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Buy Safe America Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Look at the Facts

Urgent Need for Lawmakers to Prevent Criminals from Using E-Commerce Platforms to Sell Dangerous Products

Washington, DC – Today, the Buy Safe America Coalition, a diverse group of retailers, consumer groups, wholesaler-distributors, manufacturers, and law enforcement officials that support efforts to combat organized retail crime and protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods, released the following statement on the sale of counterfeit and stolen merchandise on e-commerce platforms. 
“While lawmakers have likely heard from both sides of the marketplace transparency debate, one fact still remains clear: criminals are using e-commerce platforms as a way to dupe consumers into purchasing knockoffs, dangerous items, and stolen merchandise,” said Buy Safe America Coalition spokesperson Michael Hanson. “This is a real problem impacting retailers and online shoppers nationwide. Now is the time for Washington to act.”
Recent news coverage highlights the urgent need to bolster marketplace transparency on e-commerce platforms:

  • Dallas Morning News: North Texas feds say crime ring traveled U.S. to steal retail goods and sell on Amazon
    • The next time you make a purchase from a third-party seller on Amazon or eBay, you may be buying stolen goods. More than two-dozen people have been charged in federal court in Dallas with being part of a crime ring in which thieves shoplifted goods from stores across the U.S. like Walmart and Best Buy. They then sold the products on online platforms such as Amazon and eBay, according to the indictment.
  • Detroit Free Press: Feds: Thieves stole used urine tubes from Beaumont, sold them on eBay, Amazon
    • In what prosecutors are describing as an inside-job, two former Beaumont employees and a businessman have been charged with stealing medical devices and supplies from a hospital and reselling them on the internet, including tubes that had been previously used in surgeries. Among the stolen goods were thin tubes that are inserted through the urethra to examine the bladder, some of which may have been contaminated as they were stolen from the cleaning and disinfectant room after being used in surgical proceedings, prosecutors allege.
  • Fox Business: Fake coronavirus products on Amazon: What to look for
    • A number of Amazon products in high demand amid the novel coronavirus outbreak are being counterfeited. Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of counterfeit finder and app Fakespot, said his company identifies counterfeit respiratory masks and gloves every day. Fakespot has also identified counterfeit hand sanitizer, COVID-19 information books and test kits, though those are less frequent.
  • Gizmodo: Weapons, Ivory, and Other Items Banned by Etsy Still Widely Available on Marketplace, Investigation Finds
    • The online marketplace Etsy has been flooded with activity since the pandemic’s onset as millions flocked to online shopping to stave off lockdown blues. However, that pandemic-fueled growth is also highlighting Etsy’s struggle to moderate what goes up for sale on its platform. A recent Insider investigation found roughly 800 listings that violate the company’s prohibited items policy, including pet remains, pornographic material, weapons, and a slew of mass-produced products being passed off as handmade items.
  • NBC News: Amazon driver part of $10 million theft ring, FBI says
    • A Washington state theft ring including a pair of Amazon delivery drivers sold at least $10 million dollars’ worth of stolen goods on Amazon over the course of six years. Two storefront businesses posing as pawnshops bought goods from shoplifters to then ship them to Amazon warehouses, where they were stored until being sold online.
  • Oregon Business Report: Oregon Couple Ran Counterfeit Goods Scheme From US Embassy
    • A U.S. Department of State employee and his spouse were sentenced for their roles in an international conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Gene Leroy Thompson Jr., 54, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. Thompson Jr.’s wife, Guojiao “Becky” Zhang, 40, was sentenced to three years’ supervised release to include 8 months of home detention. Thompson Jr. and Zhang were also ordered to forfeit a combined total of $229,302 and pay $740 in restitution.
  • Sentinel & Enterprise: Police: Leominster video store owner used drug addicts, shoplifters to steal more than $1M
    • The owner of a Leominster video store was arrested after police said he hired “known drug addicts and prolific shoplifters” to steal items for him from various stores, which he then allegedly sold online for profits exceeding $1 million. The arrest of 66-year-old John Duplease — owner of Adopt A Video — follows a yearlong investigation led by the Leominster Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau, which broke up the Lancaster resident’s criminal enterprise, according to a press release issued by the Lancaster Police Department on Thursday.
  • WMAQ: Fake CDC Vaccine ID Cards Being Sold Online In Illinois
    • Scammers are cashing in on fake CDC vaccination identification cards as the demand for proof of vaccination is expected to build. The blank cards are being sold on sites like Craigslist, eBay, and OfferUp, and NBC 5 has found multiple postings in the Chicago area. Chad Anderson, a senior security researcher for Domaintools, a group tracking cyber threats around the world, is one of the first to publish his findings.
“Basic transparency and verification requirements will make it harder for bad actors to deceive consumers, while protecting legitimate businesses in the process. We urge lawmakers to enact common-sense measures that promote safety and accountability,” added Hanson.

Visit for more information about the growing problem of stolen and counterfeit goods and solutions to better protect consumers and businesses.

Discover More About the Coalition

About Coalition

About Coalition

The Buy Safe America Coalition represents a diverse group of responsible retailers, consumer groups, manufacturers, intellectual property advocates, and law enforcement officials who support efforts to protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods.

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The Problem

The Problem

The marketplace today for common, everyday goods is flooded with counterfeit and stolen products. Absent reform, legitimate businesses, and consumers will continue to be harmed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes a counterfeit product? Why aren’t major online marketplaces doing more? Answers to common questions around the issue of organized retail crime.

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