourself. However, since our launch three years ago, we have always maintained that the safest way to buy security tag removal devices is from a local seller who ships from the same locality. This reduces the chances of your items being seized by customs and border protection, and keeps your personal information safe.
For any of our readers that also lurk in the realms of Zoklet – the rumours are true – the website will be shutting down in a matter of days. We can’t release the exact details of why this is happening, other than to say that it involves the leaking of personal information of one or more of its high level users.
This essentially means that the entire Zoklet forum will be pulled down to prevent certain persons from being linked to criminal activities. It also means that federal agents now have access to real life identities, and they may use that information to advance their investigations into Internet crime, of which Zoklet could be accused of perpetrating.
As a result there are several groups of users attempting to migrate to new forums:
- intosanctuary.com [created May 08, 2014]
- longlivezoklet.net [
created Sep. 08, 2014offline after owner doxed April 16, 2015]
- avoyel.net [
created Aug. 13, 2014seized by, or was possibly linked to, the FBI]
- www.niggasin.space [created Mar. 31, 2015]
List last updated January 08, 2016.
See the comments below. If there are any further developments we’ll post them.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a statement warning Internet users of their liabilities when purchasing certain goods from overseas suppliers. More often, we are hearing of items (potentially used for shoplifting) being seized, such as the detacher hook or magnetic pocket detachers.
On its website, U.S. Customs and Border Protection states;
“When goods move from any foreign country to the United States, they are being IMPORTED. There are specific rules and regulations that govern the act of importing – and they can be extremely complex and confusing – and costly.”
Using very clear and an increasingly authoritarian tone, they go on to state;
“When you buy goods from foreign sources, you become the importer. And it is the importer – in this case, YOU – who is responsible for assuring that the goods comply with a variety of both state and federal government import regulations.”
Two of the most important points that our readers should be concerned about are:
- Can the goods be legally imported?
- Can you trust the seller to provide accurate information about the item being shipped in the Customs section of the shipping documents?
So, if you’re not a shopkeeper, and you shouldn’t be in possession of these items, then you certainly should not be importing them. We advised our readers in a post on August 12, 2012, to avoid the issue altogether by purchasing from reputable USA based sellers. By doing so you avoid any permit issues and will not have your shipment scrutinised by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent who has the power to seize your goods and notify any relevant authority.
In the security tag removal industry there are a lot of fly-by-night scams, so we tend not to review new vendors the moment they appear, because they are often shut down soon afterwards (the last being shopliftinggear.com). However, recently, we’ve discovered one that has been registered for over a year. It’s origins are a little mysterious, so we’ve enjoyed uncovering the who and what during this investigation.
The website known as detachershop.com is operated by a Chinese distributor, posing as a US based seller. They have also operated other websites (e.g. tag-remover.com) which have disappeared after bad reviews and warnings of intent to scam. On their current homepage there is a heading indicating they ship the few items they sell from Philadelphia, but we discovered that all of the items actually ship from China. If you fail to notice this message on their checkout page, you’ll be waiting a couple of months for your item, if you’re lucky enough to get it at all.
The name of this Chinese distributor is Jimmy Yang of Shenzhen Unitoptek Electronics Co Ltd, better known as Unitoptek. He, or they, operate an account on what we consider to be a high risk website, Aliexpress. Like other sellers on Aliexpress, Unitoptek pose as manufacturers but are merely intermediaries (middle men) passing on their mark-up. Furthermore, the goods they sell are not OEM, but generic in design, and statements about the strength of their magnetic detachers should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The domain name detachershop.com was registered July 10, 2012. The store contains four items for sale, but it’s unclear how one is supposed to pay for them. We attempted to make a purchase, noting that the website displayed Google Checkout (now defunct for tangible goods) and PayPal. It’s possible their PayPal account has been terminated (or ‘permanently limited’ if we’re to use correct terminology), or they may have decided to stop taking payments. Unfortunately, we can’t pinpoint from what time this may have occurred.
We recommended that people use caution when visiting the detachershop.com website. Most of its content is plagiarised, including all of its images and much of the product descriptions. Also, the telephone number listed diverts to a Google Voice voicemail, and we were unable to reach a human being on all of our attempts. Worst of all, the buyer runs the risk of authorities or customs either seizing or tracing the items to addresses located in the USA. We’ve discussed this issue before and hence always recommend that buyers stick to using local, reputable sellers, thereby avoiding customs and the hassle of returning faulty or fake goods to another country.