Return Fraud

By: Lindsey Ward
By: Lindsey Ward

December 26, 2006

“We're very much aware of what goes on. We welcome everybody to be in our stores, but if you're going to be doing something wrong, you shouldn't do it in Belk,” said store manager, Jack Dickerson.

The National Retail Federation estimates return fraud to cost the retail industry $3.5 billion this holiday season.

This criminal activity can affects on consumers making it harder for them to return items. Many stores no longer give full refunds, but only allow exchanges.

“We don't do it as a return, we look at it as an exchange, but we caution our associates heavily during this time of the year to look out for fraudulent merchandise return. Merchandise that perhaps was bought at another store someone could have put a Belk tag on it,” said Dickerson.

We're told switching tags is the most common form of fraud at the Charlottesville area Belk, but at most other stores the return stole merchandise is most popular. Followed by returns purchased with counterfeit tender and returns using counterfeit receipts.

“You do see a spike during this time of year although there are folks that do it year round,” Dickerson said.

Many stores are trying to minimize the spike in shoplifting during the holidays by putting secret shoppers out on the floor. They are keeping a close eye out for anyone who might try to shoplift.

“Our loss prevention associates you would now know who they are, they're just like normal customers mingling through out the store,” added Dickerson.

Many stores are also keeping track of how many times a person returns items.


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