On December 23, the U.S. Congress passed the federal budget bill, which contained the bi-partisan backed INFORM Act – Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces. WR applauds the supporters of this landmark bill.
This is one of the association’s top strategies in fighting retail theft, organized retail crime, and protecting public safety. Retail thieves often “fence” or monetize or sell their stolen and counterfeit goods in the darkness of the web on legitimate and unsuspecting third-party platforms. The INFORM Act will require these high-volume websites to provide information to help consumers know that the items they buy are not stolen or counterfeit. It will also assist law enforcement in investigating suspected criminal elements using these websites to sell stolen and fake goods.
Washington Retail, along with many of our state and federal partners, have worked tirelessly and diligently to pass a national standard that is a crucial strategy in the fight against retail theft and organized retail crime while at the same time making our communities safer.
The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general will enforce the INFORM Act. WR believes this new law will disincentivize the theft of goods in the first place however, more action is needed on this growing problem. The INFORM Act is one piece of the puzzle. Other key elements include:
- Communicating the impacts this growing issue has on our communities, retailers, and their employees.
- Providing resources to retailers, such as the WR Guide to Navigating Public Safety and Retail Crime which can be downloaded free of charge from our resources page.
- Supporting the efforts of the Washington Organized Retail Crime Association.
- Supporting the Attorney General-led ORC Task Force to increase communication among national, state, and local law enforcement, prosecutors, and retail loss prevention and asset protection officers.
Public safety, retail theft, and fighting organized retail crime will be the primary focus of WR as we begin the 2023 State Legislative Session. We are encouraged Congress chose to take swift action and set the example of addressing this massive problem facing our country.