Scam School Part IV - Almost anything you want, for free (1 Viewer)

autumn

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I've been meaning to write this for a while, but have been too busy to get around to it. In part 4, we will be exploring how you can acquire pretty much anything you want for free. The downside is that you have to put the money up first, but you are guaranteed to get your money back. In part V I will be discussing how to get anything you want for free - without putting any money up - but that's a while off.

I'd like to note that anybody can do this. You don't even really need to be convincing. This relies on corporate policy and the law, not your bullshitting skills.

The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

Way back in 1975, the federal government decided that it should probably be illegal to mail urine, blood, toxic waste, and so on without any special handling or packaging. This was a national tragedy because it became a federal crime to send people boxes of dog shit.

There's something strange in the Hazmat Act, though. It allowed the Secretary of Transportation to arbitrarily deem things to be "hazardous materials." as a result, it's illegal to send shards of glass through the mail.

Amazon

Everyone is familiar with this corporation, almost everyone here has bought something from them. They're cheaper than retail because they cut out the middleman. Sweatshops Direct is a more fitting name. You can find virtually anything you want on Amazon, and you can have it all for free.

Amazon is well known for their excellent return policy. 30 days, for any reason. But what happens if you don't receive an item, or can't return it for reasons that are entirely outside of your control?

This is what happens:

  1. Buy some stuff
  2. Get some stuff in the mail
  3. Make up a reasonable sounding explanation for why your stuff isn't the stuff you were supposed to get
  4. Add some Hazmat Act stuff to your story
  5. Call them and get your money back

It really is that simple.

If you're at all familiar with chemistry, you know that sulfuric acid is mostly harmless. Most people, however, still think that serial killers get a big 'ol 55 gallon drum of it, dunk a body in, and BAM! Instantly dissolved. The words "that's that stuff you see the mob using in movies!" have been uttered to me by an Amazon representative. You can buy sulfuric acid on Amazon, in a plastic bottle, with a plastic cap. It isn't padded or protected in any way. It could be broken open pretty easily, huh?

Note: The only sulfuric acid you can buy on Amazon is a solution of 99.9% water/0.1% sulfuric acid, but they won't know that.

Similarly, if you're at all familiar with warehouse/factory work, - barring union jobs - you know that people get hurt. All the time. Someone gets cut, some blood got in your box, and they sent it off to you anyway.

Remember that thing about shards of glass? You bought a bunch of solar panels, and when they arrived the glass on them was shattered. Thanks FedEx! As I write this, I am sitting in front of 4 solar panels.

I have told them once or twice that there was a dead animal (rat) in my box. I've told them that I got a box of shattered glass instead of something that isn't made of glass. They will believe just about anything.

You can tell them that you didn't receive a package that was marked as delivered. However, you can only do this a small number of times before your account will be closed. Having a large number of "Item marked delivered but not received" refunds on your account will get it flagged for inspection by their "security team". That's why you should stick to more inventive excuses instead.

I cannot overstate how easy this is. You just need a little creativity. I have gotten many, many thousands of dollars in stuff this way, and I have never once had any issues. The most expensive item I've gotten this way, to date, was over $2,000. That wasn't hard either. Here's why:

  1. You need to call them. Emailing them usually won't work unless it's extremely low value (<$50) Using the chat will never work.
  2. You need to get a European, American or African phone rep. Request call after call until you get one. It shouldn't take more than 3-5 tries. I don't know if this is a cultural thing, training or what, but after dealing with nearly a hundred southeast Asian reps, I can say pretty confidently that they won't listen to you, they will accuse you of lying, and they will ask you to send these things back, even when it would be illegal to do so.
  3. Always have orders padding your to-scam items. It can be just about anything - even the millions of little plastic accessories made by a 6 year old deep in a Chinese sweatshop. Doesn't matter, as long as there are more uneventful orders than there are refunds.

I'd say good luck, but in this case, you don't need it.

Part 5, where I discuss how to get anything you want for free - without putting any money up in advance - is at least a few months away, so don't wait around for it instead of doing this.
 
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FrumpyWatkins

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They're pretty strict with medium to high value reships that come direct from an Amazon distribution warehouse regardless of damage etc. etc. as of recent. Even two low value claims could have your account suspended. They've invested so much in order fulfillment technology that their logistics tracking/handling is pretty darn good and they are starting to distrust a lot of claims that aren't returned or at least have pictures showing the defect/damage etc. Sometimes they'll even temporarily suspend your account purchasing privileges during the claim process.

It's not even because of a lot of false claims, it's because the handlers leave packages out on peoples front porches and they are stolen.

One of my personal faves is buying something not fulfilled by Amazon (ships from 3rd party), then complaining to Amazon that it isn't what you wanted/damaged/etc. and making sure to tell Amazon you tried to complain directly to the seller and they gave you a very hard time and it was an unpleasant experience. Many times they will just credit you for the item if it is a cheaper item instead of trying to have to negotiate with the seller. Don't do this to individuals running web stores, do this to large companies who use Amazon marketplace.

Now with Amazon having their own package handlers/delivers Uber style, this will become increasingly harder.
 
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autumn

autumn

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They're pretty strict with medium to high value reships that come direct from an Amazon distribution warehouse regardless of damage etc. etc. as of recent. Even two low value claims could have your account suspended. They've invested so much in order fulfillment technology that their logistics tracking/handling is pretty darn good and they are starting to distrust a lot of claims that aren't returned or at least have pictures showing the defect/damage etc. Sometimes they'll even temporarily suspend your account purchasing privileges during the claim process.
This hasn't been my experience, and I have been ripping them off continuously for the last 3 weeks, and for years prior to that. I figured my account would get suspended after going through over $3,000 in stuff, in three weeks, but it hasn't. They've started hiring their American reps as work-from-homers - no callcenter - and I've never had a problem with these people. For one reason or another, they've been pretty much universally informed about hazmat act stuff, and as soon as I've mentioned blood/glass/etc they know what to do. The only time I've ever had one of the reps even mention an investigation is the southeast Asian callcenter reps. A rep has to go out of their way to check the claim history on the account, and so generally they don't, unless you give them a reason to do so.

I don't mean to sound crass, but perhaps you're just not very convincing?

It's not even because of a lot of false claims, it's because the handlers leave packages out on peoples front porches and they are stolen.

One of my personal faves is buying something not fulfilled by Amazon (ships from 3rd party), then complaining to Amazon that it isn't what you wanted/damaged/etc. and making sure to tell Amazon you tried to complain directly to the seller and they gave you a very hard time and it was an unpleasant experience. Many times they will just credit you for the item if it is a cheaper item instead of trying to have to negotiate with the seller. Don't do this to individuals running web stores, do this to large companies who use Amazon marketplace.
I've done that before but it always ends up being more hassle than it's worth imo. Easier to get something fulfilled by Amazon and spend the 3 mins on the phone. Unless it's something so cheap that it wouldn't be worth the return shipping if you contact the vendor directly.

Now with Amazon having their own package handlers/delivers Uber style, this will become increasingly harder.
Fortunately this won't be an issue for a very long time. Prime Now is only available in a handful of cities. While the program is expanding, it relies on customers being very close to a distribution center. Also, their contracts with major shipping companies are based on an expectation of volume. Amazon doesn't have the (extremely expensive) infrastructure or economy of scale (billions of packages) to be nearly as efficient as UPS/FedEx/USPS, so it will be cheaper for them to contract it out for the forseeable future. Prime Now is probably only a thing because it's cheaper for them to do last mile delivery from their own distribution center, when factoring in the additional fee that they charge you (which is $8 iirc)
 
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FrumpyWatkins

I deleted myself
I don't mean to sound crass, but perhaps you're just not very convincing?
Come on now, no need to throw in some jabs. I never said your idea didn't work and I never said I had or hadn't done the same thing, so need to attempt to throw stones because you feel like I'm trying to say it is a bad idea. I wasn't. I was simply pointing out somethings I have found to be true in regards to Amazon.

This hasn't been my experience, and I have been ripping them off continuously for the last 3 weeks, and for years prior to that. I figured my account would get suspended after going through over $3,000 in stuff, in three weeks, but it hasn't.
However with your most recent reply..... I think you need to provide some evidence of this or this is in the realm of outright fantasy. It's difficult to even obtain that much merchandise from Amazon with the same account even with all your bases covered via credit card fraud. I have a hard time believing you have accumulated that much crediting, in that short period of time, without raising a flag somewhere. You have to remember all those refunds are showing up in their credit card processing system. Someone is paid to monitor that activity. Amazon will and has suspended accounts for far less unusual activity in the past, like using your account to order something while on vacation. Many of these suspensions are automated.

Also unless you were intoxicated I don't see why you would post an actual dollar amount in merchandise you have defrauded from a company on a public forum where your profile picture is or appears to actually be you. That is just plain silly.

I've done that before but it always ends up being more hassle than it's worth imo. Easier to get something fulfilled by Amazon and spend the 3 mins on the phone.
I don't think you read this part very carefully, it's the same scam, just a different pitch/angle. It would take no more or less time.

Fortunately this won't be an issue for a very long time. Prime Now is only available in a handful of cities. While the program is expanding, it relies on customers being very close to a distribution center. Also, their contracts with major shipping companies are based on an expectation of volume. Amazon doesn't have the (extremely expensive) infrastructure or economy of scale (billions of packages) to be nearly as efficient as UPS/FedEx/USPS, so it will be cheaper for them to contract it out for the forseeable future. Prime Now is probably only a thing because it's cheaper for them to do last mile delivery from their own distribution center, when factoring in the additional fee that they charge you (which is $8 iirc)
The point was that they are dumping vast sums of money into order fulfillment, tracking, logistics, customer service, etc. to stop the very thievery you are discussing and many other scams and schemes. This is a very old trick, it is not something new you have thought of or discovered, they are well aware that people do this and they are going to great lengths to stop people from doing this. That is a fact.

Once again I am not saying that this isn't a valid way to obtain some free merch from a business, it is, and can be successful. Also you should be applauded for compiling this thread, and the theory is and has been a solid one for years.

But I think you owe the community some evidence about your new claim. Only because you made a guide thread, and then came back and made another post boasting about precisely in dollar amount how successful this has been. If you can't provide evidence or feel uncomfortable doing so, you should delete that figure and leave it up to the reader to go and try.
 
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autumn

autumn

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Come on now, no need to throw in some jabs. I never said your idea didn't work and I never said I had or hadn't done the same thing, so need to attempt to throw stones because you feel like I'm trying to say it is a bad idea. I wasn't. I was simply pointing out somethings I have found to be true in regards to Amazon.
It's not a jab, honestly. That's why I said I don't mean to sound crass. I know you were just pointing out what you've found to be true, I was pointing out that what I've found to be true is at odds with that. I was in no way trying to insult you, it's just a possibility that I figured was worth considering.

However with your most recent reply..... I think you need to provide some evidence of this or this is in the realm of outright fantasy. It's difficult to even obtain that much merchandise from Amazon with the same account even with all your bases covered via credit card fraud. I have a hard time believing you have accumulated that much crediting, in that short period of time, without raising a flag somewhere. You have to remember all those refunds are showing up in their credit card processing system. Someone is paid to monitor that activity. Amazon will and has suspended accounts for far less unusual activity in the past, like using your account to order something while on vacation. Many of these suspensions are automated.

But I think you owe the community some evidence about your new claim. Only because you made a guide thread, and then came back and made another post boasting about precisely in dollar amount how successful this has been. If you can't provide evidence or feel uncomfortable doing so, you should delete that figure and leave it up to the reader to go and try.
Paging @DrewSTNY

Obtaining that much merchandise via credit card fraud is difficult no matter what your angle is. Unless you've gotten a golden ticket corporate card, that much spending is going to trip any companies spending pattern algorithms and require a phone call. People talk high shit about bothering to get the information needed for that phone call (as well as getting the victim's provider to setup call forwarding), but my experience is that hardly anyone goes through the effort and it remains the realm of hearsay. The people who make those sorts of claims are usually, as you said, fantasizing. In this case, it's perfectly possible. Trial and error, you can figure it out.

Also unless you were intoxicated I don't see why you would post an actual dollar amount in merchandise you have defrauded from a company on a public forum where your profile picture is or appears to actually be you. That is just plain silly.

I don't think you read this part very carefully, it's the same scam, just a different pitch/angle. It would take no more or less time.
If you have any doubts about the level of security needed for something like this, it's far better to be safe than it is to worry about getting caught. My personal experiences as someone who does riskier things is that this isn't worth the time or effort. If I was ripping off some company to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars (this happens to Netgear all the time), I might be using fake IDs to open drops and sitting behind Tor on a VM image and `shred` it when I'm done, then never speak of it to anyone. In this case, I don't believe it's worth more than the time needed for very minimal precautions.

The point was that they are dumping vast sums of money into order fulfillment, tracking, logistics, customer service, etc. to stop the very thievery you are discussing and many other scams and schemes. This is a very old trick, it is not something new you have thought of or discovered, they are well aware that people do this and they are going to great lengths to stop people from doing this. That is a fact.

Once again I am not saying that this isn't a valid way to obtain some free merch from a business, it is, and can be successful. Also you should be applauded for compiling this thread, and the theory is and has been a solid one for years.
I think you're vastly overestimating how much of an issue this is for Amazon. The amount of money they lose every year from run of the mill boxing/refund scams is probably within the range of a middle-upper management rounding error. From what I've seen, Amazon has made no attempts in the last 3 years or so to make this any more difficult. If anything, I think they've cut their security team, or for some reason or another they're overworked, because I have had far less issues than I used to. Only a few years ago you couldn't make a claim on an account's first order without significant hassle. Now there are people making new accounts to refund macbooks. I haven't gotten a love letter about refunds in over a year.

They dump vast sums of money into fulfillment, tracking, logistics, and customer service because that makes them more money. It would be extremely paranoid to assume it's a c-level issue for them.

Again, since you seem to have taken offense (maybe my prior reply sounded combative in some way, I don't know), I'm not trying to shit on you at all, just respectfully disagreeing.
 
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DrewSTNY

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Heh.

Well, what can I say?

Zim does not tend to exaggerate. Also, if you have taken the time to read any of his other how-to articles, he is very thorough at the procedures. He writes from experience and not hear-say. I won't share details of what's come in the boxes, but you would probably be surprised at the loot.

I believe that he has done way more riskier things then scamming amazon and he hasn't even turned on the uber-ninja social engineering skills with them at all.

On another note - this isn't necessarily a public forum per se; however, I would not be surprised if there are LEO's paying attention to some degree. Matt has gone to some length to re-direct the bots from cataloging the site. Besides, I think they have bigger fish to fry than a bunch of dirty kids and other fringe travelers scamming a few bucks from multi-national corporations. Jeff Bezos can spare some change, he is pretty much the world's richest man, or damn near it.
 

AaronOnTheRoad

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I've done something like that. I bought something and asked for the refund and got the refund never sent the package back and bought something else. I also used gift cards.
 

Bigbutt

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Made an account to tell you, good thread, zim. Much appreciated. Your suggestions are being tested, free money has been acquired from Pampers and the other scams are in the midst. Looking forward to your next upload. ::)
 

dopale

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Have you only been able to do it with items that are both sold and fulfilled by amazon? Tried it but they said they couldn't refund me since my item wasn't sold by them, it was only fulfilled.
 
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autumn

autumn

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Have you only been able to do it with items that are both sold and fulfilled by amazon? Tried it but they said they couldn't refund me since my item wasn't sold by them, it was only fulfilled.
That's a load of crap. They can't replace when it's only fulfilled, but they can refund when it's fulfilled by them.
 

THEOEHT

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Thanks, worked great! I bought a tankless propane water heater for a little over $100, called amazon , told them there was blood in the packaging and an entire fingernail stuck in the temp nob. Turned out it was a 3party shipper, Amazon filed the complaint for me and said if I had an y difficulties they could make the seller refund me. I communicated for 2 weeks with a rep from southeast Asia who was very apologetic but also somewhat difficult. Told me to send photos, return package etc. I explained that I disposed of it upon seeing the blood to protect my children from disease. My story worked great, turned out they had a workplace incident matching my description around the right timeframe. After he kept telling me to return it, i mentioned the biohazard act of '72. he immediately shipped me a replacemen t. They had already shipped it by the time I saw the message so couldn't negotiate a refund but still happy to have 2 of em. More hot water and i can probably Craigslist the second. I'm not sure about posting my conversation with the service rep for reasons of incrimination but it's pretty hilarious.
 

Ovi

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I'm curious, do they not realize that you are using the same address and account literally every time? eventually they will inform law enforcement? Is it because you live in Slab City, which is essentially a legal loophole?
 

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