How Stores Prevent Holiday Fraud

By: James Jackson Email
By: James Jackson Email

The mad rush has begun as shoppers flock to local stores, not only for post-holiday sales, but also to unload some of their least favorite gifts.

The day after Christmas rush tends to include people wanting to return those unwanted gifts or to take advantage of gift cards.

But retailers are on the look out for return fraud, which costs them about $3.5 billion during the holiday. That cost may then be passed on to the consumers buying new items.

"You know you get a lot of fraudulent gift cards out there. It's more so due to stolen credit cards you get a lot of stolen credit cards used to purchase gift cards," says Home Depot store manager Roger Frost.

Big-name retail stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot in Harrisonburg have databases that keep track of how many times a person makes a return.

"I think we have pretty good systems in place to try and eliminate that. Most retailers we operate off the same systems and so we have the ability to track customer returns and things of that nature," adds Frost.

But local stores say they haven't had any major problems and when it comes down to it, crime doesn't pay in the end.

"You know, it's not really worth it. Typically, it seems that when thefts happen, it's not for super high dollar amounts and it's definitely not worth having a mark on your record or doing jail time for it," says Frost.

Consumer Reports has some tips for shoppers who do plan to make returns:

- Make sure you save all of your receipts.
- Don't remove tags from items until you are sure you want to keep them. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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