So when I started returns, I wanted to help solve a problem that has plagued retail businesses from the beginning of time, Fraudulent Product Returns. First, you must ask yourself how to identify a fraudulent product return from a legitimate return.
After doing a few years of research on product returns, I’ve concluded that there are several different types of product returners.
You have your one-off fraud returner, then you have your return abuser, and then your Organized retail crime (ORC) ring the most danger to your business bottom line.
What Are The different types of Return Fraud?
What is Returning Stolen Merchandise in Return Fraud?
- Stealing merchandise from the retail industry to return the product later for profit.
What is In-Store Stolen Merchandise Return Ftaud?
- Having a sales receipt other than purchasing the merchandise, then entering a store and stealing the product on the receipt, and making a return before leaving. (A form of Receipt Return Fraud )
Receipt Return Fraud
- Obtaining a sales receipt other than purchasing the merchandise and using it to make a product return.
Employee Return Fraud
- This is when an employee of a retail store intentionally assistance in the process of a fraudulent product return for profit.
Product Switch fraud
- Purchasing a new item with the intent of returning an old or damaged item in its place for a full refund.
- Similar to product switch fraud, this is where the buyer purchases items from an auction, then go out and purchase new items with the intent of returning the damaged items for a full refund.
Price Tag Switching
- Switching the price tag from a higher price to a lower priced item allows the buyer to purchase the product at a lower cost and return later for a higher price.
- Purchasing an electronic item to remove the valuable components, then return it for a full refund. In some cases, a person may replace the valuable components with less expensive parts and then return the electronic item for a full refund. “Bricking” basically means a device has turned into a brick, and it’s as useful as a brick.
- A Buyer will purchase an item only to open the package and then return for a full refund with the intent to later re-purchase that product at a lower cost under the store’s “open-box” policies.
- Purchasing merchandise at a retail store and returning or exchanging that item at another retail store for profit.
Wardrobing or Product Renting
- Purchasing merchandise for short-term use then returning for a refund.
NOTE- Making a fraudulent product return during the post-holiday season seems to be the easiest time for criminals to take advantage of a store’s return policy than any other time of the year.