US Retail Chains Push Congress to Address Resale of Stolen Items

Retail Security

Officials from major U.S. retailers, including Home Depot, Best Buy and Target, called on Congress to intervene to thwart the online resale of stolen, fake and dangerous merchandise, according to a Thursday (Dec. 9) Reuters report.

Referencing the increased instances of organized retail theft, retailers urged Congress in a letter to eliminate anonymous online sales.

Large-scale shoplifting theft rings are responsible for approximately $45 billion in yearly losses for retailers – a 50% surge from a decade ago, as PYMNTS reported.

Major chain retailers, including CVS and Home Depot, have seen significant boosts in organized retail theft. In response, stores have beefed up their shoplifting prevention teams.

As more criminals peddle stolen goods online, retailers have pushed Congress to adopt legislation that would require eCommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay to verify details for its sellers and share some information publicly. Amazon and eBay oppose such proposed legislation and have called it an invasion of sellers’ privacy.

Related news: Retailers Fight Theft Rings That Steal and Resell Goods Online

Last week, the White House said it had been in touch with federal law enforcement officials regarding various flash mob-style robberies in U.S. retail stores, according to Reuters. Dubbed “smash and grabs” organized retail theft rings account for the largest cause of stolen goods. To thwart such attacks, Best Buy has bolstered its security, developed anti-theft solutions and employed QR codes to unlock high-theft items, as PYMNTS reported.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated that the average retailer loses $700,000 to theft for every $1 billion in sales. In 2020, three-quarters of retailers saw their organized retail crime increase, while roughly 60% of NRF members said thefts had gotten worse in 2021.

The NRF also noted that organized retail crime was increasing prior to 2020. However, given the move to digital shopping amid the pandemic, the instances of such thefts – and online reselling – have grown exponentially.

See also: ‘Smash and Grab’ Theft Trend Scares Shoppers and Workers, Threatens Mall Traffic