Theft & Fraud May Be High This Holiday Season

It could be costing you more to celebrate this holiday season not only because of the economy but because an increase in theft.

An estimated $104 billion is lost in theft and fraudulent activity every year and that total is expected to rise.

And, the loss is being passed onto you through higher prices. Today I spoke with local retailers to find out how they plant to combat theives.

Earlier this year Assistant Manager of Charlotte Russe Tiffany Mendoza says she was more lenient with purchase returns but now she is cracking down.

"With the holidays coming it's like ok, we absolutely need that receipt, you can't return things without a receipt."

Mendoza is also hiring more help to keep an eye on the front of the store where most theft occurs.  "I feel we have fair prices but when it could be actually lower than that they could get more for their money, it's not fair."

Phillip Watkins, the Owner of the Knife Guys says he is keeping prices down by enforcing a no returns policy.

"The lack of returns is minimizing the loss that we have and people coming in and running those scams on us by saying well can I trade this in or do you take trades or I want a return, I want a refund and all that helps us keep our pricing down."

But both retailers are learning through trial and error.

"We have learned over the years how they steal and what they steal and so we have adjusted our displays to accommodate for that, " says Watkins.

Mendoza says, "We try to concentrate and try to instill in the girls, customer service because people are less likely to steal something if we're constantly, hey how are you doing can I help you with this, can I help you with that."

For every dollar you spend, this year, about a penny and a half of that goes to cover the costs of shoplifting. Retailers say they will prosecute all criminal offenders.