Thefts, still a problem for retailers, are getting more brazen

Pawn shops, for example, are regulated in almost every state, said Richard Rossman, sergeant in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, who is also part of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail.

“If you are going to sell an item to a pawnshop, the seller must guarantee that the property is theirs, that it is not stolen, and the pawnshop documents the item appropriately on a form regulated by state and we can retain the responsible seller and the responsible pawnshop, ”said Sergeant Rossman. “There is currently no mechanism in place that requires the collection of this data from online marketplaces. “

The coalition has garnered support from industry groups and retailers, including drugstore chains Home Depot and Ulta Beauty, on bipartisan legislation known as the INFORM Consumers Act. The bill would require online marketplaces to authenticate the identity of “high volume third-party sellers”, including their bank account information and tax identification, and allow consumers to see basic identification and contact details. these sellers. The rule would apply to sellers who have made 200 or more separate sales in a year for $ 5,000 or more.

Etsy, OfferUp and eBay have said they are backing the legislation after opposing a project that raised privacy and security concerns for sellers, especially people selling small-scale items like a sofa or people having craft businesses at home. Etsy noted that mass-produced items are generally not allowed in its marketplace, even though they are legitimately sold. Meta, which owns Facebook Marketplace, and RealReal, which sells high-end second-hand goods, declined to comment on the legislation.

Meta said Facebook Marketplace users can report items they believe were stolen and law enforcement can contact the company about suspicious items.

Amazon said in a statement that “we regularly ask for invoices, purchase orders or other evidence of supply when we have concerns about how a seller may have obtained particular products they wish to sell.” He added that he employed 10,000 people working to prevent fraud and abuse on his site, and supported the INFORM Consumer Law.

Several markets said they shared product information with LeadsOnline, a database law enforcement can use to find specific items on their sites. Nathan Garnett, general counsel for OfferUp, said the site has methods to proactively identify suspicious items, but it can be difficult to catch violators.

“Whether we catch it or not, that will depend a little on their intelligence, because an account that publishes dozens or hundreds of, say, brand new power tools, we’re going to report that as quite suspicious and action that is enough. quickly, ”Garnett said. “But if you only post one or two things, it could be anyone.”

Contact Michael Corkery at [email protected] and Sapna Maheshwari at [email protected]

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