The INFORM Consumers Act, a law that will insert transparency and accountability into online marketplace transactions, takes effect in June 2023. Planning for implementation and ensuring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and State Attorneys General are prepared to enforce the law immediately is now a top priority for retailers.
To aid in the fight against ORC, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is supporting legislation to enact a federal ORC task force that brings federal law enforcement, including the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and United States Postal Service, together to help disrupt and prosecute criminal rings targeting retail stores. RILA anticipates legislation to this effect to be reintroduced in both the Senate and House early in 2023.
“Seeing the INFORM Act become law was a tremendous accomplishment, but our work battling organized retail crime is far from over,” said Michael Hanson, RILA senior executive vice president of public affairs. “Establishing a federal task force that pulls together all of the respective agencies that have jurisdiction over organized retail crime is necessary to enhance collaboration and transparency in the fight against sophisticated crime rings. Many of these criminal syndicates are using the profits derived from the sale of stolen goods to fund additional violent criminal activity in our communities such as human trafficking, gun smuggling, narcotics and terrorism—it makes collaboration between agencies more important than ever.”
RILA will also continue to partner with state attorneys general and local district attorneys to set up state ORC task forces and educate law enforcement on how to identify and prosecute criminal actors.
“We strongly believe that marrying the transparency of INFORM with a more coordinated effort at the state/local level to investigate and prosecute organized theft rings is vital to addressing this problem in communities across the country,” said Lisa LaBruno, RILA senior executive vice president of retail operations.
Organized retail crime costs retailers approximately $70 billion annually. The problem is multi-faceted and requires all stakeholders to do their part to deter increasingly dangerous and violent crimes against retailers and their employees.
“Organized theft is obviously a huge hit to the bottom line for any retailer, but equally if not more discerning is the impact brazen and violent theft is having on retail employees,” LaBruno said. “But the days of hiding behind fake screen names to fence stolen product online is coming to an end—with better transparency, more resources, and better collaboration across law enforcement, these criminal networks had better get the message: We’re coming for them.”