Amazon sues ecommerce fraud gang that stole millions in fake refunds

Two people having a legal discussion in an office
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Freedomz)

Amazon has taken legal action against an international fraud organization known as REKK, which the ecommerce platform says has stolen millions of dollars in products from stores through “systematic refund abuse.”

The case names a total of 20 individuals associated with REKK from around the world, including the US, Canada, England, and other European countries like Greece, Lithuania, and the Netherlands.

Amazon even goes as far as claiming that seven individual Amazon employees were also responsible for the facilitation of these crimes, all residents of the US.

Amazon tackles “largest” underground refund scheme

Amazon said that REKK is “ one of the largest organizations in an underground industry that offers fraudulent refunds to users,” and promotes its services online in places like Telegram, where it has over 35,000 followers. REKK also uses platforms like Nulled, Reddit, and Discord.

The company claims that REKK criminals use social engineering and phishing on Amazon customer service workers as well as manipulate Amazon’s systems through unauthorized access and bribery to get customers their refunds. In turn, customers typically pay a much smaller fee than the item’s price, such as 30%.

Amazon said that last year, it spent $1.2 billion and employed 15,000 just to fight theft and fraud. It has also rolled out technologies such as machine learning to help spot suspicious refund requests.

A pinned post in REKK’s Telegram channel reads: “Choose a refunder responsibly as it is not legal, but I can personally say from myself that I reduce the risk for my clients to 0.”

The group also boasts more than 33,000 customers, 100,000 orders, and 10,000 vouches.

REKK charges a 30% fee for and orders, with a limit of up to $10,000 worth of products across five items. Some other markets demand a 35% fee. The note also details that orders must be shipped directly by Amazon.

Among Amazon’s 11 requests to the court are that the defendants “pay all general, special, actual, and statutory damages which Amazon has sustained, or will sustain,” that they foot the bill for Amazon’s legal action, and that they “pay restitution to Amazon in an amount equal to their unjust enrichment.”

Amazon declined to comment on the amount of money it has sued the defendants for, but a company spokesperson directed us to the VP of WW Selling Partner Services, Dharmesh Mehta's post, on LinkedIn.

More from TechRadar Pro

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!