“Online shopping has been a lifeline for many families throughout the last year, but its surge has also exposed the frequency of counterfeit and stolen goods sold online,” said RILA Senior Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Michael Hanson. “Online marketplaces make it easy for small and medium sized businesses to connect with customers all over the world, but they have also become a hotbed for unscrupulous actors both at home and abroad to peddle fake, dangerous and stolen products that would never be allowed on a store shelf or retail website.”
A report released last year by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) underscored the growing problem of counterfeit goods sold on marketplace platforms, highlighting the need for Congress and regulators to do more to hold sellers and the platforms accountable when fake or illicit products are sold to consumers.
“The anonymity and unregulated environment in which these platforms operate have allowed this problem to grow unchecked for too long,” said Hanson. “In addition to expired, defective, and unsafe products, marketplace platforms have become an easy fence for criminal networks. Retailers have seen a dramatic increase in organized retail crime (ORC) in recent years, with career criminals targeting stores with alarming frequency, and in many cases, escalating levels of violence. This is because perpetrators, often organized and coordinated to target multiple retailers, are increasingly turning to online marketplaces to move large quantities of stolen merchandise.”
Tackling both counterfeit and stolen goods is a top priority for leading retailers. And both issues require policymakers to focus on unregulated third-party marketplaces that allow domestic and foreign sellers to target unsuspecting American consumers with illicit goods.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” said Hanson. “Verifying basic business information of high-frequency sellers on these platforms will make it harder for bad actors to operate behind fake screennames and bogus accounts, and make it harder to peddle counterfeit and stolen goods to unsuspecting consumers,” said Hanson. “Leading retailers look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to crack down on the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods, and to work with law enforcement to better protect our employees and customers from organized retail crime.”
RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.
RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
Ensuring a Safe, Sustainable Future
Keeping Communities Safe
Organized Retail Crime
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