BOSTON—Before an auditorium of business owners, Detective Steven Blair, both figuratively and literally, laid out some of the scams he thinks Massachusetts retailers will encounter this holiday season.

The two-hour-long seminar was held at the Boston Public Library in Copley yesterday morning and was closed to the public. A pair of police guards stood by each entrance as if protecting the trade secrets told by Blair and his associates.

“Everyone in this room is going to get hit with identity fraud,” warned Blair. A 20-year veteran in solving fraudulent crimes, Blair said he has seen every trick out there. Blair’s collection of souvenirs included fake IDs, forged documents and illegally made passports. He even had a few international drivers licenses — a concept which does not exist but still makes it past lazy patrol officers who give up trying to check its validity.

Blair also revealed card scanners that were small enough to fit, fully disguised, on a keychain. Stacks of fabricated credit cards and gift cards, also sat on Blair’s display table next to boxed software that could create and print blank checks.

“It’s not organized crime,” said Blair, “most of the time it’s just some bored kid with a laptop.” Though conspiracies about foreign counterfeits and large-scale heists were revealed as true later in the seminar, Blair said that his biggest adversaries are tech-savvy young adults.

“It may be the time for community values to increase,” said Jumaada Smith, a first-time attendee and small business owner of an unnamed store in Dudley Square. Smith said she also represented a handful of other small businesses in the Dudley Square area and was shocked by Blair’s testimony that even “mom and pop” stores were vulnerable to holiday fraud.

“It’s just always good to be aware [of fraud], that’s the whole key,” said Smith, “not necessarily suspicious, but aware.” Her first task, upon returning to her friends in Dudley, will be to share the day’s information and reinforce proper conduct among her employees, she said. Although Blair warned to be on the lookout for thousand-dollar purchases, Smith said she plans to take every cent seriously.



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