It ain’t pretty, but retailers will suffer a $3.7 billion loss in return fraud this holiday season.
Return fraud comes wrapped up two different ways, says Joe LaRocca, vice president of loss prevention for the National Retail Federation.
“One is when we find individuals who return products on an habitual and repeat basis,” LaRocca says. “They buy the good with the full intent of using and then returning it back to the store.”
It is called wardrobing or closeting, and a perfect example, LaRocca says, is a holiday dress that a customer will buy, wear one time, then return.
The second type of loss prevention is organized retail crime, known as ORC. This refers to professional thieves who go into stores in groups of five to seven individuals. “They’ll enter the store, use hand signals, lookouts and distraction techniques,” LaRocca says. They steal the merchandise then sell it online, on the street, in pawn shops and at flea markets.
Retail fraud for this entire year will total $10.8 billion.