The secret world of Amazon 'fixers'

And more of the week's best business insight

(Image credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

Conned? Venmo still wants payment

Trying to recoup money from canceled payments, "Venmo has threatened to dispatch debt collectors against victims of scams," said Peter Rudegeair in The Wall Street Journal. Rachel Karpen-King discovered she'd been scammed after sending $2,500 via the popular payments app to imposters pretending to sell her software for a new job. Her bank stopped the payment. But Venmo threatened to report her to a collection agency if she didn't pay back the amount the app had already forwarded. Part of Venmo's appeal is that "transactions appear instantaneously in the app," even though the actual bank transfers take longer. Venmo fronts the payment, and some recipients pay a small fee to get it in their bank account more quickly — potentially leaving PayPal, which owns Venmo, on the hook when transfers are stopped.

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The secret world of Amazon 'fixers'

In what "sounds like a made-for-Netflix crime drama," six people were charged after allegedly bribing Amazon workers to access company secrets, said Spencer Soper and Isabelle Lee in Bloomberg Businessweek. According to the prosecutors, the ring "stole terabytes of confidential company data and devised ways to game the system so some merchants would get more business while their competitors got shut down." Other scammers "got products Amazon removed for safety reasons put back on the site." The enterprise "flourished for years" without Amazon's detection, revealing a "Wild West atmosphere rife with cutthroat tactics" on the world's largest online retail platform. One Brooklyn-based "e-commerce consultant" allegedly sent $8,000 in a suitcase to accomplices in exchange for confidential Amazon information.

Premature rumors of her demise...

A woman in Oregon was told by Wells Fargo that she had died, said Mike Rogoway in the Portland Oregonian — and that the bank had "taken it upon itself to tell three credit-reporting agencies." When Judy Cashner got a letter addressed to her estate saying, "We are sorry for your loss and understand this is a difficult time for you," she thought little of the "computer-generated snafu." But it turned out that the bank had been reporting her dead since 2019. "Cashner and her husband were in the process of refinancing their home," and their lender couldn't verify her income. It took weeks to resolve the problem, ultimately settled with a form called a "declaration of life." Still unclear: "how Wells Fargo got the notion that Cashner had died."

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