Connect with us


Amazon scammers used hacks and bribes to make millions off fake returns

Amazon sues REKK, which allegedly helped shoppers get other expensive items for free by hacking and bribing fulfillment center employees to approve fake returns.

Published by Web Desk



Amazon is suing a naughty but enterprising group called REKK for offering a paid service to willing shoppers looking to get big-ticket items like laptops and game consoles for cheap by exploiting its return and refund system.

This isn’t like the times you try to return a small item purchased from Amazon, like a pair of socks, and the system refunds you without telling you to send it back. As reported by Bloomberg, Amazon’s lawsuit accuses REKK of using social engineering and phishing attacks on Amazon fulfillment employees or bribes to get millions of dollars in refunds without actually sending the items back.

text thread screenshotstext thread screenshots
A text exchange shows REKK recruiting an Amazon employee.
Image: US District Court

REKK advertised its services to shoppers in a Telegram channel with 30,000 followers, taking payment as a part of the item’s original price and then manipulating the system to log a return, which never happened. One example from the lawsuit shows how the scheme worked: one defendant, Andrew Ling, ordered five iPads and then worked with REKK to get a refund. In this case, REKK allegedly used a phishing attack against a fulfillment center employee to mark the iPad returns as received in Amazon’s systems.

Allegedly, one Amazon employee bribed by REKK approved 76 product returns worth over $100,000 in return for $3,500, while another was paid $5,000 to approve 56 fake returns worth over $75,000.

Filed Thursday in a US District Court in the state of Washington, it names more than two dozen people from the US, the UK, Canada, Greece, Lithuania, and the Netherlands.

Continue Reading


Sources: Duke focusing on Diaz for HC vacancy

Duke is targeting Penn State's Manny Diaz, whose defense gave up just 223.2 yards per game, for its head coaching vacancy, sources told ESPN.

Published by Web Desk



Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been hired as Duke's next head football coach, it was announced Thursday night.

"We are grateful and humbled for this opportunity and could not be more excited to be the head football coach at Duke University," Diaz said in a statement. "... Duke University is an elite institution in every facet, and we are excited to be a part of it. I'm beyond excited to get to work."

Duke, which conducted finalist interviews in Las Vegas this week, has scheduled an introductory news conference for Saturday.

Diaz is coming off a season in which he led the nation's top statistical defense, as the Nittany Lions held opponents to 223.2 yards per game -- the best single-season defensive performance in the sport since Alabama in 2011.

He also brings head-coaching experience in the ACC, as he led Miami to three bowl-eligible seasons during his time there from 2019 to 2021.

Diaz, whose 2020 Miami teami was ranked as high as No. 7 in the country, was fired after three seasons with a 21-15 record. Miami is 12-12 since his departure.

He will take over a Duke program that got an energy jolt during Mike Elko's two seasons as coach. Elko went 9-4 in 2022 and led the Blue Devils to the school's highest national ranking, No. 16, this year. He left last month for the head-coaching job at Texas A&M.

"As our process unfolded, it became abundantly clear that Manny Diaz is the right fit for Duke University," athletic director Nina King said in a statement. "Manny's previous experiences have prepared him for this opportunity, and he is, quite simply, an outstanding football coach who will capitalize on the positive momentum of this program.

"An elite communicator and collaborator, Manny possesses the dynamic ability to cultivate impactful relationships with internal and external constituents surrounding a successful football program. As Duke's head football coach, I am confident that Manny will lead the young men in our program to reach and surpass their aspirations of achievement both on and off the field."

Diaz will need to work quickly to retool Duke's roster, which was laden with veterans -- the team is expected to lose well over half of its starters to graduation. Star quarterback Riley Leonard is in the NCAA transfer portal and took a visit to Notre Dame this week.

Diaz brings extensive experience in the ACC. In addition to his time at Miami as head coach and defensive coordinator, he has also had stops at Florida State as a graduate assistant and at NC State in various roles for six seasons early in his career.

After his departure from Miami, Diaz made quick work of building Penn State into a defensive power. The Nittany Lions have held opponents to 24 or less points in 17 straight games -- the nation's longest active streak.

Diaz was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant, in his first season at Penn State. He'll bring extensive recruiting connections from his various other stops -- Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State, Texas, Louisiana Tech -- and a high-energy approach to recruiting.

Duke plays Troy in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 23.
Continue Reading


An ‘AI’ fast food drive-thru is mostly just human workers in the Philippines

Presto Automation touted its automated ordering technology and has clients at chains like Checkers and Del Taco. But new filings indicate that human labor is powering over 70 percent of orders.

Published by Web Desk



Artificial intelligence-powered drive-thru company Presto Automation described itself as “one of the largest labor automation technology providers in the industry,” and boasted its ability to increase sales and “save” human labor time.

But according to recent filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, off-site human workers are stepping in and completing over 70 percent of orders.

Despite the company’s branding and marketing suggesting magical drive-in tech, Presto Automation uses workers in places like the Philippines, according to Bloomberg. The AI drive-thru technology is used by fast food restaurants including Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Del Taco, and Checkers across the country, promising to lower labor costs and increase revenue for chains. The Presto Voice product is supposed to use AI to take customers’ drive-thru orders.

There’s a pattern of AI “solutions” that actually end up being contractors

Bloomberg reports that the SEC notified Presto Automation earlier this year that it was under investigation “regarding certain aspects of its AI technology.” Presto Automation didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

There’s a pattern of AI “solutions” that actually end up being contractors working in countries with lower labor costs — and often, the AI companies work hard to conceal this fact. An online shopping app called Nate, popular with influencers and content creators, said it used AI to auto-fill customers’ checkout details. But it was revealed that the company had hired workers in the Philippines to manually complete orders in a majority of cases. Other startups have similarly marketed human labor as being “AI.”

In an earlier Bloomberg report testing the technology at a Del Taco restaurant, an executive for the restaurant chain told the outlet that Presto reduced the kitchen team’s handling of orders by about 70 percent. Interesting!

The restaurant industry’s experiments with AI have led to fears around how staff could be replaced by their robot co-workers. But in this case, the replacement of labor isn’t contingent on AI at all — companies just need a workforce somewhere else that they can hire for cheaper.

Continue Reading


Take a poll