What do I do if my Amazon account has been hacked?
Hacking is not as common as other issues for Sellers on Amazon - but it does happen, and it can be both daunting and damaging. So what should you do if you suspect that your account has been hacked?
Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey has vast experience of how Amazon operates, with the company experts in reinstating Sellers that have been suspended for a variety of reasons. One of those could be that you have been hacked - Amazon freezes accounts to protect themselves and you if they suspect a hacking has taken place.
Here he explains what you should do if you find your business in this position - and how best to avoid if happening in the first place.
Geed said: “You should receive an email if your account has been hacked or if you have been suspended for fraud. Even though hackers usually change the email addresses if they get into accounts, Amazon’s policy is to send warnings like this to the old email as well as the new email.
“If that happens, the first thing you should do is reach out to the Seller Support online, who should then pass you onto a telephone team that will help you reset your password and log in again if possible.
“Once in, they are looking to find a performance notification or case log file that states why you were frozen out. If an inventory has been removed, money dispersed or any other activity carried out without your consent, inform Seller Support immediately.
“If for any reason this method has been unsuccessful in getting you back into your account, send the Amazon support team messages on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook - usually there is a rapid response, and they send you a link to write up your problem so it can be sent to the right group internally.
“Now Amazon needs to verify you as the account holder - a hacker could be spoofing your email and pretending to be you. They could ask for a driver’s licence or passport, or even ask for a relative to vouch for you in some circumstances. Give them exactly what you want, it will speed up the process of getting you back online.
“Thompson and Holt would then strongly survive that you check your bank account and other business data to see if anything else has been stolen or hacked.
“The next step is to inform law enforcement in your area, and hand that filing number or crime number (depending on your location) to Amazon. It gives them some proof that you are taking steps to remedy the situation. The level of police interest in your case will depend on what you’ve had stolen, but Amazon need to know that you are taking the situation seriously.
“While doing all of this make sure you keep documented records - they could be useful in future, particularly if your hacking is serious enough to warrant legal action down the line. And they need to be part of your attempt to get back online.
“When you write to Amazon about the situation, write it like an appeal - tell them what steps you have taken already, not promises of what you will do. If you are struggling with the process then contact Thompson and Holt as we specialise in getting Sellers back online as quickly as possible in all situations.”
Compared to other reasons for Amazon suspension or account freezing, hacking is relatively rare. But it can be a traumatic situation, and there are steps that can be taken to avoid it happening at all. Here Thompson and Holt’s Gedey explains how.
The managing partner said: “It’s probably a good starting point to look at Amazon’s agreement with sellers in their words. It reads: ‘You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password and for restricting access to your account, and you agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account or password.’
Then look at taking these steps.
Fix your passwords. You need to be using at least 10 randomly generated digits, characters and lower/upper-case letters for your passwords. If you’re not, get a program like Roboform or LastPass and never repeat a password ever. It’s the safest way to stay safe.
Be aware of those around you. It’s a proven fact that statistically, the most hacking cases are carried out by a trusted employee or relatively. That might not sound nice, but it’s reality - any honest family or staff members will have no issue with you taking extra security measures.
Along these lines, turn on your Amazon 2-step verification. Many people turn it off because it’s seen as a pain, but have it turned on for every browser, every device, every time.
Otherwise, someone physically close to you or someone with control over your computer or phone can get into your account when you aren’t looking.
You can hire a security expert to examine your network at work and make recommendations for programs on your devices that can detect and protect you from hacking. Whatever your virus protection software and firewall, they are often not enough to stop a determined hacker.
If you’re really concerned about the prospect of hacking then you can hire a forensic computer analyst. They are very good at finding traces, can help in legal situations and have sophisticated data preservation techniques.
You can increase your own digital security by using a VPN when you are out of the office, including on your phone.”
If you are having difficulties getting back into your Amazon account because of a suspected hacking, contact Thompson and Holt immediately for their expertise.