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(Fox 13 Tampa Bay)   Florida woman finds that one simple trick that Amazon hates by screwing them out of $100,000 in fake refunds over a few years   (fox13news.com) divider line
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5908 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Oct 2020 at 2:05 AM (4 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-10-27 9:26:09 PM  
For five years, a 32-year-old woman made 42,000 individual returns through 31 different Amazon accounts...

Amazon issued a statement which says in part, "[Amazon has] systems and processes to detect suspicious behavior and we have teams that investigate and take action quickly.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-10-28 1:07:48 AM  
100K over five years eh?  That's what, the same earning rate as the seconds it takes Bezos to take his morning piss, once?  I recommend she pay back exactly as much as that revenue would have gone towards the taxes Amazon pays the localities and countries it operates in.
 
2020-10-28 2:11:40 AM  
Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.
 
2020-10-28 2:16:41 AM  

The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.


true. Lucy has some 'splainin to do. perhaps they have not yet fixed the hole in the screen.
 
2020-10-28 2:18:13 AM  

The.anti-Larry: Amazon issued a statement which says in part, "[Amazon has] systems and processes to detect suspicious behavior and we have teams that investigate and take action quickly.


Or whenever they got around to it.

Their fraud department is probably overwhelmed...they might be loathe to allow the algo to shut down people's accounts without a human reviewing it and verifying it's actual fraud. Sounds like due to the nature of the crime, this may have seemed like it was somewhat more trouble to investigate than it was worth. Eventually it probably became obvious she was just a parasite but it still took them a while to sort out all the purchases, cancels and which labels went to what. Some human would actually have to do this work in order to prosecute a case, and (ideally) that human would have to not make more than they're recouping in costs by shutting down the fraud.
 
2020-10-28 2:21:09 AM  
that averages to more than 20 packages a day, every day, for 5 years. i'll bet they started recognizing her at the post office.
 
2020-10-28 2:23:24 AM  
2 bucks per fake return. She'd have earned more scrounging for aluminum cans.
 
2020-10-28 2:23:39 AM  

BumpInTheNight: 100K over five years?


Kind of low-rent as scams go.
 
2020-10-28 2:24:53 AM  

crinz83: that averages to more than 20 packages a day, every day, for 5 years. i'll bet they started recognizing her at the post office.


That much work for so long, she worked more than Trump in his entire life.
 
2020-10-28 2:26:06 AM  

khatores: The.anti-Larry: Amazon issued a statement which says in part, "[Amazon has] systems and processes to detect suspicious behavior and we have teams that investigate and take action quickly.

Or whenever they got around to it.

Their fraud department is probably overwhelmed...they might be loathe to allow the algo to shut down people's accounts without a human reviewing it and verifying it's actual fraud. Sounds like due to the nature of the crime, this may have seemed like it was somewhat more trouble to investigate than it was worth. Eventually it probably became obvious she was just a parasite but it still took them a while to sort out all the purchases, cancels and which labels went to what. Some human would actually have to do this work in order to prosecute a case, and (ideally) that human would have to not make more than they're recouping in costs by shutting down the fraud.


42,000 returns over 31 accounts.
That's over 1,300 returns per account, over 270 returns per account per year.

You'd think if someone was returning something every.single.day. of the working year, it would be flagged.

If amazon doesn't have a returned/kept ratio that triggers a flag, that would be ridiculous, and highly unlikely.
The only things I can think of are:
1) she was burying those returns in a lot of other purchases, maybe running a dollar store or something
2) Amazon wanted to have overwhelming,non-refutable evidence and a high publicity case
 
2020-10-28 2:26:42 AM  

sinko swimo: The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.

true. Lucy has some 'splainin to do. perhaps they have not yet fixed the hole in the screen.


Hoai buys a purse for $200 and a "#1 Mom" coffee mug for $8. She returns the purse when she gets it because it was the wrong blah blah or some such shiat.

She returns the coffee mug with the purse label. When they check it in, the purse was "returned" and she gets credited for it. She sells the purse.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...a lot of the stuff Amazon gets in returns they shiat out to some people who buy it by the pallet and then try to make what they can off it. A missing purse? They don't care...some of it goes to the landfill anyway. It would go unnoticed. Amazon is super wasteful and don't give two farks as long as they mostly make money.

Where she farked up was using her own name and address and probably a single IP to run 30+ accounts. If it hadn't been for that, she would have gotten away with this for more years.

BTW, she didn't make $100k off this because she would have sold much of it at a discount. She took Amazon for $100k but probably got ~$60k if that.
 
2020-10-28 2:35:16 AM  

The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.


She would reuse labels and then claim she had paid for shipping and ask for a refund on the shipping because it was a return. Presumably they have already changed whatever procedure made this possible.
 
2020-10-28 2:35:22 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-10-28 2:35:33 AM  
Seems like a lot of work.

42,000 for 5 years, that's 8,400 per year.  She's printing labels, ink for the printer, paper label, managing all those accounts, going back and forth to the post office, arguing with amazon back and forth, tape, tire ware, ware and tare on the car, arguing with the post office maybe, etc.
 
2020-10-28 2:35:48 AM  
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 42,000 times, wtf.
 
2020-10-28 2:38:35 AM  

Bandito King: The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.

She would reuse labels and then claim she had paid for shipping and ask for a refund on the shipping because it was a return. Presumably they have already changed whatever procedure made this possible.


I did a return a few weeks ago. I had the option of dropping it off at UPS store, something else, and scheduling a pickup with UPS bringing the prepaid label.
 
2020-10-28 2:40:13 AM  
media.giphy.comView Full Size
 
2020-10-28 2:48:40 AM  

The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.


I got the impression that they didn't want to tell us all the details, because ... reasons.
 
2020-10-28 3:04:25 AM  

nytmare: 2 bucks per fake return. She'd have earned more scrounging for aluminum cans.


Yeah, she was only making about $20,000 a year doing this.  This sounds less like criminal mastermind, and more like the act of a desperate person.  Should she get jail time.  Yes.  Should she get the 30 years in prison that she is facing for this crime? Which is the penalty for theft over a hundred thousand dollars.  I personally think that is a bit too much.

Ironically, had she stolen all of that money as a banker, or as a crooked investment scammer, she would only be looking at a few years in prison, but since she is just a regular person of the street, she is potentially looking at a life sentence.
 
2020-10-28 3:09:23 AM  

winedrinkingman: nytmare: 2 bucks per fake return. She'd have earned more scrounging for aluminum cans.

Yeah, she was only making about $20,000 a year doing this.  This sounds less like criminal mastermind, and more like the act of a desperate person.  Should she get jail time.  Yes.  Should she get the 30 years in prison that she is facing for this crime? Which is the penalty for theft over a hundred thousand dollars.  I personally think that is a bit too much.

Ironically, had she stolen all of that money as a banker, or as a crooked investment scammer, she would only be looking at a few years in prison, but since she is just a regular person of the street, she is potentially looking at a life sentence.


Yep.  This country is loath to punish white-collar crime, but do the same thing at a blue-collar level and you'll practically die in prison.

And meanwhile, Amazon is dodging taxes and committing wage theft like you wouldn't believe, but they get to sue this woman for an amount of money they never even remotely missed.
 
2020-10-28 3:10:49 AM  

khatores: sinko swimo: The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.

true. Lucy has some 'splainin to do. perhaps they have not yet fixed the hole in the screen.

Hoai buys a purse for $200 and a "#1 Mom" coffee mug for $8. She returns the purse when she gets it because it was the wrong blah blah or some such shiat.

She returns the coffee mug with the purse label. When they check it in, the purse was "returned" and she gets credited for it. She sells the purse.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...a lot of the stuff Amazon gets in returns they shiat out to some people who buy it by the pallet and then try to make what they can off it. A missing purse? They don't care...some of it goes to the landfill anyway. It would go unnoticed. Amazon is super wasteful and don't give two farks as long as they mostly make money.

Where she farked up was using her own name and address and probably a single IP to run 30+ accounts. If it hadn't been for that, she would have gotten away with this for more years.

BTW, she didn't make $100k off this because she would have sold much of it at a discount. She took Amazon for $100k but probably got ~$60k if that.


She returns the purse and gets to keep it? Alright.
 
2020-10-28 3:15:16 AM  

sforce: Bandito King: The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.

She would reuse labels and then claim she had paid for shipping and ask for a refund on the shipping because it was a return. Presumably they have already changed whatever procedure made this possible.

I did a return a few weeks ago. I had the option of dropping it off at UPS store, something else, and scheduling a pickup with UPS bringing the prepaid label.



They also have an agreement with the Kohls stores, you can drop off your Amazon returns at their customer service desk -- one advantage of that is that you aren't required to repackage it first.
 
2020-10-28 3:22:53 AM  
She made "over $100k", lazy reporting and Amazon not disclosing details.  I can see this easily making close to a million over five years.
 
2020-10-28 3:35:40 AM  
"This woman took advantage of a loophole she discovered in the return process,"

Shouldn't they thank her now that they've fixed the "loophole"?
 
2020-10-28 3:38:42 AM  
Sounds like a lot of risk and work for a low reward.
 
2020-10-28 3:44:04 AM  

khatores: sinko swimo: The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.

true. Lucy has some 'splainin to do. perhaps they have not yet fixed the hole in the screen.

Hoai buys a purse for $200 and a "#1 Mom" coffee mug for $8. She returns the purse when she gets it because it was the wrong blah blah or some such shiat.

She returns the coffee mug with the purse label. When they check it in, the purse was "returned" and she gets credited for it. She sells the purse.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...a lot of the stuff Amazon gets in returns they shiat out to some people who buy it by the pallet and then try to make what they can off it. A missing purse? They don't care...some of it goes to the landfill anyway. It would go unnoticed. Amazon is super wasteful and don't give two farks as long as they mostly make money.

Where she farked up was using her own name and address and probably a single IP to run 30+ accounts. If it hadn't been for that, she would have gotten away with this for more years.

BTW, she didn't make $100k off this because she would have sold much of it at a discount. She took Amazon for $100k but probably got ~$60k if that.


A) Thank you, the scam makes sense now, although that's a LOT of work for the scam.

B) No way she had 1 IP for 5 years.

C) Her two big mistakes were running that many accounts with the same name and that many transactions per account. That's just stupid.
 
2020-10-28 4:00:58 AM  

Drearyx: khatores: sinko swimo: The more you eat the more you fart: Wait.  How did this work again?

Hope I'm not the only person that missed how swapping return labels netted her $100,000 and a trip to prison.

true. Lucy has some 'splainin to do. perhaps they have not yet fixed the hole in the screen.

Hoai buys a purse for $200 and a "#1 Mom" coffee mug for $8. She returns the purse when she gets it because it was the wrong blah blah or some such shiat.

She returns the coffee mug with the purse label. When they check it in, the purse was "returned" and she gets credited for it. She sells the purse.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...a lot of the stuff Amazon gets in returns they shiat out to some people who buy it by the pallet and then try to make what they can off it. A missing purse? They don't care...some of it goes to the landfill anyway. It would go unnoticed. Amazon is super wasteful and don't give two farks as long as they mostly make money.

Where she farked up was using her own name and address and probably a single IP to run 30+ accounts. If it hadn't been for that, she would have gotten away with this for more years.

BTW, she didn't make $100k off this because she would have sold much of it at a discount. She took Amazon for $100k but probably got ~$60k if that.

She returns the purse and gets to keep it? Alright.


No, she returns the mug using the return label for the purse.
 
2020-10-28 4:05:42 AM  

groppet: Sounds like a lot of risk and work for a low reward.


Some people will steal something just because it is there.
Not because they are poor, or because the item is valuable, just because it is there.
Some will keep repeating it because, hey, free money/stuff. Even if they just throw it away afterwards.
 
2020-10-28 4:08:06 AM  

jst3p: A) Thank you, the scam makes sense now, although that's a LOT of work for the scam.

B) No way she had 1 IP for 5 years.

C) Her two big mistakes were running that many accounts with the same name and that many transactions per account. That's just stupid.


That's just my opinion...there's other ways she could have run it but it seems most straightforward to me. She probably discovered this by accident when she included the wrong return label and then said, "Hey...why don't I just do this?"

People already do this retail fraud at brick-and-mortar places...they swap barcodes when checking out or swap them after getting them home, then go back and return them. People at Returns are sometimes dumb as rocks and the receipt doesn't really describe the item clearly, so they get away with returning a $30 item for $50. Who really knows the difference?

As other people said, it sounds like the work of a desperate person. For that much effort she could have just run a real business.

Good point, I guess she wouldn't keep the same IP in a literal sense, but the cops can pull her IP record from her internet service provider. I mean she likely wasn't using a VPN or any kind of proxy, so all the traffic can easily be traced back to her. It's not like she can raise some kind of "My account was hacked and porch pirates" defense.
 
2020-10-28 4:51:27 AM  

Resident Muslim: groppet: Sounds like a lot of risk and work for a low reward.

Some people will steal something just because it is there.
Not because they are poor, or because the item is valuable, just because it is there.
Some will keep repeating it because, hey, free money/stuff. Even if they just throw it away afterwards


Sometimes the stealing is the point!

Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing (Official Video)
Youtube BzUnqr1t7yI
 
2020-10-28 5:23:55 AM  
Unless she figured out a way to fleece them out of printer ink, I don't see how returning all those things could've offset the cost of printing the return labels.
 
2020-10-28 5:57:34 AM  
Somebody returning that many items should have been flagged way sooner.
 
2020-10-28 6:04:28 AM  

Vern: Unless she figured out a way to fleece them out of printer ink, I don't see how returning all those things could've offset the cost of printing the return labels.


How much does an Amazon thief pay for printer ink?
 
2020-10-28 6:36:29 AM  

Resident Muslim: groppet: Sounds like a lot of risk and work for a low reward.

Some people will steal something just because it is there.
Not because they are poor, or because the item is valuable, just because it is there.
Some will keep repeating it because, hey, free money/stuff. Even if they just throw it away afterwards.


Oh I know I have caught people stealing the stupidest stuff at the office, a couple weeks ago an award went missing. We think we know who did it but can't figure out why.
 
2020-10-28 6:49:59 AM  

groppet: Resident Muslim: groppet: Sounds like a lot of risk and work for a low reward.

Some people will steal something just because it is there.
Not because they are poor, or because the item is valuable, just because it is there.
Some will keep repeating it because, hey, free money/stuff. Even if they just throw it away afterwards.

Oh I know I have caught people stealing the stupidest stuff at the office, a couple weeks ago an award went missing. We think we know who did it but can't figure out why.


Was it their award?
 
2020-10-28 6:52:12 AM  

loser0: Vern: Unless she figured out a way to fleece them out of printer ink, I don't see how returning all those things could've offset the cost of printing the return labels.

How much does an Amazon thief pay for printer ink?


Instead of the purse and the coffee mug analogy, couldn't it be printer ink and a coffee mug?
 
2020-10-28 7:01:55 AM  
$100k in 5 years?
That's McDonalds level money!

Livin' large, she is.
 
2020-10-28 7:18:11 AM  

nitropissering: Seems like a lot of work.

42,000 for 5 years, that's 8,400 per year.  She's printing labels, ink for the printer, paper label, managing all those accounts, going back and forth to the post office, arguing with amazon back and forth, tape, tire ware, ware and tare on the car, arguing with the post office maybe, etc.


Actually. Aren't rich people always telling people to have multiple streams of income?
 
2020-10-28 7:18:44 AM  

foo monkey: [media.giphy.com image 200x250]


Oh what I would eat off of her!
 
2020-10-28 7:26:54 AM  

groppet: Resident Muslim: groppet: Sounds like a lot of risk and work for a low reward.

Some people will steal something just because it is there.
Not because they are poor, or because the item is valuable, just because it is there.
Some will keep repeating it because, hey, free money/stuff. Even if they just throw it away afterwards.

Oh I know I have caught people stealing the stupidest stuff at the office, a couple weeks ago an award went missing. We think we know who did it but can't figure out why.


/
I can relate.

My company, before 2020, award me employee of the month.
Well, they announced it on the employee message system.
Woot. So I go to collect my Goodies.
NOPE. Someone pointed out a incident that had been forgotten and made me uneligible.
Fine. But, you already announced it at least give me the goodies if you won't give me the title for the embarrassment you just caused me.
(People on the floor was making fun of me and it had been a big ole public joke) manager said no.

So I'd steal an award plaque out of spite
 
2020-10-28 7:32:50 AM  
That's a damn lot of work for 20 grand a year.
 
2020-10-28 7:34:06 AM  
This lady is amazing ,  How did she stay 32 for 5 years ?
 
2020-10-28 8:48:02 AM  

almejita: groppet: Resident Muslim: groppet: Sounds like a lot of risk and work for a low reward.

Some people will steal something just because it is there.
Not because they are poor, or because the item is valuable, just because it is there.
Some will keep repeating it because, hey, free money/stuff. Even if they just throw it away afterwards.

Oh I know I have caught people stealing the stupidest stuff at the office, a couple weeks ago an award went missing. We think we know who did it but can't figure out why.

Was it their award?


No, my area was used as a holding ground for it since we always have someone in the office, the winner dropped it off for the video team to film, the video team came in the next day grabbed it and filmed it. They returned it to my area to be picked up by the winner who would be back in the office the next week and it vanished off the counter where they put it. Pisses me off a lot that it happened.
 
2020-10-28 9:02:01 AM  

winedrinkingman: nytmare: 2 bucks per fake return. She'd have earned more scrounging for aluminum cans.

Yeah, she was only making about $20,000 a year doing this.  This sounds less like criminal mastermind, and more like the act of a desperate person.  Should she get jail time.  Yes.  Should she get the 30 years in prison that she is facing for this crime? Which is the penalty for theft over a hundred thousand dollars.  I personally think that is a bit too much.

Ironically, had she stolen all of that money as a banker, or as a crooked investment scammer, she would only be looking at a few years in prison, but since she is just a regular person of the street, she is potentially looking at a life sentence.



Wait...she's getting 30 years, but there is a CEO getting "pay some bonuses back" for billions of dollars?

It really pays to be rich...
 
2020-10-28 9:10:18 AM  
For five years, a 32-year-old woman made 42,000 individual returns through 31 different Amazon accounts -- and it was all a scam, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
On Tuesday, detectives said they arrested Hoai Tibma. They said between March 2015 and August 2020, she reused prepaid shipping labels created for canceled orders and applied them to other Amazon returns.


That's, like, a lot of work for little pay over five years.
 
db2
2020-10-28 9:11:57 AM  
For five years, a 32-year-old woman made 42,000 individual returns

I'm still trying to figure out how she managed to be 32 years old for 5 years.
 
2020-10-28 9:59:49 AM  
She obviously has an organizational skill-set where she came up with this scheme and kept at it day after day for five years.

She could have easily gotten a back-office job requiring these skills and very likely get paid more than $20,000 a year. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
2020-10-28 10:10:10 AM  
I've had to make some returns to Amazon.  Most (but not all) of the time they say "just keep it".  Although it's usually food, partially inedible due to mishaps in shipping.  The result is that if I order a six pack of (say) liquid soylent green, and one is punctured, I get 5 free bottles of LSG and another six pack sent post haste.
This seems to have two effects:
1) I'm extra scrupulous about only using it when necessary (can dented but seal isn't broken?  It's fine) because I don't want to screw up a good thing - not that I wouldn't be anyway, and
2) They've gotten a lot better about packing things to prevent damage during shipping.

I have a dark suspicion that some poor warehouse worker gets put in chains every time I complain, but dammit, if you're a multi billion dollar company and I buy 6 bottles of LSG from you, I want those bottles.
 
2020-10-28 10:10:59 AM  

db2: For five years, a 32-year-old woman made 42,000 individual returns

I'm still trying to figure out how she managed to be 32 years old for 5 years.


I've been 39 for quite a while now.  It's a good age.
 
2020-10-28 10:41:44 AM  

BumpInTheNight: 100K over five years eh?  That's what, the same earning rate as the seconds it takes Bezos to take his morning piss, once?  I recommend she pay back exactly as much as that revenue would have gone towards the taxes Amazon pays the localities and countries it operates in.


If the suspect bought from 3rd party sellers, Bezos' bank account would be unaffected.  They just deduct the amount from the amount owed to the seller and there's nothing the seller can do about it.  Which is probably how this person got away with it for so long.  Think the seller's will get reimbursed?  Nope!!
 
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