In a significant case of online fraud, a 22-year-old Bengaluru resident, Chirag Gupta, has been apprehended for masterminding an elaborate refund scam that duped Amazon of more than 20 lakh rupees. Gupta, an engineering student residing in North Bengaluru, operated as part of a gang led by a former Amazon employee, and their modus operandi involved faking the return of high-value items like iPhones and MacBooks.
Reports indicate that Gupta, in collaboration with a friend, orchestrated the sham returns of 16 iPhones and 2 MacBooks. Gupta’s accomplice manipulated the backend system to simulate returned items, while Gupta secured the corresponding refunds without arousing suspicion. The transactions predominantly involved credit cards and UPI transactions, amounting to approximately 3.4 lakh rupees.
Among the notable purchases were an iPhone 14 Pro Max valued at 1.27 lakh rupees on May 15, an iPhone 14 worth 84,999 rupees on May 16, and two iPhone 14 models priced at 90,999 and 84,999 rupees on May 17.
Amazon began to grow suspicious of Gupta’s purchasing patterns due to an influx of complaints, prompting an investigation into the matter. The company uncovered that the items in question were never genuinely returned despite being marked as such on the backend. Intriguingly, all the purchases were linked to the same address, emphasizing the fraudulent nature of the operation.
Upon inspection, law enforcement authorities confiscated gadgets worth 20.34 lakh rupees from Gupta. Additionally, approximately 30 lakh rupees across multiple bank accounts associated with the accused were frozen.
Further revelations from the probe unveiled an unexpected twist: Gupta and his associate conducted crypto transactions to profit from the scam. Gupta received commissions from the profits earned on each item that they sold via cryptocurrency transactions. The sophistication of the scam highlights the evolving tactics that criminals are using to exploit online platforms and payment systems for personal gain.