Exemplifying both the brazen and clever nature of return fraud schemes, a fraudster who identified themselves as “Ralph” found the contact information and reached out to a warehouse employee to help them commit return fraud. In the end, the fraudster stole more than $60,000 worth of goods and remains anonymous, while the warehouse employee was paid $3,500 and was arrested.
Noah Page worked at an Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee until earlier this month when he was arrested on-site. A Loss Prevention associated at the fulfillment center called police to report Page’s alleged crimes. Page was receiving codes to be scanned when physical merchandise was returned and scanning these codes to initiate a refund associated with the orders, even though he knew no physical goods were actually returned.
Page was not the mastermind of this scheme, rather the pawn. What’s most interesting about this story is that, according to Page, the mastermind contacted him. Somehow, the fraudster knew Page worked in an Amazon warehouse and obtained Page’s phone number. The fraudster communicated with Page via text messages and only gave the, likely fictitious, name Ralph. What’s more is that the fraudster already knew how his scheme would work, he just needed someone on the inside to make it work.
He even knew the internal jargon to use. The fraudster told Page he had an “RRMAS,” which refers to the scan code provided for a return. When this is scanned, it is intended to indicate that a physical item has been returned and accepted such that the refund can now be processed. This process was repeated many times primarily targeting items like computers and smartphones.
Page was arrested for theft of more than $60,000, but the vast majority of these ill-gotten gains went to “Ralph,” the fraudster behind the return fraud scheme. Page was paid $3,500, mostly in Bitcoin, and now faces grand theft while “Ralph” will likely remain anonymous.
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