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Amazon’s Lawsuit Alleges That An Overseas Network Illicitly Obtained Millions Through Fake Refund Schemes

Muammar

IBX-Jakarta. Amazon has alleged that an international group, comprising customers and former employees, conspired to unlawfully obtain millions of dollars in online goods through deceptive refund schemes. Filed in the US District Court in Seattle, the lawsuit, dated Thursday, implicates the organization, referred to as REKK, in orchestrating this fraud between June 2022 and May 2023. The legal action identifies over 20 individuals by name and an additional 20 unnamed defendants.
As per the lawsuit, REKK operates within an underground network of scammers, offering fake refund services to individuals worldwide, who knowingly participate in this deceit to acquire high-value items for free. The 44-page legal filing specifies that REKK promoted its services on platforms like Reddit and the encrypted messaging app Telegram, presenting itself as a paid service enabling users to purchase products online, feign returns, and keep both the items and the refunded amount. Amazon’s legal complaint details over a dozen instances of fraudulent refunds for expensive merchandise such as laptops, gaming consoles, and even a 24-karat gold coin. Furthermore, it alleges that at least seven former Amazon employees, labeled as “insiders,” accepted bribes amounting to thousands of dollars to process reimbursements for products that were never actually returned. According to the lawsuit, REKK employed various tactics, including impersonating Amazon customers, using phishing messages for credential theft, unauthorized system access, and bribing employees to facilitate refunds. Amazon claims that these actions resulted in fraudulent returns worth more than $500,000.
Despite attempts to reach out to REKK through their Reddit page, they did not respond, and their Telegram channel had been deactivated as of last Saturday. The legal filing includes screenshots demonstrating REKK’s explanation of their fraudulent activities through social media advertisements. For instance, one user on the REKK Refund Service subreddit described the process of tricking companies into believing a product was returned to obtain refunds.
In one instance, a text message exchange depicted REKK offering $3,500 to Janiyah Alford, a former Amazon employee named in the lawsuit, to mark items as received and sellable, despite them never being returned. Allegedly, Alford approved returns for 76 orders at REKK’s request, leading to over $100,000 in refunds to REKK users, as per the suit. Alford disclosed receiving messages requesting her assistance in carrying out fraudulent returns, containing her home address and the addresses of her relatives. She perceived these messages as threats, though they were not mentioned in the legal complaint.
Source: Amazon suit claims international ring stole millions in fraudulent refunds (business-standard.com)
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