January 19, 2024

A Canadian man who says he’s been falsely charged with orchestrating a complex e-commerce scam is seeking to clear his name. His case appears to involve “triangulation fraud,” which occurs when a consumer purchases something online — from a seller on Amazon or eBay, for example — but the seller doesn’t actually own the item for sale. Instead, the seller purchases the item from an online retailer using stolen payment card data. In this scam, the unwitting buyer pays the scammer and receives what they ordered, and very often the only party left to dispute the transaction is the owner of the stolen payment card.

Triangulation fraud. Image: eBay Enterprise.

Timothy Barker, 56, was until recently a Band Manager at Duncan’s First Nation, a First Nation in northwestern Alberta, Canada. A Band Manager is responsible for overseeing the delivery of all Band programs, including community health services, education, housing, social assistance, and administration.

Barker told KrebsOnSecurity that during the week of March 31, 2023 he and the director of the Band’s daycare program discussed the need to purchase items for the community before the program’s budget expired for the year.

“There was a rush to purchase items on the Fiscal Year 2023 timeline as the year ended on March 31,” Barker recalled.

Barker said he bought seven “Step2 All Around Playtime Patio with Canopy” sets from a seller on Amazon.ca, using his payment card on file to pay nearly $2,000 for the items.

On the morning of April 7, Barker’s Facebook account received several nasty messages from an Ontario woman he’d never met. She demanded to know why he’d hacked her Walmart account and used it to buy things that were being shipped to his residence. Barker shared a follow-up message from the woman, who later apologized for losing her temper.

One of several messages from the Ontario woman whose Walmart account was used to purchase the goods that Barker ordered from Amazon.

“If this is not the person who did this to me, I’m sorry, I’m pissed,” the lady from Ontario said. “This order is being delivered April 14th to the address above. If not you, then someone who has the same name. Now I feel foolish.”

On April 12, 2023, before the Amazon purchases had even arrived at his home, Barker received a call from an investigator with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who said Barker urgently needed to come down to the local RCMP office for an interview related to “an investigation.” Barker said the officer wouldn’t elaborate at the time on the nature of the investigation, and that he told the officer he was in Halifax for several days but could meet after his return home.

According to Barker, the investigator visited his home anyway the following day and began questioning his wife, asking about his whereabouts, his work, and when he might return home.

On April 14, six boxes arrived to partially fulfill his Amazon order; another box was delayed, and the Amazon.ca seller he’d purchased from said the remaining box was expected to ship the following week. Barker said he was confused because all six boxes came from Walmart instead of Amazon, and the shipping labels had his name and address on them but carried a contact phone number in Mexico.

Three days later, the investigator called again, demanding he submit to an interview.

“He then asked where my wife was and what her name is,” Barker said. “He wanted to know her itinerary for the day. I am now alarmed and frightened — this doesn’t feel right.”

Barker said he inquired with a local attorney about a consultation, but that the RCMP investigator showed up at his house before he could speak to the lawyer. The investigator began taking pictures of the boxes from his Amazon order.

“The [investigator] derisively asked why would anyone order so many play sets?” Barker said. “I started to give the very logical answer that we are helping families improve their children’s home life and learning for toddlers when he cut me off and gave the little speech about giving a statement after my arrest. He finally told me that he believes that I used someone’s credit card in Ontario to purchase the Walmart products.”

Eager to clear his name, Barker said he shared with the police copies of his credit card bills and purchase history at Amazon. But on April 21, the investigator called again to say he was coming to arrest Barker for theft.

“He said that if I was home at five o’clock then he would serve the papers at the house and it would go easy and I wouldn’t have to go to the station,” Barker recalled. “If I wasn’t home, then he would send a search team to locate me and drag me to the station. He said he would kick the door down if I didn’t answer my phone. He said he had every right to break our door down.”

Barker said he briefly conferred with an attorney about how to handle the arrest. Later that evening, the RCMP arrived with five squad cars and six officers.

“I asked if handcuffs were necessary – there is no danger of violence,” Barker said. “I was going to cooperate. His response was to turn me around and cuff me. He walked me outside and stood me beside the car for a full 4 or 5 minutes in full view of all the neighbors.”

Barker believes he and the Ontario woman are both victims of triangulation fraud, and that someone likely hacked the Ontario woman’s Walmart account and added his name and address as a recipient.

But he says he has since lost his job as a result of the arrest, and now he can’t find new employment because he has a criminal record. Barker’s former employer — Duncan’s First Nation — did not respond to requests for comment.

“In Canada, a criminal record is not a record of conviction, it’s a record of charges and that’s why I can’t work now,” Barker said. “Potential employers never find out what the nature of it is, they just find out that I have a criminal arrest record.”

Barker said that right after his arrest, the RCMP called the Ontario woman and told her they’d solved the crime and arrested the perpetrator.

“They even told her my employer had put me on administrative leave,” he said. “Surely, they’re not allowed to do that.”

Contacted by KrebsOnSecurity, the woman whose Walmart account was used to fraudulently purchase the child play sets said she’s not convinced this was a case of triangulation fraud. She declined to elaborate on why she believed this, other than to say the police told her Barker was a bad guy.

“I don’t think triangulation fraud was used in this case,” she said. “My actual Walmart.ca account was hacked and an order was placed on my account, using my credit card. The only thing Mr. Barker did was to order the item to be delivered to his address in Alberta.”

Barker shared with this author all of the documentation he gave to the RCMP, including screenshots of his Amazon.ca account showing that the items in dispute were sold by a seller named “Adavio,” and that the merchant behind this name was based in Turkey.

That Adavio account belongs to a young computer engineering student and “SEO expert” based in Adana, Turkey who did not respond to requests for comment.

Amazon.ca said it conducted an investigation and found that Mr. Barker never filed a complaint about the seller or transaction in question. The company noted that Adavio currently has a feedback rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.

“Amazon works hard to provide customers with a great experience and it’s our commitment to go above and beyond to make things right for customers,” Amazon.ca said in a written statement. “If a customer has an issue with an order, they may flag to Amazon through our Customer Service page.”

Barker said when he went to file a complaint with Amazon last year he could no longer find the Adavio account on the website, and that the site didn’t have a category for the type of complaint he wanted to file.

When he first approached KrebsOnSecurity about his plight last summer, Barker said he didn’t want any media attention to derail the chances of having his day in court, and confronting the RCMP investigator with evidence proving that he was being wrongfully prosecuted and maligned.

But a week before his court date arrived at the end of November 2023, prosecutors announced the charges against him would be stayed, meaning they had no immediate plans to prosecute the case further but that the investigation could still be reopened at some point in the future.

The RCMP declined to comment for this story, other than to confirm they had issued a stay of proceedings in the case.

Barker says the stay has left him in legal limbo — denying him the ability to clear his name, while giving the RCMP a free pass for a botched investigation. He says he has considered suing the investigating officer for defamation, but has been told by his attorney that the bar for success in such cases against the government is extremely high.

“I’m a 56-year-old law-abiding citizen, and I haven’t broken any laws,” Barker said, wondering aloud who would be stupid enough to use someone else’s credit card and have the stolen items shipped directly to their home.

“Their putting a stay on the proceedings without giving any evidence or explanation allows them to cover up bad police work,” he said. “It’s all so stupid.”

Triangulation fraud is hardly a new thing. KrebsOnSecurity first wrote about it from an e-commerce vendor’s perspective in 2015, but the scam predates that story by many years and is now a well-understood problem. The Canadian authorities should either let Mr. Barker have his day in court, or drop the charges altogether.

81 thoughts on “Canadian Man Stuck in Triangle of E-Commerce Fraud

  1. John Neithercutt

    You don’t mention it, and I’m surprised, but Mr. Barker would only have to show the receipt for his purchase showing the money came from his own credit card account and went to the Amazon vendor to dispute this criminal charge. That would shift the investigation to the user of the wal-mart account to actually order the items since Mr. Barker paid with a different source. Is there some unreported reason he isn’t able to provide this? Amazon always keeps receipts and tracks your order, and banks will provide you with receipts for your purchases…..?

    1. Grey

      He already did. “Eager to clear his name, Barker said he shared with the police copies of his credit card bills and purchase history at Amazon. But on April 21, the investigator called again to say he was coming to arrest Barker for theft.”

    2. Rommel Andersson

      “Eager to clear his name, Barker said he shared with the police copies of his credit card bills and purchase history at Amazon. But on April 21, the investigator called again to say he was coming to arrest Barker for theft.”

      “Their putting a stay on the proceedings without giving any evidence or explanation allows them to cover up bad police work,” he said. “It’s all so stupid.”

      It sounds like Barker did exactly what you’ve suggested and it didn’t matter. They chose to arrest him despite the obvious evidence that he had paid to Amazon and somehow magically, the delivery came from Walmart instead.

      1. Sleepy

        Typical “cop thinking” – your actions “look guilty of a crime” therefore you MUST BE GUILTY of a crime. So not arresting you in relation to the case might get me (the cop) on charges or investigation along with a suspended badge.

    3. Jim

      As a Canadian, the open secret here is that he’s first nation by the sounds of it. There’s likely a big dose of racism at play here.

      1. Rob Macleod

        This. Non-Canadians often have no idea just how much BS the natives (Indians in US English) have to put up with — it’s on par with being black in the South. Just as one example, take a look at Starlight Tours — the police in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (the largest city in that province) used to deliberately take natives out of town in freezing weather and leave them to die of exposure. In the 1970s through to the early 2000s.

        1. nativefirst

          absolutely canada does have this major problem against first nations people there is a big deal of blatant racism at play here and they would never have taken it that far as they have with him if it was a middle class white man involved

      2. nativesfirst

        absolutely that’s what this is and they don’t care whatsoever that he was fired from his job and having trouble finding new employment because of the false arrest it’s absolutely disgusting

  2. Casey

    This happened to me, only on a much smaller scale. I bought an iPad on Amazon and about two months later got a call from a police department on the other side of the country. Someone had stolen a credit card from a car in Florida, went straight to Walmart and bought a bunch of devices and then sold them to someone on Amazon who turned around and sold the iPad to me. It took me quite a while to wrap my mind around what the heck the officer was telling me over the phone. Fortunately I’d kept the packaging it came in and sent pictures of everything to the police. And I had to promise not to post about it on social media until they’d closed the case. I never heard how it was resolved, but I did get to keep the iPad.

    1. Jasmine

      Your comment about being told not to post about the incident on social media was interesting to me. A friend’s young adult son was arrested a few years ago. Within a few days, it was decided and determined by the District Attorney’s office that the charges which had been filed against him would be dropped. The public defender who had been assigned to his case told him repeatedly “Never discuss this case on social media because if new evidence ever came out, you could be charged again with the crime.” The young man listened to this advice and has never discussed the events at all with anyone except his mother.

    2. Bill Nye

      this is not quite the same thing, as the fraud detailed here is essentially drop-shipped. The fraudulent store is arbitraging the transaction at 100% of the Amazon price. They could even sell at very attractive prices since their cost is essentially zero.

  3. AJT

    He did show the police his credit card statement and receipt: “Eager to clear his name, Barker said he shared with the police copies of his credit card bills and purchase history at Amazon.Eager to clear his name, Barker said he shared with the police copies of his credit card bills and purchase history at Amazon.”

  4. RCMP

    “ The Canadian authorities should either let Mr. Barker have his day in court, or drop the charges altogether.”

    The crown can either drop or stay a charge and most choose to stay if they feel that more evidence later can meet the bar of a successful conviction. The crown has one year to bring the case to court again and over 90% of cases don’t. He’s got the best outcome here and the record is removed after 1 year.

    1. Moike

      > He’s got the best outcome here

      Except for being unemployable for an extended period, through no fault of his own, but rather an inexperienced investigator.

    2. RWKOS

      His life seems to be a mess as a result of prosecutorial incompetence and investigative thuggery. Lost job. Blocked prospects. That is far from a best outcome. Too bad the system protects itself.

  5. teksquisite

    Good catch, John.– Now I’m curious about the order details too! From Amazon:!Orders > view order details > payment information.

    Brian, thanks for another great read!

  6. John Wills

    As a Canadian I’m shocked that the RCMP would behave in this way and that the justice system would allow/support it!

    As a consumer and home cybersecurity enthusiast I wonder about a solution to this type of fraud. Should consumers only buy goods on Amazon’s site that are both sold by AND shipped by Amazon? With ever increasing supply-chain complexity and fraud innovation I’m thinking the fewer 3rd-parties involved, the safer you are.

    This post (and previous ones on credit card theft) makes me think global supply-chain fraud in all its flavours and processes would make a fascinating book, with topics (and examples like this) on Triangulation fraud, Spear-phishing BEC , Software Library compromise, etc…..

    Thanks for another illuminating post, and all the work you do !

  7. Micheal

    I’m not surprised that the RCMP is treating someone from/working for a First Nation like this. Guilty until proven innocent is still far too common.

  8. Billy Bob

    I agree with John Neithercutt. If you’re signed into Amazon, you can see details regarding every order, whether your order has Amazon as the seller or a third party selling on Amazon. You can print out an invoice of every order.

    Something is off with this story…

    1. Tim Barker

      The details of the order and payment were provided on day 1 of the “investigation”. The cop ignored them and later verbally berated me for blacking out other line items not pertinent to the purchases in question (as I was directed to do by my lawyer).

    2. DaveM

      I agree with your agreement. There is something wrong here and it feels as if we are not getting the whole story. I’ve bought tons of stuff from Amazon over the years and the very few times I’ve had an issue with an order, Amazon has quickly cleared things up. It seems that even though Mr. Barker had been contacted by the victim and by the police, he never bothered to call Amazon which would be the very first thing most of us would do. And how did the credit card fraud victim get Mr. Barker’s contact information? When you file a complaint with your credit card issuer you simply tell them the transaction was not authorized by you and they’ll take if from there. “Big Bank Visa” does not immediately respond with “oh here’s the name and address of the guy who ordered stuff from Walmart using your card”. In fact they don’t have or provide this information at all. “Big Bank Visa” simply credits your account, charges the amount back to Walmart and it becomes Walmart’s problem from there. Mr. Barker claims that when he finally tried to contact Amazon about this issue (at least a week later), the Third Party seller was no long listed. That doesn’t matter – the original order details are still there and all he needs to do is identify the original order when he complains to Amazon. He can’t find the option he wants on Amazon’s Help page? There is an option there to speak to an Amazon employee (and that option is buried in there a bit, it it is there). For being some sort of business professional, he sure seems naive about how credit card transactions and online commerce works.

      1. Moike

        > And how did the credit card fraud victim get Mr. Barker’s contact information?

        The card owner’s Walmart.ca account was hacked and the drop ship was added as an additional ship address. So it was immediately available to the card owner.

        I’ll agree that Amazon would have been of more help if contacted directly sooner, but I’m guessing that the seller had been booted soon after the transaction from another report (and ideally didn’t get any of the money).

      2. a

        The credit card holder was able to see Mr. Barker’s info in her walmart account, apparently.

      3. Nick

        I once had a card used to order beauty supplies and, when I disputed the transaction, I was sent the full details by the merchant, including the name and address of the recipient.

    3. Anon E. Moose

      “Something is off with this story…”
      Yeah it’s the bad policework.

  9. David Stroy

    What’s also been going on is Amazon gets “bin stuffed” by people shipping empty product boxes or boxes with crap in them like headphones, etc, and they mix them in the fulfillment centers with other sellers stuff, so people receive empty boxes at their house and now Amazon forces people to file a police report and then denies the validity of the police report and they come after the buyers for the payment. They are doing the same to packages that get stolen off porches by their drivers or other thieves. What’s not funny about it is that the people filing police reports often have no evidence that it was a crime, so therefore are opening themselves up to filing false police reports to deal with undelivered packages.

  10. DaveM

    This is also known as “drop selling” where an Amazon 3rd party vendor takes your order and then turns around and orders the item(s) from Walmart or Target, or wherever, and gives your name, shipping address and your payment information to Walmart. This is perfectly legal and Amazon permits it for some reason. As Mr. Barker found out the hard way, things quickly go south if the Drop Seller gives Walmart the stolen credit card info rather than his Amazon payment info. A major mistake Mr. Barker made was not immediately notifying Amazon about the issue as soon as he got off the phone with the lady whose card had been stolen called him. As soon as he got off the phone with Amazon, he should have then called the police and ask that a crime report be taken. And start documenting everything. And finally, if the shipment arrives, refuse the delivery and return it.

    Going off topic slightly here; I’m retired law enforcement and advice I always give to family and friends is to never talk to the police if you think you are being considered as a suspect in a crime. The instant you realize that the officer indicates that he is considering you as a suspect, shut your mouth and politely and firmly tell the officer “I have nothing to say without my attorney present” and keep saying it. The officer will make all sorts of threats (“If you are innocent, why do you need a lawyer?”) but stand your ground. I don’t care if you are as innocent as the day you were born, an experienced interrogator will have you confessing to every crime committed in the past five years before you even know what happened. If the officer follows through on his threat and takes you to jail (very unlikely), an overnight stay in a jail cell until you can see your attorney in the morning is much more preferable than 15 years in prison.

  11. A. Reader

    Is it ever the case that an Amazon purchase would legitimately show up on the card account statement as a Seattle ATM withdrawal? This used to happen with mine.

  12. Gigi

    I only use Amazon to search for a specific type/item of product to read reviews, see competitors products, and get price comparisons. Never buy from an overseas vendor, especially big brands like Walmart just go to their website or local storefront for what you want or need. Amazon is an endless scam waiting to happen and doesn’t seem any vetting of vendors takes place except via complaints. The scammers can reopen new fake accounts easily.

    Also, don’t use personal cards for online business or organization purchases. Legitimate well run entities should have established purchasing procedures. The Band he worked for should take responsibility for allowing this to happen by not having proper policies, procedures, and training in place. If he is still on “admin leave”, his lawyer should discuss their liability with the Band leaders. They may not hire him back, but he could get lost wages and damages via settlement or lawsuit.

    1. RWKOS

      I agree, if all is as portrayed, the band unwittingly set him up professionally by not having better controls and let him down personally .

  13. Gretchen

    Seems the unspoken RCMP bias towards the First Nation are still showing their ugly colours….

  14. Mark F.

    That’s a long year to wait. The state shouldn’t have the power to put a person through that. Either prosecute or clear his record. Same problem with arrest records – there’s no proof that the person did anything wrong, yet apparently the record can be used against him. I’m sure arrest records are at times useful to police, but they shouldn’t be visible to anyone beside the police.

  15. Mahhn

    Just more evidence that amazon is the cesspool I see it as. Only bought one thing on that pos platform- to support a friends book. And even then I got a debit card for that one purchase to keep my risk to a minimum. If I can’t get it locally or order from a legit source, I go without. amazon is way to scamy for me.

  16. Red

    After getting the irate messages, why didn’t Mr. Barker contact the police or Amazon because he knew there was fraud? What happened to the playsets – were they seized or returned to Walmart? How would a third party profit from this scenario? It’s not the same as using a stolen credit card to buy items and then resell them.
    I have to agree with others who said this story is off or missing details. Where did the money go and who is out of pocket here? Credit card companies are fierce when it comes to clawing back payments when fraud is involved.

    1. Tim Barker

      The real thief pocketed the money off my credit card from Amazon. He then fulfilled the order with stolen card numbers. Normally the card holder complains to VISA/Mastercard and it is reversed and the original buyer never knows. So, it is an indirect way for criminals to get cash from a stolen card. In this case, the real thief hacked into a person’s WalMart Account and used the card stored on file there.

      The RCMP seized one box. The Band got the rest.

      I did not see the irate messages until a couple months later (I had previously not used Messenger). Amazon doesn’t care – this is not really their issue. The vendor told them that the product was released so Amazon hit my card and gave the vendor his share. Amazon cares not for where or how that vendor sources their inventory and they have no control over it. The real thief should have used the money he got from my card to make the purchase and he should have put his name down as the purchaser.

      I did not know really why I was arrested until the end of June when I finally received disclosure. I was charged and the cop refused to discuss details. Two days after the arrest, I figured out triangulation fraud was obviously happening but thats all. Legal advice was to do nothing at that point.

      I am not of First Nation heritage.

    2. Ed

      “ How would a third party profit from this scenario?”

      They have pocketed the first guy’s money and then used stolen cars to pay for the goods. It’s literally 100% profit.

    3. Moike

      > Where did the money go and who is out of pocket here? Credit card companies are fierce when it comes to clawing back payments when fraud is involved.

      Most likely WalMart was the one left holding the bag. The credit card company had no visibility into the 3-way Amazon transaction and could only revert the Walmart payment.

  17. Lindy

    Whoaaa…. this looks like a case of guilty until proven innocent, from the article and the comments. ( I know, Barker is in Canada, but I’m pretty sure the correct principal exist in Canada too.) Walmart is KNOWN to have terrible security measures to protect their customers, and is often used as a pass-thru for these crimes due to their laissez-faire attitude. (They make money off these transactions so who cares, right?) I hope that Mr Barker has gotten his job back or a BETTER ONE by now. It just goes to show … no good deed goes unpunished!

  18. skepticalShopper

    This happened to me too on Amazon. I bought a tool for around $40, it was delivered and I thought everything was fine. 2 months or so later I get an overdue invoice from a tool company for ~$80. When I called the company to figure out what it was for, we tracked it down to what the product was and when I explained I had bought it on Amazon for $40 the guy knew right away what the situation was. The seller had taken my $40, opened an account w/the tool company in my name and ordered the product with the bad credit card. Since 2 months had passed it was past amazon’s return window (though I did report it to amazon) and the seller’s account was long gone anyway.

    The tool company was really good about it and closed the account and declined my offer to return the tool to them so they ate the loss.

    To me that was probably right for them to take the responsibility. As an amazon customer there was absolutely no way to tell the difference between that and a regular transaction, and the tool company messed up in that they allowed this fraudulent account to be created without any kind of verification and shipped out the product before having a solid payment in hand.

    I still shop on Amazon, but these days I try to stay away from the 3rd party sellers and just do stuff that is actually sold by Amazon and in their hands.

  19. T Smith

    The only surprise here was that Mr Barker didn’t “accidentally” get a concussion “resisting arrest” during the pointless 5 minutes he was made to stand out to make sure the neighbours could see.
    An Indigenous man and RCMP K Division = no way he is getting a proper investigation.
    The investigating officer probably thought he hit the jackpot, an Indigenous man and most likely an address on the reserve. Guilty, no further work needed, any investigation might mean missing a Timmies break and mess up a “cut and dried case.” I’m sure they stayed the proceedings because the Prosecutor took one look and said “There is no evidence and no case. What the F**K have you been doing?” and the officer had to cover his ass.
    John Willis, I sincerely hope your statement “As a Canadian I’m shocked that the RCMP would behave in this way and that the justice system would allow/support it!” was sarcasm.
    If it wasn’t, I wish I lived in your world, because I’m a middle class white man in Alberta and I not at all shocked, just based on my own observations, never mind the first hand stories I heard from Indigenous friends in university.

    1. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

      You might have missed Mr. Barker’s previous comment where he states: “I am not of First Nation heritage.”

  20. cam

    His order ID is missing the first 3 digits in the screen shot. I’m assuming it’s censored for the story but otherwise if a censored order number was handed to the police, I’d assume the invoice was forged

  21. Harpy

    This story is so upsetting to me. How can you be an investigator and not even bother investigating for triangulation fraud? I’m convinced he’s telling the truth, Barker has the receipts. Give the man a court date to clear his name, they’re putting it on hold and it’s unfairly punishing him and his career. I hope he’ll be reimbursed one day.

  22. Missy

    I am new to this and please don’t beat me up. I read the incident regarding Mr. Barker but I don’t understand how this is fraud? If it is fraud, why was the product shipped to his house? If crooks were involved, wouldn’t they just keep the money and why would they bother to send him products he ordered. I think I am missing something. Thank you guys.

    1. Fr00tL00ps

      Hi Missy

      For the uninitiated these types of scams can seem complex on the face of it, which is why even law enforcement couldn’t get their head around it and have laid the blame squarely on Mr Barker pending further investigation. However it is quite cunning in its simplicity. Let’s break it down to the 5 entities involved minus law enforcement.

      Victim 1 – Tim Barker
      Victim 2 – Female owner of hacked/compromised Walmart account
      Online Platform 1 – Amazon
      Online Platform 2 – Walmart
      Bad Actor – Person responsible for the legitimate “Adavio” third party reseller account on Amazon AND presumably the person who also had gained access to Victim 2’s credit card details through their compromised Walmart account.

      This last part is important because it is how the bad actor has played switcheroo and managed to confuse everybody involved, including law enforcement.

      Victim 1 has made a legitimate purchase of items listed on the Bad Actors “Adavio” Amazon account. The Bad Actor does not actually have these items in stock and just pockets the cash for their own gain, but Victim 1 does not know this. All they know is their credit card has been debited and they are awaiting arrival of said purchase.

      Meanwhile, the Bad Actor who has access to Victim 2’s compromised Walmart account and stored credit card details, orders exactly the same items from Walmart as Victim 1 purchased through Amazon. This time however they change the Victim 2 Walmart delivery address to the Victim 1 Amazon delivery address – the switcheroo.

      Weeks later;
      Victim 1 receives said purchase from Walmart instead of Amazon. Scratches head. Delivery order is correct. Thinks nothing of it.
      Victim 2 realises her credit card has been charged for items she has never purchased. Contacts Walmart who informs her of Victim 1’s delivery address.
      Victim 2 contacts Victim 1 and accuses him of fraud. Inept law enforcement get involved believing Victim 2 verbatim without further investigation and now Victim 1 is in a world of pain.
      Victim 2 actually paid for Victim 1’s items and Bad Actor pockets Victim 1’s payment and walks off Scot free.

      1. Florence M Russell

        Oh my gosh!! You nailed it. You broke it down and now I understand. How do you think Victim 1 be able to clear his name? He is innocent and assumed he was making a legitimate order. How do we protect ourselves from things like this happening. I shop on Amazon all the time. I would hate to try to clear my name, especially when I did not believe I was doing anything wrong.

        Ok, if Victim 1 was using his own credit/debt card for the purchases, why did Adavio use the female’s information when they just as easily could have used his. Thanks again!!

        1. Fr00tL00ps

          “How do you think Victim 1 be able to clear his name?”
          I’m not familiar with the Canadian Legal system, but I suspect the more people that fall victim and therefore greater community awareness of this type of fraud occurs, will authorities be forced to take a different approach. Every online transaction leaves a digital trail of some sort, it’s just the RCMP never bothered in their responsibility to investigate Tim Barkers claims. Remember, he is a victim here also. They have the resources to do so, he doesn’t. Only time will tell in his case unfortunately, as authorities play the never ending game of catch up with technology misuse from bad actors.

          “How do we protect ourselves from things like this happening?”
          Education. Citizens in first world countries will always be easy targets for cyber threats from third world countries for obvious reasons. Our penchant for convenience ie, online shopping and one click purchases lowers the standard for good quality cyber hygiene. The more steps you as a consumer has go to through for a purchase is more steps a bad actor has to go through to replicate that process. The harder it is for them, the more likely they give up and move on for easier targets.
          1. Use a Password Manager. Never repeat passwords and change critical passwords regularly.
          2. Avoid third party resellers on platforms. Question EVERYTHING on social media. Not sure? Google it. Don’t click blindly.
          3. Use an email protection service like DuckDuckGo’s @duck.com. Never give out your real email address, hide it behind this one.
          4. Do not store credit card or bank account details in online accounts, EVER.
          5. Use financial payment services such Paypal or Privacy.com with 2 Factor Authentication enabled – preferably with a hardware key (like Yubikey/Google Titan) and not SMS or email authentication.
          I’m sure regular commenters here may add more suggestions, but the above 5 points should keep you relatively safe from 99% of online threats, unless you are being specifically targeted, but that is a totally different set of circumstances.

          “if Victim 1 was using his own credit/debt card for the purchases, why did Adavio use the female’s information when they just as easily could have used his”
          Being a third party reseller Adavio wouldn’t have had access to Victim 1’s credit card details because Amazon would have processed the transaction on their behalf and forwarded the funds. Even if they had access and then used them in the Walmart transaction Victim 1 would have been billed twice raising alarm bells earlier and risk a transaction reversal. Adavio needed access to both Victim 2’s compromised account and Victim 1’s legitimate sale to perform the switcheroo, sow confusion and rely on some administrative delay to cover their tracks.

    2. Halbax

      It is easy to steal credit card numbers but its not easy to convert those card numbers into cash. If you buy products and return them they they put the refund on the card, and you risk video cameras at stores. You can buy things and resell them, but the items have to be shipped somewhere that can’t be linked to you, which is difficult to pull off. So in this case, the person who stole the card sells items on Amazon, collects payment, and then uses the stolen card to buy the item to fulfill the order.

    3. Mahhn

      Because the crooks don’t rob “one” person, they want to do this over and over and over. By getting people the product they keep their store reputation up longer and scam more people. The fraud is that the scammer pockets money from the purchaser and uses other people stolen info (call it a debit card holder) to purchase the items.
      The fraud victim is the debit card holder, the criminal is the sales person, the scape goat is the person that ordered the item.

    4. Harpy

      I’ll walk you through the criminal’s thought process. The criminal has access to a hacked walmart account. They could buy themself stuff with it but that would be obvious and get them into trouble. So how can they steal money from the hacked account?

      The answer is they use it to buy other people stuff. So why even fulfill people’s orders?

      1. They’ll get bad reviews if they don’t send anything.
      2. Nobody likes to buy from an account with bad reviews.
      3. Their Amazon seller’s account isn’t going to last as long if they don’t send anything.

      By actually shipping items bought with the hacked Walmart account, they can utilize it into gaining popularity on Amazon, make more sales and cash out from the stolen account.

  23. SArrington

    Banks should have a system which keeps a phone, cell phone and email address linked to every card. When a transaction occurs, the owner of that card should be required to confirm the charge or decline it. Some are offering this now. If the bank doesn’t, the. They should end up with eating the cost of this type of fraud. Merchants don’t want this type of fraud check because they are striving for frictionless customer experience to increase their sales. This guys should have never been charged and Walmart should be left holding the bag for the fraudulent charge, although ultimately the bank should in my opinion.

  24. Phineas Fudrucker

    This is one reason I avoid Amazon for any product other than Kindle books, occasional streaming, and small, low cost, products. This is not a new problem and Amazon knows about it. I strongly suspect they just don’t care much since they profit either way.

  25. J

    For me, there’s another larger lesson here: Amazon is packed full of all types of scammers and should be avoided when possible.

    I try to buy products directly from manufacturers nowadays because most, if not all, of them have free shipping in the U.S., just like Amazon. Plus, now that Amazon collects sales tax in the U.S., it hasn’t had that advantage for years.

    When I do buy from Amazon, I try to buy from a manufacturer’s own Amazon storefront, but more often I look there then bounce to the manufacturer’s site.

    I never buy printers, iphones, ipads, printers, computers, large networking gear or anything expensive from Amazon. If the price seems too good to be true, the iPad is likely part of a scam or an old model unsupported with Apple iOS security updates.

    For junk I do buy from Amazon, e.g., shaving razors, seat pads, a paper shredder, I vet the Amazon merchant intensely, including reading all one-star reviews.

    I slowly stopped trusting Amazon when they started allowing resellers from China, which deluged Amazon with bait-and-switch scammers (advertise one product but shipping a counterfeit or other model). Then Amazon went further downhill as drop-shipping manipulators flood in.

    Almost everything on the internet that becomes popular eventually gets overrun and ruined with scammers and douchebags who take advantage of the automated trusted environment.

    Automation lets big tech scale, but opens the doors to manipulation, as we see with the entire automated ad system abused by scammers, automated merchant enrollment, review dispute resolution, youtube copyright takedown notices, ad infinitum.

    If it scales, it will stale.

  26. PaulBart

    So the billing address(of the stolen card) does not match the delivery address(of the victim)…and no flags are going off on any system, specifically, Walmart’s. Further, how was the CVV obtained, or is Walmart storing this?(CVV being stored is in compliance with PCI?)
    Then cops do what cops do best and go after easy low hanging fruit, cuz can’t find real perp, this takes work, and bracelets don’t fit on a Walmart Store entity.

  27. John

    — “In Canada, a criminal record is not a record of conviction, it’s a record of charges and that’s why I can’t work now,” Barker said. “Potential employers never find out what the nature of it is, they just find out that I have a criminal arrest record.” —-

    In Canada, It is illegal for an employer/landlord/etc to ask or search online about criminal history.
    The only exemption is for a bonded employee (handles financial transactions).

    Canada does have laws against false arrest, threats of violence by Police, incompetent investigations, and is done by a somewhat third party for investigating crimes by Police. Providing proof about your life/finances being ruined by the Police, is fun. This third party prefers you to have been battered with visible evidence of injury for a winning case.

  28. Dangit

    Why the difficulty in clearing his name? That’s a rhetorical question.
    After he demonstrated that he was also a victim of the fraud (he paid for the goods), the police ignored it. Why? He’s low-hanging fruit.
    One or two comments hinted at an insidious form of police corruption, which has been the elephant in the room forever. Career progress metrics. Everyone who is at the receiving end of the attention of a police officer (from a traffic cop to a ”senior investigator”) must keep in mind that the officer’s priority is career progress, and you are a step in the ladder. Aside from the most egregious cases, a botched investigation counts as a successful investigation. A mistaken arrest counts as an arrest. I think we can all recall stories in the news in which an officer who did the wrong thing ended up getting a promotion. Competence and honesty is not necessarily rewarded. Senior police administrators who rise through the ranks have little incentive to correct this flaw (corruption) in the system. Oh yeah, and prosecutors are part of the same system.

  29. GEO

    Everybody accused of a crime is innocent. Don’t you know that?

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