Major retailer warns of shopping scams during holiday season

Christmas is just days away and there’s no shortage of people looking for a good deal on gifts. But one major retailer is warning shoppers, if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

In fact, according to The Home Depot, that "deal" may be more of a "steal" if it’s the result of what’s called organized retail crime (ORC)  – when people steal products and then quickly resell them, oftentimes online.

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"Organized retail crime has been growing for many years, and one of the reasons we think that we’re seeing an increase is because of the ease of these online marketplaces," The Home Depot’s Christina Cornell explained Tuesday, specifically mentioning sites like Letgo, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace. "It’s so easy for someone to upload something and sell it quickly and a lot of times anonymously."

In 2020, ORC cost retailers an average of $719, 548 per $1 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation. But there are some red flags Cornell said consumers can watch out for, including:

· The product is described as "brand new," "new in box," or "new with tags."

· There is a large discrepancy between the listed price for the new item and the typical retail price.

· There are signs of box tampering or the removal of security devices.

· Large quantities of the same items are available at the same time.

· And also language indicating the seller can "get other products upon request."

"No one of these is a telltale sign that it’s for sure stolen, but they’re all red flags, and in combination with one another," Cornell added, "I definitely would start asking questions."