Sunday, June 9, 2013

Current challenges in organized retail crime

By RICH MELLOR, VP, LOSS PREVENTION | Published: JUNE 6, 2013 - National Retail Federation - Retail's Big Blog

The variety of issues that retail loss prevention professionals face range from shoplifting to return fraud, but no issue has grown as significantly in the past few years as organized retail crime. This is shown in the results of NRF’s ninth annual ORC survey, which found for the third consecutive year that 90 percent of retail LP executives said they have been victims of ORC gangs. What’s more disturbing? Another eight in 10 agree that ORC has increased over the same span of time.

In my job I’m fortunate enough to speak first-hand with retailers on a regular basis to discuss what is top of mind in the LP community. From these conversations, I’ve learned there is still a great concern over cargo theft, in-store violence from criminals avoiding apprehension, and “gateway crimes” – crimes that are known to lead to bigger crimes.

This year, a troubling new trend emerged: store merchandise credit/gift card fraud. Essentially, experienced “boosters” return stolen merchandise without a receipt for the sole purpose of receiving store credit for a gift card, and then turn around and sell that merchandise credit for cash to secondary markets. Retailers agree this is a very important crime to keep an eye on. Nearly eight in 10 executives surveyed have experienced this threat at their stores.

According to the survey, understanding the complexity of this issue by both law enforcement and top retail management has increased. That’s a good sign, but industry experts and law enforcement officials estimate that ORC stills cost retailers $30 billion a year. NRF designed the infographic seen here to highlight some of the results from the survey. Just how big is $30 billion? See what we found you could buy for that sum.

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