Retailers want law to help stop stolen merchandise from being sold online

Nation and World News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Fox 46 investigation is sparking new calls for a law that would help curb organized retail crime.

The Buy Safe America Coalition says it’s sharing a FOX 46 investigation into retail racketeering with North Carolina’s Congressional delegation. The group, which advocates for tougher measures to stop the sale of stolen and counterfeit items, says lawmakers plan to reintroduce a bill this year that would provide more transparency when you shop online.

“The story, Matt, that you ran before, I’m going to send that up to Capitol Hill to show how big this issue is from your reporting and how it affects businesses,” Buy Safe America Coalition spokesperson Michael Hanson told FOX 46 investigative reporter Matt Grant.  

The INFORM Consumers Act, which was introduced last year but did not get a vote, would make online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace verify the identities of high-volume sellers by requiring photo IDs, addresses, phone numbers and bank account information.

The goal is to make sure sellers are legitimate and stop the stolen and counterfeit merchandise from being sold to bargain hunters, who don’t have a clue they’re being products that could be on a police report.

“Providing this kind of transparency online would protect consumers,” said Hanson. “And stop criminals from hiding behind anonymous accounts and selling stolen and counterfeit goods to consumers.”

Home Depot says a federal law is needed.

“I do think a piece of legislation, federal legislation, in the area of organized retail crime,” said Home Depot spokesperson Christina Cornell, “is absolutely necessary to combat this problem.”

Professional organized shoplifting rings cost retailers more than $700,000 for every $1 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation.

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