How to deal with Amazon Seller scams
Amazon scams are far from a new phenomenon - but they are evolving into new issues for those that use the platform and could be a bigger issue than a suspension because there is very little you can do to undo the damage unlike a suspension where you can appeal an Amazon suspension.
In the past they may have been centred around money-transfer requests, but increasingly we are seeing new Amazon Sellers being targeted by scammers. Using a knowledge of how the site works, they can use highly convincing language within emails in an attempt to trick Sellers, especially those that are new to the Amazon world.
Because Amazon has become so successful, with thousands of new Sellers coming on board every single day, it has become a platform rife for people trying to make money out of it through online scams. Recent research by Marketplace Pulse has suggested that as make as 100 new counterfeit accounts are created every day.
So as Amazon Sellers what should you look out for and how can you deal with it? Thompson and Holt has vast experience of all areas of Amazon usage, and their managing partner Craig Gedey has identified three major scams on the site - and then outlined what you can do to safeguard yourself against all manner of attempted infiltration.
Three common Amazon scams
1. Amazon fake email scams
“These are still the most common kind of scams and can cover a variety of different approaches,” Gedey explains. “Basically Amazon hackers are attempting to secure your personal information. Always carefully check the email address, as scammers are now able to make it appear that an email has come from a certain sender when the email address itself is often a combination of random letters and numbers. This called Phishing and is a key indicator of a scam. Hackers send you emails containing links which when clicked, redirect you to a website that can acquire your private information and retrieve passwords.
“If you receive emails that have attachments you are unsure of, never open it and simply delete the email. Amazon will not ask for sensitive details via email. Thompson and Holt also advises that you never dispatch an product to a buyer unless it shows up in ‘Your Orders’. If an order hasn’t appeared there and you still receive an email about it, it’s a clear sign of a scam.”
2. The Amazon failed delivery scam
“This occurs when a scammer purchases a product online and then claims it hasn’t arrived,” Thompson and Holt’s Gedey says. “They then attempt to claim for a refund or replacement even though they have already received it. To protect yourself from this, ship any expensive products through track-and-trace postage, where the recipient must sign for the package on arrival.”
3. The Amazon replace and refund scam
“This is when a buyer purchases a product, but sends back an old or damaged version of the item and asks for a refund,” Gedey says. “This scam is often found in the gaming industry so Sellers in that field should be particularly aware. The way to avoid it happening to you is by performing proper quality tests and attaching a tamper-proof sticker, which are designed to tear if the buyer tries to detach them. They are available online and worth investing in. Once you have them, mention them in your product listing to deter attempts of this kind of scam.”
How to protect your business from Amazon scams
Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey has compiled five pro-active ways to avoid being scammed on Amazon.
1. Keep a strong password that meets Amazon password requirements
It sounds obvious but there are still people and companies that don’t follow this basic advice. Use a variety of letters, cases and numbers and change your password regularly.
2. Never share confidential information
Amazon will never, ever email and ask you for sensitive details for verification. This is already done at the time of registration or while logging into Seller Central. And if anybody purporting to be an Amazon representative emails or calls you and tells you to login with a 6-digit code that they provide, do not accept that code or make the huge mistake of entering it.
3. Pay close attention to the sender email ID or URL
As mentioned above, phishing scams and email frauds work together. Emails that you receive from Amazon are genuine and they will always have @amazon.com ending with their address. Hackers will try and use similar addresses that have key differences such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Even links can look authentic but they are shortened URLs that will take you to a different website. Never click on links or attachments from these emails and delete them immediately.
4. Enable 2-step verification
People have a tendency to turn this off because it can be cumbersome and time consuming - but it is undoubtedly one of the best ways to protect yourself from Amazon scams. It involves a random six digit number being sent to your phone and significantly increases the security on your account.
5. Report any suspected fraudulent activity to Amazon
Send an email to Amazon (email@example.com) the moment you suspect a fraudulent Seller activity. Write ‘Amazon Fake email', 'Fraudulent activity’ or ‘Possible fraudulent seller’ in the subject line and request an investigation, including the name of the Seller and a link to their store. You can also report suspicious activity from Sellers to the official Amazon’s seller community via their forum, which has a dedicated thread.
If you have found yourself Amazon account hacked, locked out or suspended from your Amazon account, contact Thompson and Holt immediately to get back online selling as quickly as possible.
To receive weekly Amazon Seller News and Tips updates sign up now