OSINT Blog / Post

May 21, 2024

Outrageously Priced Wayfair Cabinets Lead to Human Trafficking Conspiracy

Wayfair, an online e-commerce platform specializing in home decor, has become the subject of internet human trafficking theories based on some exorbitantly priced cabinets. The sudden popularity of this conspiracy has been likened to a similar, now-debunked child trafficking scandal dubbed “Pizzagate” in 2016.

The story began last Thursday on the subreddit R/conspiracy when user PrincessPeach1987 posted screenshots of four poorly-photographed cabinets from a Wayfair trademarked private seller called WFX Utility Store. The cabinets averaged about $13,000 each and featured the names Neriah, Yaritza, Samiyah, and Alyvia. 

The post said, “Is it possible Wayfair involved in Human trafficking with their WFX Utility collection? Or are these just extremely overpriced cabinets? (Note the names of the cabinets) this just makes me sick to my stomach if it’s true.” 

For reference, a professionally photographed, nine-piece full kitchen cabinet set is $1,430 on the same website. 

Less than 24-hours after the original Reddit post, the story began trending in the United States as more social media users started to speculate if the cabinets were a front for selling missing children in plain sight. Twitter users found that the names of the cabinets, as well as one $9,999 Zodiac pillow, match up with children that are currently missing in the US. The plot thickened when, shortly after the story started trending, Wayfair deleted the four cabinets from its site. One Reddit user claimed that Wayfair deleted the listings after they’d reported Wayfair to a human trafficking hotline.

This cabinet mystery comes one year after about 500 employees walked out of Wayfair’s Boston headquarters to protest Wayfair profiting off of furnishing detention centers for migrant children. Because there have been issues of children going missing while in the custody of migrant detention centers, this only added fuel to the fire of the child trafficking conspiracy theorists. 

On the internet’s accusations, a Wayfair spokesperson said this in a statement to Business Insider: "There is, of course, no truth to these claims. The products in question are industrial grade cabinets that are accurately priced. Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from the site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point."

As with the Pizzagate scandal, the internet is now shifting from a conspiracy frenzy to proving that this is just a creepy coincidence. For example, many of the Wayfair items are outrageously expensive ($3,549 for a single bean bag replacement fill!). 

Other Reddit users came up with alternative, plausible theories. One wondered if, because Wayfair is a drop shipping company, sellers on Wayfair set high prices for their items simply because they can, or if the overpriced items are actually a front for laundering money. 

Whether it’s the truth or just a social media conspiracy, open source intelligence (OSINT) tools like Skopenow make tracking and identifying false information easy. Using a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing, Skopenow aggregates and analyzes all open web data to automate online investigations. Skopenow can set up monitoring alerts for keywords or people and highlight information from specific sources to discern credible facts from fake news. 

Skopenow is an analytical search engine that uses social media and open web data to provide actionable intelligence. Skopenow's platform identifies, collects, and analyzes public information on people and businesses by scouring millions of sources and data points. While Skopenow is built for use in insurance, government, and law, the product is also highly applicable in HR, real estate, and education.