Tech: Amazon’s identity-theft crisis

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Welcome back, readers. Reporting to you from New York, I'm your host, Jordan Parker Erb. Before we get started, I'd like to wish a happy birthday to the emoticon, which was born 40 years ago today. Nice :-)

Today, we've got an inside look at a niche underground market for used Amazon seller accounts — one where fraudsters are wreaking havoc and raising questions about identity theft. 

Let's get started. 

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A man with an amazon box over his head

1. People are being bombarded with return packages from Amazon customers. Several people who spoke with Insider said they've received hordes of Amazon packages from customers trying to return goods — all because rogue sellers stole their identities

  • Amazon has failed to verify the identities of many of its Marketplace sellers, allowing fraudsters to steal the information of people and businesses everywhere from Vancouver, Canada, to Pensacola, Florida. 
  • Insider spoke to six victims whose identities were used by fraudsters selling items like bargain-bin clothing and counterfeit goods. Some said that when they reached out to Amazon for help, the company did nothing.
  • Angry Amazon customers are buying and then returning dodgy products — and in doing so, they're bombarding strangers with monthslong deluges of mystery packages.

Inside the underground market for used Amazon seller accounts.

In other news:

Elon Musk as a 23-year-old senior at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, showing him happily wearing a Judge Dredd t-shirt in a fourth-floor study hall in one of the Quad towers.

2. Remember those photos of Elon Musk in college? Well, his ex-girlfriend just brought in more than $165,000 after auctioning them off last week. From a 14-karat gold necklace to a signed birthday card from Musk, here's how much she made from each memento

3. A leaked video shows Gopuff's plans to offer warehouse employees at least $5,000 in equity. In an attempt to keep employees loyal — especially those in its warehouses — Gopuff is offering them stock, provided they stay for two years. A look at the plan, internally dubbed "GoStock."

4. Google accidentally transferred a quarter of a million dollars to a blogger. The firm sent the blogger and security engineer nearly $250,000 — and took almost a month to ask for it back, chalking it up to a "human error." More on that here. 

5. Three VCs share how they've changed their investment strategies since the start of the year. We spoke with top sports, health tech, and wellness investors, who said they're still writing checks, but are evaluating companies more carefully amid uncertain economic conditions. Here's how their strategies have shifted.

6. Meta staff hit out at the Facebook owner's "cheesy" hot desking plans. According to The Independent, Meta said it would trial a "new workplace experience" that would require staff to book desks before they arrive at the office — and some metamates are not happy about it

7. An employee who was fired from Google shares what he should've done sooner. Grigory Yakushev was fired from the firm after a steep drop in productivity that he thought was caused by burnout. He later discovered it was undiagnosed depression, and now has advice for what to do if you're experiencing the same

8. The company that makes gifs said gifs are now "cringe." In filings with the UK's competition watchdog, Giphy said young users think gifs are "for boomers," and "out of fashion." Why Giphy has taken aim at its own product.

Odds and ends:

A model walks the runway at a NYFW show in 3 World Trade Center.

9. At New York Fashion Week, some styles got the metaverse treatment. "Love Island" stars and Web3 enthusiasts mingled at a NYFW runway show last week, where blockchain gaming company ChainGuardians debuted its first line of "phygital" clothing. See how Web3 and fashion merged at NYFW.

10. Spotify warned Apple Watch owners not to update their watch just yet. The new update, WatchOS 9, has a bug that breaks Spotify streaming, the company told customers. Everything you'll need to know.

What we're watching today:

Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

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