Bill aims to crack down on organized retail crime, online sales of stolen goods

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers are looking at ways to stop illegal online sales of stolen and counterfeit items.

The state attorney general says those sales are directly linked to gangs, drug trafficking and human trafficking, too.

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When you go online to say, eBay or Facebook Marketplace, you assume that what you buy is legal. But it may not be.

The sellers could actually be criminals who stole those items in a violent smash and grab. This bill tries to make those sellers reveal who they are and not sell things anonymously.

“This activity happens and is devastating to the stores, to jobs and consumers,” state Sen. John Albers said.

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Albers authored the Inform Consumers Act to try and cut down on that activity by hitting the criminals where they’re trying to sell their goods: online marketplaces.

The act would do things like require third-party, high-volume sellers to provide accurate information like their name, address, and prevents them from being anonymous.

The act gives consumers some civil recourse if they feel they’ve unintentionally purchased stolen or counterfeit goods.

“This impacted businesses small and large, but ultimately, it impacted consumers, doesn’t matter where you live or where you shop, whether you’re urban, rural or suburban,” Albers said.

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The bill passed the Georgia Senate unanimously and now heads to the Georgia House.

Attorney General Chris Carr says a lot of gang activity, including drug and human trafficking, is funded by smash-and-grab robberies.

“And the economic impact of these stolen goods in rising into the billions and dramatically impacts the ability of companies to create more jobs and investment in our state,” he said.

Carr linked this bill to the one that just passed the House, giving his office more authority to prosecute gang activity across the state.

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