When Christmas Brings Retailers Many Unhappy Returns

The holiday gift-giving season is prime time for retail-return fraud
Shoppers pass clothing stores and outlets inside the Westfield Stratford City shopping mall in London on Dec. 27, 2012 Photograph by Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Now that the holiday shopping frenzy is over, merchants are bracing for a less-welcome wave of business: merchandise returns and the con games that go along with them. According to a National Retail Federation survey, return fraud cost merchants an estimated $8.9 billion in 2012, with nearly 30 percent occurring during the holiday season. Overall, the survey shows that about 4.6 percent of holiday returns are fraudulent.

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