Based on retailer estimates, approximately 18 percent of all stolen goods (around $5.4 billion) are sold on the Internet. This can be attributed to the anonymity and the global reach e-fencing often provides. Unlike traditional fence operations where there are face-to-face interaction and much stricter requirements for product information such as serial numbers; on Internet auction and consumer sites, e-fencers can sell items under a “username” and are normally not required to provide product information. And unlike a brick-and-mortar fence, an e-fence operation can sell their merchandise 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The profit on e-fenced merchandise is also much higher than merchandise sold through a traditional fence. E-fenced merchandise is sold at approximately 70 percent of its retail price compared to fencing operations that sell stolen merchandise for approximately 50 percent of its retail price. The higher profit margins are a motivation for organized retail criminals to sell their merchandise through an e-fence operation. E-Fence businesses also enjoy low overhead costs, relative anonymity, and little chance of prosecution. In addition, the Internet provides access to a global consumer 24/7 year round.