NRF warns consumers about purchasing stolen merchandise online

WASHINGTON The National Retail Federation is warning consumers about the potential health risks of health and beauty products being sold on some online auction sites.

According to NRF, organized retail crime rings often steal thousands of dollars of merchandise at a time with the intent of reselling it for profit. They may not keep the stolen merchandise in a temperature-controlled environment so products may easily spoil.

“Criminals often take advantage of honest shoppers by selling stolen merchandise through online auction sites,” stated Joseph LaRocca, NRF vice president of loss prevention. “Many health and beauty products on these sites may have expired or be spoiled, posing real health risks to the buyer.”

In fact, the warning comes on the heels of a bust of an organized retail crime ring in Florida that may have stolen more than $100 million in health and beauty items over a five-year period.

According to the FBI, organized retail crime costs the retail industry roughly $30 billion each year. Top health and beauty products stolen and resold include: Oil of Olay, RoC, CoverGirl cosmetics and Crest Whitestrips.

The NRF is urging beauty shoppers to buy products from legitimate retail companies, either in stores or through the companies’ Web sites.

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