Someone claiming to be an Amazon employee has posted on Reddit and revealed the ways the company tracks customers who lie about their packages to falsely claim refunds.
The Reddit user, who deleted their account “out of paranoia” after hosting the question and answer session, revealed how Amazon tracks refunds to try and prevent fraud.
It turns out that lots of people order things through Amazon falsely claim to have had the package stolen, then request a refund, keeping the money as well as the item itself.
It’s claimed that Amazon has a “Sugar index” for every customer which tracks their total number of refunds and concessions, and compares it against the total value of all their orders.
When a customer’s sugar index hits a certain amount, Amazon will “shut you down. Very quickly,” it’s claimed.
Once customers reach a certain level on the sugar index, Amazon will apparently blacklist their account, making it more difficult for customers to create new accounts in the future. It’s not clear how Amazon tracks blacklisted customers, but one Reddit user claims that they track device-specific MAC addresses, as well as IP addresses, web browser and operating system.
The nameless Amazon employee claims that the best way for people to get a refund is to try and email Amazon and talk to a customer service representative directly. But if the Amazon worker suspects a customer is lying, they get in touch with the Account Risk Investigations team. They check out the customer account to see if there are any signs of fraudulent activity.
There’s no way to prove that the anonymous Reddit user actually works at Amazon. The Darknet Markets subreddit has hosted a series of questions and answer sessions from people who claim to work at UPS, FedEx and other companies. The anonymous employees often share a lot of in-depth information about the companies, but because the community is discussing illegal online drug sales, they rarely share proof of their employment.
We reached out to Amazon for this story and will update if we hear back.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.