NRF’s ninth annual Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Survey found that 93.5 percent of retailers say they have been a victim of organized retail crime in the past year, down slightly from 96.0 percent in 2012.
For the past three years, more than 90 percent of the retailers surveyed have admitted to being victims of ORC. Equally disturbing: eight in 10 (81.3%) believe that ORC activity in general in the United States has increased over the past three years.
“We are extremely concerned by the organized patterns that are taking place in the retail industry right now as these crime gangs continue to find ways to maneuver the system,” said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Rich Mellor.
“Though retailers continue to make great strides in their fight against organized retail crime, savvy, unconscionable criminals are selling stolen merchandise for a profit that doesn’t belong to them. With the types of organized retail crimes changing in severity each year, retailers remain vigilant in their fight against ORC.”
Store merchandise credit/gift card fraud poses new threat to retailers
For the first time, NRF asked the senior loss prevention executives surveyed about their experience with store credit merchandise/gift card fraud, and the results are troubling: when asked specifically if they’ve experienced boosters who return stolen merchandise without a receipt for the sole purpose of receiving store credit via a gift card, who then turn around and sell that merchandise credit for cash to secondary markets that include kiosks, pawn shops and check cashing stores, 77.8 percent said they have experienced this.
“This is an important crime to keep an eye on, as this could easily turn from being an organized tactic to one that amateurs could adopt,” continued Mellor. “In conversations with retailers and law enforcement, we’ve learned that there are already defrauding processes being put in place, but retailers continue to lose millions of dollars to this enterprise scheme.”
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