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Amazon sets traps for drivers



amazon package
Amazon plants fake
packages on delivery trucks, sources told Business

Paul Sakuma/AP

Amazon uses fake packages to catch delivery drivers who are
stealing, according to sources with knowledge of the practice.

The company plants the packages — internally referred to as
“dummy” packages — in the trucks of drivers at random. The dummy
packages have fake labels and are often empty.

“We might pull something out of our pocket and put it in there”
to give it some weight, a former Amazon logistics manager told
Business Insider. This person, who asked to remain anonymous for
fear of retribution, said instructions for the practice came from
Amazon’s corporate offices in Seattle.

“It’s meant to be a trap … to check the integrity of the
driver,” he said.

In response to this story, Amazon said, “Checks and audits are
part of overall quality programs and are administered at random.”

Here’s how the practice works, according to the sources:

During deliveries, drivers scan the labels of every package they
deliver. When they scan a fake label on a dummy package, an error
message will pop up.

When this happens, drivers might call their supervisors to
address the problem, or keep the package in their truck and
return it to an Amazon warehouse at the end of their shift.

Drivers, in theory, could also choose to steal the package. The
error message means the package isn’t detected in Amazon’s
system. As a result, it could go unnoticed if the package went

“If you bring the package back, you are innocent. If you don’t,
you’re a thug,” said Sid Shah, a former manager for DeliverOL, a
courier company that delivers packages for Amazon.

Dummy packages are just one way that Amazon is trying to control
theft, which is a giant problem for the company — and all
retailers, for that matter.

Shrinkage — the industry’s term for losses attributable to theft,
error, or fraud — cost retailers nearly $47 billion last year,

according to the National Retail Federation

Amazon recently started delivering packages in customers’

. Both programs are designed to give customers more
options for delivery, as well as reduce theft rates.

The company has also been known to deter potential thieves by
showing its warehouse workers videos of colleagues being caught
according to a 2016 Bloomberg report

Amazon doesn’t say how many packages it loses to theft each year.
The company delivered more than 5 billion packages to Prime
customers worldwide last year. In a
2017 survey
, 31% of respondents said they had experienced
package theft.

According to the former Amazon logistics manager, the “dummy”
traps could be effective at catching thieves.

“We caught people not being honest,” he said.

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