Out-of-stock products and “The friendly fraud” scam victims narrate their ordeal.

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“It’s incredible, the guy gives us the change to the product and Amazon returns the money!” This rather desperate statement from a marketer associated with the e-commerce giant is not an isolated cry. While scams by unscrupulous internet sellers have been widely publicized, little scams known as “friendly fraud” by shoppers hardly ever come to light. The pressure of grades and the ability of poor valuations to sink a business has a lot to do with it.

In the third quarter of 2017, these fraudulent companies had a turnover of 8 million euros. Many of these fraudulent practices attack businesses that are hosted on Amazon. This is because the return policy of the American company is very flexible and generous towards the buyer. The case reported by the electronic products store Maeso in the first lines of this text is quite exemplary of what the behavior of these scammers is: “The guy asks us for the money claiming that the product has been beaten,” they explain. Then, when Amazon has returned the amount of the purchase, the scammer returns a different product in the same box, but this one without a barcode or serial number.

This form of scam is quite widespread. “Many buyers do it, it is common,” says another trader, who believes that the system penalizes them. Most of those affected do not report once Amazon has already returned the money. Some do it without counting on the American company, directly: they simply ask the bank to return the charge. The majority of those affected, do not report for fear of bad evaluations and because they consider that it will be a long and expensive process

The “champions” of this crime were the Finan brothers, who during 2017 pocketed 1.2 million dollars on account of false orders. Precisely, as a result of this case, Amazon began to be more prudent and although its return policy continues to be very customer-friendly, it began to suspend accounts claiming “that they were related to other suspects.” For this, they have an investigation department that never details what facts or conjectures it is based on to close an account. A confessed scammer describes the process.
“You buy something that a third party sells through Amazon, you notice that they send it through the Post Office, then you complain and say that nothing has reached you. While the case is being settled, you give the seller a lot of negative evaluations, ask for the guarantee and they give you your money back and you keep the product! “
The varieties are multiple, including packages filled with things that weigh the same as the purchased product. But ultimately they all have one thing in common: how difficult it is to prove the falseness of their claims within Amazon’s deadline. What do we do? Accept it and resign ourselves or prove that the guy is a scammer? The easiest thing is to settle the matter A case very similar to that reported by another merchant.
“I’m going to tell you a very nice story, let’s see what you think: an order for a garden table came in on Wednesday. Early the next day the customer complains that they had received a damaged item. We had not sent it to you yet! Amazon tells us we have a claim. What do we do? Accept it and resign ourselves or prove that the guy is a scammer? The easiest thing is to settle the matter.”

Another Amazon scam trending takes advantage of the store’s platform to contact victims who are looking for out-of-stock products and ask them for money.


Internet users are warning of a new scam that takes advantage of those who are looking for out-of-stock products, especially in the last days of Christmas campaigns and Black Fridays.

It is very likely that, like millions of people, you are waiting for the arrival of more units of the new generation consoles, such as the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X. Or you may want to renew your computer and you are looking for one of the new graphics from Nvidia or AMD, the RTX 3000 or the RX 6000 respectively.

Sadly, most times, these products are out of stock on Amazon and any other store; but from time to time, some units appear, usually through third-party stores. They don’t last long, but a lot of people jump at the chance.

However, those units supposedly available on Amazon may be part of a hoax, to take our money. This was revealed by @internezz on Twitter, with a story of how one of these corrupt sellers tried to deceive him.

The scam begins when one of these products appears on Amazon for a limited time, sold not directly by the company, but by a third party. The sales process is like any other Amazon product, adding the product to the cart and paying for it on Amazon.


However, a few hours later we may receive an email from Amazon stating that the order has been canceled and that they give us a refund; This is not unusual, especially if there are few units and several users have ordered them at the same time.

Usually, the story ends there. But then, we will receive another email, this time direct from the seller, who has obtained our email address as part of the contact information when making the canceled purchase.

Soon an email arrives from the seller, sent from the official marketplace saying that the order has been canceled.

In the mail, the seller apologizes for canceling the order in the wrong way and affirms that, in reality, he still has units of the product that we have ordered. To compensate, they offer the possibility to “renew” the order, this time with free shipping (third-party shipments that do not go through Amazon Prime usually have an additional cost).

𝙉𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙘𝙞𝙙𝙤 (@internezz)

If we respond as instructed, the scammer will send us a false invoice, with the Amazon logo, and instructions for making the payment (since Amazon has returned the money to us).


This is where we can fall into the trap: the mail states that the payment is made to an “Amazon payment account”, but in reality, it asks us to deposit the money in a bank account of an individual.

To begin with, one thing we must always be clear about is that we should never pay outside of Amazon for products sold in their store. Amazon only supports the payments that we make on its website or its app, and in no case will it ask us to deposit money in an external account.

In addition, we must also remember that Amazon prohibits the sales of products outside its store if they have been offered on its platform; In other words, a seller of a product on Amazon cannot contact us to offer it to us outside of the store.

𝙉𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙘𝙞𝙙𝙤 (@internezz)

Knowing those two details, it is obvious that this is a scam attempt; both for the consumer and for Amazon, whose logo and name are used by scammers to gain the trust of the victim.

The low ‘stock’ available of some of the most desired products may push us to accept these types of offers, but as is often the case, it is too good to be true.


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