Retail Giants Like T.J. Maxx Report Multiple Theft Cases From Organized Crime Rings

By Thea Felicity

Mar 12, 2024 11:59 AM EDT

LA CANADA, CA - AUGUST 05: Customers shop at a TJ Maxx store on August 5, 2008 in La Canada, California. The Justice Department has charged 11 people with stealing more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers of customers shopping at TJX Companies, which owns the Marshall's and TJ Maxx chains, and other major retailers by hacking into their computers. The information was then allegedly sold to people who used it to steal tens of thousands of dollars at a time from accounts through automated teller machines in the US and Europe. It is one of the biggest identity-theft cases on record. Charges against the suspects, who are from the US, China, Ukraine, Belarus, and Estonia, include computer fraud, wire fraud, access-device fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy. The suspects also accused of hacking into the computers of Barnes & Noble, Forever 21, Sports Authority, OfficeMax, Boston Market, DSW Inc., and BJ's Wholesale Club to steal information.
(Photo : Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Retail giants like Ulta, T.J. Maxx, and Walgreens are facing a big problem with organized crime groups stealing from them. 

However, CNBC spent eight months looking into these groups and found out some surprising things.

These crime rings aren't just about stealing a few things here and there. They're highly organized and have been making big money for years. 

For example, an interview with a businesswoman revealed that she is now living in a fancy neighborhood in San Diego, building her own company from stolen cosmetics. Now, she, then sells stolen items on Amazon, making millions. 

But she noted that she didn't steal them herself but had a network of women doing it for her. They hit stores across the country, cleaning out entire shelves and stuffing stolen goods into fancy bags.

After getting caught, it was later revealed just how widespread these organized theft groups are. They're not just small-time thieves; some are as sophisticated as big corporations, with fleets of trucks and cleaning crews making stolen goods look brand new.

However, it's uncertain if these cases are related to VCPost's report on a surge in retail theft during special occasions, like Valentine's.

READ NEXT: Ex-Google Software Engineer Charged With Stealing AI Trade Secrets for China-Based Companies

Why Retail Giants Have To Counter Theft

In response, retail stores will employ strategies to counterattack retail theft, as it doesn't just hurt profits but also makes shopping less safe and enjoyable for everyone. 

Companies are beefing up security and pushing for stricter laws to stop these criminals.

Law enforcement will also help crack down on these groups, but it's not easy due to the presence of bigger operations, such as the case of the businesswoman previously mentioned, which span multiple states and involve millions of dollars.

Now, there are efforts to curb this problem, but there is a call to make new laws requiring online platforms to verify sellers; it's clear that organized retail crime is a complex issue that won't be solved overnight. 

Retailers, law enforcement, and consumers all need to work together to tackle it.

READ MORE: Shein's Annual Revenue Is More Than $30 Billion, Key Retail Partner Says

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