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In an effort to catch drivers who steal packages, Amazon reportedly plants fake packages amongst drivers’ legitimate deliveries.
The process goes like this, according to an insider who shared their knowledge with Business Insider: Drivers scan the labels of each package they deliver, but when they hit a fake label on one of Amazon’s fake packages, they’ll see an error message. Drivers can choose to do a few different things. They may hold onto the package and return it to the warehouse when their shift ends; call a manager to sort out the issue; or keep the package for themselves, since the error message means that the box isn’t in Amazon’s database. The “dummy” packages are either empty or filled with something random to give it some heft and realism.
“It’s meant to be a trap…to check the integrity of the driver,” a former Amazon logistics manager told Business Insider.
While the practice may sound mean-spirited and kind of insidious, when asked about it, all an Amazon representative would say is that “checks and audits are part of overall quality programs and are administered at random.” It does seem like a reasonable way to check a driver’s trustworthiness without overburdening their daily work load too much.
In 2017, Amazon shipped more than 5 billion packages to Prime customers alone. While it’s unclear how many of those packages may have been stolen, theft, fraud, and error account for $47 billion in losses annually for the retail industry as a whole.
Drivers stealing packages may be one potential source of theft, but stealing packages from doorsteps is another issue that Amazon has had to contend with. Amazon set up Amazon lockers to help Prime subscribers with that issue. It also acquired Ring, maker of smart home monitoring equipment, and includes deals on its smart home camera products amongst its holiday sales promotions.
H/T Business Insider
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.