IMPERIAL, Mo. (KMOV.com) - A local man says he was alarmed by who showed up in his driveway claiming to be delivering packages for Amazon.
“Very nerve wracking,” said Jim Brown.
Brown is a techie guy, and protective too. Cameras surround his home in Imperial.
“I get a notification that there is motion and I see a car has pulled up on the driveway,” he said.
Recently, on two separate occasions, he noticed strange cars idling in his long, rural driveway.
“They sat there for 15 minutes before my wife showed up,” Brown said.
Neither car looked to be in good shape, one was damaged in the back. One only had temp tags; the other had no plates at all.
When asked what the drivers were doing there, both said they were delivery drivers for Amazon.
“I didn't see any packages in there, she was trying to tell me she was looking for a different address that was nowhere near the area,” he said.
Brown was highly doubtful. Instead, he wondered if something else was up.
“I don't know if they are scoping out the neighborhood to burglarize it, home invasion, if they are looking to steal Amazon packages,” he said.
The drivers were likely working for Amazon as independent contractors through a program called Amazon Flex. It’s kind of like Uber or Lyft, except instead of ferrying people, you're delivering packages in your own car and on your own time.
It’s an easy and flexible way to make money, according to Amazon.
Flex drivers are navigating streets in the St. Louis area, a spokesperson told News 4, and they're even hiring new drivers.
“I think it’s a bad idea, personally. Because now anyone can come up on your property and say 'I am delivering for Amazon,” Brown said. “Weird that they are having people do this in their own cars.”
Flex drivers are not required to wear branded clothing. There’s not necessarily a sticker on their vehicles like the ones on an Uber driver's car.
While they can show you a virtual ID on their phones, they may not be wearing a lanyard or ID card.
An Amazon spokesperson said the drivers are thoroughly vetted through a comprehensive, multi-state criminal background check and a review of their motor vehicle records.
The drivers are expected to follow all laws. Amazon said it has spoken to the delivery driver that did not have a license plate.
Even with all that, Brown said he's still a little concerned.
A spokesperson for Amazon told News 4 they make thousands of deliveries and most are made without any issue at all. They remind their customers they have a map-based tracking system that will alert you when you package is getting close so you know when to expect it.