- A scammer paid off Amazon employees to help him hijack accounts, an internal memo viewed by Wired revealed.
- He "recruited our employees over LinkedIn and Facebook," Amazon's security team wrote in the memo.
- Amazon fired seven moles who were paid $160,000 by the fraudster, the report says.
The fraudster known as Krasr paid off moles inside of Amazon to help him hijack other sellers' accounts and copy their products, according to company documents reviewed by Reveal and Wired.
Krasr recruited Amazon employees "over LinkedIn and Facebook" and paid them a total of $160,000 over several years, a memo from Amazon's security team reportedly said. Upon discovery, the tech giant fired seven staff members caught working with the fraudster.
In an emailed statement to Insider, Amazon spokesperson Jen Bemisderfer said the company has invested billions of dollars to build systems and processes to keep data secure, adding that "the claims made in the Wired story are based on information that is outdated and out-of-context and have absolutely no bearing on Amazon's current security posture."
In one operation, Krasr — whose identity was reported by CNBC in 2017 as then-23-year-old Toronto resident Mohamed Multhazim Akbar Ali — hijacked a popular skin-care seller Pure Daily Care, the exposé revealed.
After Krasr copied the seller's top product and flooded its page with negative reviews, Pure Daily Care lost $400,000 and was forced to let go of half its employees, CNBC reported at the time. Ali did not respond to Wired's multiple requests for comment.
The internal memos in Wired's report bring to light the secret behind Krasr's schemes. His Amazon moles leaked customer data and product information while blocking and reinstating sellers at Krasr's request, Wired reported.
This allowed Ali to copy best-selling products while locking the original sellers out of Amazon — causing them to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. On some occasions, the moles even set up ransom schemes where Krasr would reach out to accounts he had kicked off and offer to "help" them regain control of their profile, the report says.
"Cash flow is dead," David Damavandi, the owner of Pure Daily Care told CNBC. "These guys are putting people out of business overnight."
Amazon reported Krasr to the FBI and hired a private investigator to "confirm his whereabouts," the security memo said, according to Wired.
"Amazon referred Krasr to law enforcement in 2018 as we would do whenever we identify fraudulent activity affecting our customers. As soon as we became aware of this malicious activity, we removed the associated seller accounts and we will continue to enforce and remove seller accounts who have relations with Mohammed Multhazeem Akbar Ali, should any of these surface in the future," Bemisderfer told Insider.
But this wasn't the only time Amazon located moles within its ranks. Two Amazon employees in China were involved in bribes and selling personal data, the new report revealed.