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Recognizing Return Fraud

Signs of Fraudulent Activity in Retail


Does your return policy allow stolen merchandise to be returned for cash? We certainly hope not! However, the National Retail Federation's Return Fraud Survey says criminals often take advantage of retailers with relaxed return policies.

The survey reports that an astonishing 95.2% of retailers have experienced this most popular form of return fraud in the past year. While many retailers are tightening policies, some at the expense of customer service, the retail industry will still lose $9.6 billion in return fraud.

Common Types of Return Fraud

The first step to avoid becoming a victim is to be able to recognize the scam. Some of the more common types of return fraud are:

  • The return of stolen merchandise
  • The return of merchandise purchased with fraudulent or counterfeit tender
  • The return of used merchandise
  • The return of merchandise using counterfeit receipts

Signs of Return Fraud

Spotting the above types of return fraud may be difficult for some retailers. Other signs the retail store is being adversely affected by returns are:

  • High shrink rate
  • Dramatic increase in number of returns
  • Return policy not being enforced
  • Increasing number of markdowns due to returns

Read on to learn how to create a fair, but firm return policy.

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