Major U.S. Retailers Call on Congress to Take Action Against Online Sales of Stolen and Counterfeit Products

A closed Michael Kors store on Market Street in San Francisco, California on Monday, December 6, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

CEOs of major U.S. retailers, including Target, Home Depot, Kroger, CVS Health, Autozone and Best Buy, on Thursday urged Congress to take action to tackle the online sale of stolen, counterfeit and dangerous consumer products.

The group called on Congress to crack down on anonymous online sales, citing the growing impact of organized retail crime.

“Retail businesses of all kinds have seen a significant increase in organized crime in communities across the country,” the letter said.

“Criminals take advantage of the anonymity of the Internet and the failure of some marketplaces to verify their sellers. This trend has made retail businesses a target for the increase in theft.

The White House said on Friday it had been in contact with federal law enforcement officials over a series of “smash and grab” flash mob thefts from US retail stores.

A wave of “smash-and-grab” crime has plagued high-end stores in major US cities, with throngs of thieves fleeing with expensive goods in brazen raids. The cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles have witnessed several high-profile thefts.

The letter, which was also signed by CEOs of Neiman Marcus, Levi Strauss, Rite Aid, Walgreens Boots Alliance, calls on Congress to pass legislation to make it “easier for consumers to identify exactly who they are. buy and make it more difficult. for criminal elements to hide behind fake screen names and fake business information. “

The bill introduced in 2020 would require verification of third-party sellers in online retail markets. It would also commission online platforms that allow third-party sellers of consumer products to “authenticate the identity of high-volume third-party sellers” to “prevent organized retail crime.”

Online marketplaces should verify high volume third party sellers by obtaining government ID, tax ID, bank account information, and seller contact details.

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David A. Albanese