I Prayed have prayed
Lord, we pray for truth and justice to reign in avenues of online commerce. May lawlessness be defeated in that realm of our society.
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Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And that means the holiday shopping season is coming into full swing. Whether we’re happy about that or not, we cannot ignore it. We see the advertisements in stores, our mailboxes, and as we sail around the internet.

The commercialization of the Advent season is a subject I’ll leave to other articles right now. But another matter for prayerful attention is the integrity of the marketplaces offering us their wares during the holidays — and the rest of the year.

Earlier this month the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled, “Cleaning Up Online Marketplaces: Protecting Against Stolen, Counterfeit, and Unsafe Goods.” As the title suggests, the impetus for the hearing was the growing problem of fraudulent products being hocked to unsuspecting individuals in online marketplaces like Amazon, e-Bay, and others.

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The top Republican on the panel, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), noted that unscrupulous sellers can easily set up shop on e-commerce marketplaces and, when exposed and taken down, very quickly pop up again elsewhere.

“Counterfeiters and other criminals are exploiting online platforms – threatening consumer safety and businesses’ bottom lines,” he said.

The stolen and fake goods these criminals are selling are damaging to both businesses and consumers. Certainly theft hurts bottom lines (and those costs that will ultimately affect consumers). But illicit products, which aren’t necessarily up to the true manufacturer’s standards, can also harms otherwise reputable brands or even be a threat to the health of the purchaser.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in the days after the hearing, “Cosmetics. Electronics. Clothes. Over-the-counter drugs. Toys. Baby formula. Third-party sellers are flooding internet marketplaces with stolen or counterfeited versions of these and many other types of consumer goods.”

“Often, these products pose serious health and safety risks to consumers who thought they were buying legitimate goods,” he added.

Unfortunately, this illegal trade is big business. According to one international forum, trade in counterfeit and pirated products is at least a half-trillion dollar industry globally. In the U.S., many of those illegitimate goods come from abroad. In fact, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the value of fakes seized in the U.S. alone was more than $1.3 billion in FY2020 (up from roughly $93 million in 2005). Roughly 80 percent of those seizures came from mainland China or Hong Kong.

But bad actors abroad are not the only problem. Thefts are on the rise in retail stores here in U.S., too. And the evidence appears to show a rise in organized crime rackets that are taking advantage of e-commerce platforms to turn a profit on their stolen merchandise.

At the Senate hearing, Brendan Dugan — a crime prevention official from CVS Health — said his employer has experienced a 300 percent increase in retail thefts since early 2020.

“An organized retail crime-related event is reported in one of our nearly 10,000 CVS Pharmacy stores every three minutes. CVS Pharmacy alone loses more than $200 million each year due to organized retail crime,” Dugan said.

One recent survey from the National Retail Foundation found that these gangs are costing companies more than $700,000 per $1 billion in sales. It also suggested that criminals are becoming more aggressive and violent in their tactics, which of course is a danger to customers, clerks, delivery personnel, and others.

Some legislators want to curb these growing threats by making sure e-commerce platforms have more “skin in the game” of fraud and piracy prevention. Judiciary Chairman Durbin, for example, is working with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and others on the INFORM Consumers Act that would require marketplaces like Amazon to authenticate basic business information of high-volume sellers and to provide a hotline for consumers suspicious of a bad actor.

Durbin and Cassidy are attempting to tack their bill on to a must-pass vehicle. And there are other legislative efforts as well. In all of them, of course, our leaders need wisdom to meet the problem without creating new ones (or unintentionally enhancing the advantages of major players like Amazon at the expense of smaller sellers).

But this lawlessness cannot be allowed to go unchecked. We must pursue truth and justice in the commerce the fuels the economy of this nation.

Will you pray for wisdom for our state officials, courage and discernment for business leaders of good will, and a safe and reliable marketplace for us all?


Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.s public policy arena.


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November 7, 2021

Father, we come in agreement and bind the spirit of lawlessness that is rampant in America, in Jesus name. We bind the lawless agenda from operating in this country, in Jesus name! We ask that You would lift up a standard against this agenda and the people behind it! Father, let Your kingdom come, Your will be done, in every state in America! Raise up godly, bold, and fearless, leaders who have wisdom, common sense, good judgement and discernment. This country has gone away from the covenant our founders had with You, but we ask You to restore that covenant once again! Help us to come back to You, to seek Your face, to turn from our wicked ways and to see You HEAL OUR LAND. We ask for Your mercy, Father.

November 6, 2021

Lord, show us what it looks like for Your people to operate the marketplace! Spirit of Truth penetrate! We decree every kind of business needed, every kind of factory needed, open in America! Open the consumers eyes to what is going on and give them boldness, courage and finances to buy from local and reputable market avenues! Your people must take back every area; give us creative ideas, finances, and will power, in Jesus Name!

November 6, 2021

I used to sell on Mercari & Poshmark but there is a lot of fraud on those sites. Especially picked up after the looting took place last summer.
Sadly, the people buying don’t seem to care that they’re purchasing stolen goods. Only want the deal which is very sad. Praying for the businesses to be able to handle the situation properly & for people to open their eyes to the reality of situation. In Jesus name 🙏🏻


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