CARY, N.C. — When you’re shopping online from a re-seller, how do you know what you’re getting isn’t counterfeit or stolen?
What You Need To Know
Organized retail theft is a big concern for business owners
Thieves use fake credit cards to buy goods or steal from businesses
The General Assembly is considering bills to help businesses stem theft
It’s a question Nicole Denny believes deserves more attention. It’s an issue that she has too much personal experience with.
“I’ve personally seen bags that have been stolen from me go up for sale on the secondary markets on these large, corporate resale sites, and as a small business owner you’re sort of left eating the cost on a lot of this,” Denny said.
In 2021, Denny and her store, J’Adore Boutique in Cary, were the victims of organized retail theft.
“It started off by criminals calling to try to use fraudulent credit cards over the phone or through the website,” Denny said. “We didn’t have the necessary software to filter this type of theft out.”
The impacts of the theft were far reaching.
Credit card companies took back the money from those sales. Her store was also physically broken into.
Now they “lock up all of our high-end merchandise at night and bring it back out in the morning,” Denny said. They also “don’t always put everything out, just sort of deter daytime robbery.”
She’s changed her hours and what days she’s open.
However, Denny and other business owners in North Carolina could get some relief from the N.C. General Assembly.
A bill targeting organized retail theft is working through the House and Senate.
The bill would target the crimes in several areas. It would make it easier for business owners to get their products back. It creates new felonies for the crimes, which would increase penalties for thieves. It also includes more transparency for online third-party re-sellers.
It would also add more penalties for physical break-ins.
Denny is thankful the measure has bipartisan support. She says it’s much needed for her and other businesses around North Carolina.
“Right now, it’s too easy for stolen goods and counterfeits to enter the market place without checks,” Denny said. “You can, at this point, open up an online store really with no identification that’s verified, which is ludicrous.”