Retail researchers said Christmas criminals will cost the industry $3.8 billion in return fraud this holiday season in the US.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported the amount of money lost is up from last year's $3.4 billion.
Overall, the retailers polled by the NRF said 5.5 percent of holiday returns are fraudulent.
“Return fraud has become an unfortunate trend in retail thanks to thieves taking advantage of retailers' return policies to benefit from the cash or store credit they don't deserve. Additionally, many of these return fraud instances are a direct result of larger, more experienced crime rings that continue to pose serious threats to retailers' operations and their bottom lines,” said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca.
According to the NRF survey, 92.7 percent of retailers said they have experienced the return of stolen merchandise in the last year, 78.2 percent of which were coordinated by organized retail crime groups.