Retailers facing unprecedented wave of fraudulent holiday returns

Retailers across the United States have been receiving post-holiday lumps of coal — finding counterfeits, fake receipts, or badly damaged goods sent back by customers expecting full refunds on top-of-the-line merchandise. 

In some cases, returns on televisions revealed boxes filled with bricks or stolen merchandise inside. 

The National Retail Federation estimated more than $101 billion in merchandise was returned fraudulently in the U.S. in 2023. That’s about 14% of the overall returned goods retailers received last year and more than twice the level in 2020, the NRF said in a recent report. For every $100 in returned merchandise, retailers will lose $13.70 in return fraud. 

“Retailers continue to test and implement new ways to minimize losses from returns, particularly those that are fraudulent, while at the same time optimizing the shopping experience for their customers,” NRF
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