An Amazon fraudster from Rhode Island has recently been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison after conducting a fraudulent return scheme that cost the company more than $50,000. Although the man was also found to be conducting other fraudulent activities with no connection to the marketplace, Amazon were able to support the investigation that eventually led to the sentencing.
It is alleged in court documents that the Amazon fraudster ordered products from Amazon and, at times, replaced the original products with lesser value replacements, often items different than the ones he originally ordered, before returning the packages to Amazon for refunds.
“We work hard to build a great shopping experience and that includes a seamless, customer-friendly returns policy. Mr. Chaves abused our policy, and we took action to protect our selling partners, our store, and the experience for all customers. We are grateful to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island in their thorough pursuit of this case.
Amazon has teams and systems in place to proactively detect, investigate, and stop suspicious behavior and prohibited activity.”
– Statement from Amazon
Return fraud can be frustrating and time consuming for sellers and unfortunately, there are a range of ways it can happen. Some examples include clothes bought with the intention to wear once for an event before being returned as new, boxes weighed down with sand or stones and similar to this case, items replaced with cheaper or fake items. Amazon have steps in place to help prevent it but there are still clear limitations to how much can be identified to protect sellers.