Bots, Bots, Bots

The dangers of bots and those who cheat the system

It was at the beginning of the holiday season, you know that time period when they’ve hired all the new drivers and stop allowing all the seasoned drivers from seeing blocks. The perfect moment in the year to suddenly bring all the older drivers income to a screeching hault. Ushering in hundreds of new drivers to take on the influx of packages being ordered while quietly pretending they are in desperate need of help as if the thousands of drivers who already exist never really were. It was during this moment in which I expressed my frustration of lack of work to a friend who happened to be another driver. We weren’t close friends in the sense of time but rather in a friendly hello and text here or there.

“Yea, it sucks” she agreed. “Must be hard for you to compete against bots too”. There was something off about that sentence. Wasn’t she too having issues with bots getting all the blocks? “Ya” I replied. “Wish I knew how they were doing it”. There was no turning back. Off she went, spilling her secrets as if waiting for the ice to be broken. The need to tell someone her dirty little secret had been boiling at the surface and I had just given it the steam it needed.

“It’s called scripting” she rambled. “It’s a super fast way to get blocks. It intercepts the messages between the servers and the app and can refresh at a rate faster than human tapping. People like you who swipe don’t have a chance. It’s virtually undetectable and even if amazon does detect it, they don’t care. They just give out warnings. As long as blocks are being worked, they don’t care how we get them”. She went on to explain that she can even bypass selfies, remotely check in and see exactly who tips her and how much. If I wanted in, all she needed was my account username and password. Her script would then get a token from Amazon allowing her to successfully take control over my account. From there she would only charge $5 a 2 hour block and I could work as much or as little as I wanted. As tempting as it all sounded, I politely turned her down. But, I got to thinking. How is this not a top priority for Amazon?

As I began to dig into this world of scripting, I started to realize how easy it was. It also presents a very large problem for customers. To keep Amazon consumers safe, flex drivers have to pass background checks. From there, every 3-4 days or so we are required to take a selfie before our shift begins. This step is supposed to help eliminate sharing of accounts and fraudulent activity. By using a script, you have complete control over bypassing this step. This allows for anyone to use that account. Allowing for anyone to pick up and deliver consumers packages and groceries. Exposing millions of people each day to a potential risk. My friend also disclosed to me that since her husband was deactivated a year ago, he continues to drive and deliver under her account. They have been using a script for a couple of years and have never been caught. Never even issued a warning. She has checked in from home, bypassed selfies, stolen blocks, switched drivers…and nothing. Not even a warning email from Amazon. While Amazon Flex is busy deactivating, harassing and bullying drivers over their own app glitching, they are turning a cheek towards the blatant abuses of their own system. Ones that are ultimately putting their customers lives at risk.

Shown above, an example of a script program running behind the scenes of an Amazon Flex drivers account. The manual check-in option allows drivers to bypass the required selfie and check-in from a location outside of the “I’ve arrived/Parked” area.

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