Amazon thwarts 'smartphones-in-trees scam' surrounding its warehouses that saw contract drivers getting new delivery jobs before rivals due to handset's proximity

Amazon appears to have foiled a scheme setup by rogue contract drivers that gave them first dibs on new deliveries at a Whole Foods store in the Chicago area.
Some Amazon Flex drivers were ‘gaming the system’ by hanging smartphones in trees near the store, as the app uses proximity when choosing drivers to carry out new deliveries.
A report from Bloomberg reveals that days after the plot became public, a number of drivers across the US observed an uptick in routes when they were several miles away from Whole Foods stores and depots.
Other sources said that the dozens of smartphones that hung in the trees outside the Chicago grocery store have disappeared, along with people who were lurking on the premises.
Amazon is said to have changed a code in the app that placed a 'dead zone' around stores, blocking those in close proximity from receiving new order notifications. 
Amazon appears to have foiled a scheme setup by rogue contract drivers that gave them first dibs on new deliveries at a Whole Foods store in the Chicago area. Some Amazon Flex drivers were ¿gaming the system¿ by hanging smartphones in trees near the store, as the app uses proximity when choosing drivers to carry out new deliveries
Amazon appears to have foiled a scheme setup by rogue contract drivers that gave them first dibs on new deliveries at a Whole Foods store in the Chicago area. Some Amazon Flex drivers were ‘gaming the system’ by hanging smartphones in trees near the store, as the app uses proximity when choosing drivers to carry out new deliveries 
The plot was uncovered last week by Bloomberg, which found there were multiple devices synced to carry out a master plan.
Drivers believed their setup allowed them to stay under the radar, but it appears Amazon caught on and pulled the plug on their delivery scheme.

A person familiar with the firm’s delivery order system said the delivery ring was brought down by changing a few lines of code, which created a ‘dead zone’ around the Whole Foods store and Amazon distribution centers.
This allows drivers within a few miles of the location grab a delivery, but blocks those waiting in the parking lot.
The devices belong to contractors of the Amazon Flex app, which chooses drivers to carry out deliveries based on proximity to the grocery store ¿ giving those with a device in the tree first dibs at a new order
The devices belong to contractors of the Amazon Flex app, which chooses drivers to carry out deliveries based on proximity to the grocery store – giving those with a device in the tree first dibs at a new order
A report from Bloomberg reveals that days after the plot became public, a number of drivers across the US observed an uptick in routes when they were several miles away from Whole Foods stores and depots
A report from Bloomberg reveals that days after the plot became public, a number of drivers across the US observed an uptick in routes when they were several miles away from Whole Foods stores and depots
However, a source told Bloomberg that although the change is good for drivers, it increases delivery times that may be a burden on customers.
When the plot first surfaced on September 1, a person familiar with the matter said the setup is a work around for certain requirements, like having a drivers license - a Flex contractor will pay someone a small amount to take the route, while still taking a portion of the fee. 
Amazon advertises Amazon Flex as an opportunity to 'be your own boss' with drivers able to clock on and off whenever they please - and drives can make $18 to $25 an hour.
Other sources said that the dozens of smartphones that hung in the trees outside the Chicago grocery store have disappeared, along with people who were lurking on the premises
Other sources said that the dozens of smartphones that hung in the trees outside the Chicago grocery store have disappeared, along with people who were lurking on the premises 
A driver who has observed the phones hanging in trees said Amazon knows about it, 'but does nothing,' but after the reports surfaced on Sept. 1, it seems the firm has put a stop to the scheme
A driver who has observed the phones hanging in trees said Amazon knows about it, 'but does nothing,' but after the reports surfaced on Sept. 1, it seems the firm has put a stop to the scheme
Contractors wait for a new delivery to go through the app, accept it and deliver it to the customer's destination within 14 to 45 minutes. 
This service, however requires them to accept the new order immediately or someone else may snatch it.
Drivers told Bloomberg that the phones in the trees coordinate as one device that dispatches delivery routes to multiple drivers in the surrounding location.
These Amazon Flex workers who have seen the setup in the past believe there is someone acting as an intermediary between Amazon and the drivers, which is charging them a fee to obtain more deliveries – a process that is against Amazon's policies.
Amazon is said to have changed a code in the app that placed a 'dead zone' around stores, blocking those in close proximity from receiving new order notifications
Amazon is said to have changed a code in the app that placed a 'dead zone' around stores, blocking those in close proximity from receiving new order notifications  
Chetan Sharma, a wireless industry consultant, told Bloomberg that the 'perpetrators' are using these phones in the tree to spread around work to a number of Amazon Flex apps, in a bid to slide under Amazon's radar.
'They're gaming the system in a way that makes it harder for Amazon to figure it out,' Sharma said. 'They're just a step ahead of Amazon's algorithm and its developers.'
A person familiar with the matter said that the plan helps those without a license still make deliveries and get paid doing so.
Those working for Amazon Flex typically make $18 hour, so someone else can pay a third person $10 an hour to take the route and still make a small profit on the side.
However, a Flex driver who has been observing the smartphone in the tree trick said Amazon is well aware of the activity, 'but does nothing.'
Amazon thwarts 'smartphones-in-trees scam' surrounding its warehouses that saw contract drivers getting new delivery jobs before rivals due to handset's proximity Amazon thwarts 'smartphones-in-trees scam' surrounding its warehouses that saw contract drivers getting new delivery jobs before rivals due to handset's proximity Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:08 Rating: 5

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