Organized retail crime continues to be a problem across the country. The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), a U.S. trade association for leading retailers, is calling on online marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay and Facebook, to do more to stop criminals from selling stolen products on their platforms.
“Criminals whose day job is to steal massive quantities of merchandise from retail stores” are then selling their product out in the open market for profit, Lisa LaBruno, RILA senior executive vice president of retail operations and innovation, told Fox News. “The favored place to sell their stolen goods is the online marketplaces.”
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Those online marketplaces are not doing enough to stop them, LaBruno told Fox News.
“We can’t arrest and prosecute ourselves out of this problem. The retailers are carrying their weight. They’re doing their level best to address this problem. Law enforcement is doing their best to address this problem. The other key stakeholder in this is the online marketplaces.”
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They need to do more to “proactively identify the folks who are selling stolen goods on their platform and shut them down,” LaBruno, who heads RILA’s asset protection department, told Fox News.
She explained that criminals are able to “hide behind their computer screen name with essential anonymity,” creating a “very low-risk, high-reward crime for them.”
Because more consumers are shopping online than ever before due to the pandemic, online marketplaces need to do even more, LaBruno added.
While new online marketplaces pop up every day, LaBruno told Fox News that the most popular include Amazon, eBay and Facebook.
In a statement to Fox News, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Amazon is always innovating to improve and protect our customer experience. We have selling policies that all sellers agree to before selling on Amazon, and we take action against those that violate them and threaten our customer experience. Policy violations can result in cancellation of listings, removal of selling privileges, withholding of funds, and legal action, depending on its severity.”
Similarly, a Facebook spokesperson told Fox News, “We don’t allow people to sell stolen goods, we require sellers to adhere to local laws, and we make certain to respond to requests from law enforcement about stolen goods on our platform.”
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To curtail illegal trade, eBay uses a combination of efforts, more detail of which can be found in its 2020 Global Transparency Report.
LaBruno told Fox News that until “online marketplaces do more to essentially shut down these career criminals who are using their platforms as a fence to sell their stolen product, we’re not going to make a dent in this problem.”