Stores are tracking your holiday returns

Posted at 10:38 AM, Dec 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-25 18:30:01-05

When you got out of your car this holiday season to shop, you were tracked by surveillance cameras. You expect it in a parking lot to keep us safe.

But did you know your shopping returns are tracked too? Some shoppers feel this tracking puts their identity at risk.

"Now you have to worry about, 'Is my identity going to be stolen because I returned a toy?'" questioned shopper Gina Gillette.

Stores like Toys "R" Us, Best Buy and Home Depot track your returns. Some stores mention it on their receipt, while others do it inside their store. But some don't tell you at all.

"I had the receipt and yet they still wanted me to give this information, like they didn't trust me, that I didn't steal it. Well, here's my credit card that I paid for it with, and here's my receipt," Gillette explained.

Stores are tracking these purchases to cut down on fraud. They use a third-party company called "The Retail Equation."

The retail industry estimates it loses between $9 billion to $16 billion a year from fraud and abuse of returns.

The problem is sometimes you're targeted for fraud, and you did nothing wrong other than return an item with a receipt. You would think that's the responsible thing to do.

It's something to think about before your next impulse buy that you may later regret.

To request a copy of your return report, send an email to and include your name and a phone number where the company can reach you.

The Retail Equation will ask for your return transaction identification number and the last four digits of your ID number when they call you.