Fraudsters Bribed Amazon Employees in Refund Abuse Scheme

Amazon filed a lawsuit on Thursday alleging that an international fraud organization called REKK stole millions of dollars of products through systematic refund abuse by tricking the company, including bribing employees. According to the complaint:

“Among other places, REKK operates a Telegram channel that has over 30,000 followers, where they brazenly advertise refund services that they fully admit are fraudulent. In this scheme, bad actors who want a free product (like an iPad) pay REKK a fee (such as 30% of the product’s cost) to obtain a fraudulent refund.

“REKK uses sophisticated methods to obtain the refund, including socially engineering Amazon customer service, phishing Amazon employees, manipulating Amazon’s systems through unauthorized access, and bribing Amazon insiders to grant refunds.

“The Defendants’ scheme tricks Amazon into processing refunds for products that are never returned; instead of returning the products as promised, Defendants keep the product and the refund. REKK boasts that the organization has fraudulently refunded over 100,000 orders from retailers (not just Amazon).”

The lawsuit described the methods the defendants allegedly used to fraudulently obtain refunds, including insider bribery. Amazon alleged “REKK identifies and recruits Amazon employees responsible for approving genuine returns. REKK then bribes these employees to falsely approve unreturned orders as returned.”

The defendants also used “materially different returns” (what online sellers refer to as “rocks in a box” tactics), according to Amazon’s lawsuit: “REKK requests refunds for products and REKK or its users return packages to Amazon that are empty or contain low value items different than the original product for which the users were issued refunds. These fake returns are designed to deceive Amazon’s systems into believing the Defendants returned the correct item.”

Amazon alleged that one method the…

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