In the scam, shoplifters leave the store with items and later try to return them without a receipt. In the absence of a receipt, stores typically only provide store credit on a gift card for the returned merchandise.
The thieves then sell the gift cards for cash, often to pawn shops, for a percentage of the value.
Police say that while shoplifting complaints have decreased over the past year, the number of fraudulent returns has increased.
Police suggested these tips for retailers:
- Educate employees about this issue.
- Request ID when making a return.
- Limit number of no-receipt returns within a calendar year.
- Evaluate and change return policies as needed to prevent these incidents.
- Utilize special markings or removable labels on merchandise to indicate when something was purchased or was removed directly from the shelf.