The practice, known as “item not received” fraud, took off during the pandemic when warehouses were backed up and carriers were overwhelmed by a surge in e-commerce orders. In some cases, consumers are hiring professional fraudsters, who market their services on social media and advertise refunds of as much as $20,000 at chains such as Amazon. com Inc., Walmart Inc., and Target Corp.
Here is how it works. A consumer places an online order with a retailer. After the package arrives, the consumer—or the professional refunder the consumer has hired—calls the retailer’s customer service department and says they didn’t receive the package.