Seller account breaches and forged products aren’t the only issues Amazon has to deal with on its e-commerce platform. Numerous Amazon sellers have proclaimed that many of the ‘just launched’ sellers on Amazon are marketing products that simply don’t exist, proposing a low price to tempt inexperienced shoppers. Genuine merchants are greatly irritated by the Amazon seller scams as they are frustrated to see the fraudulent competition. Some even think that it is an attack on Amazon, possibly corporate espionage.
With very few barriers to entry, there are thousands of Amazon sellers created each day. It is no surprise that the risk of seller fraud is at its highest. Several Amazon seller scams are reported each day, especially during the holiday season where the buyers go on a gift buying spree. Although the world’s biggest marketplace is doing everything in its power to crack down on fraud, putting severe checks and balances in place to put an end to this phenomenon, there are specific measures that Amazon sellers could take in order to ensure that their seller account is safe from scams, frauds, and fraudulent sellers.
However, Amazon interfering may create some disruptions in the form of investigation actions or a temporarily suspended account; some of these can be proactively avoided.
How did Amazon Seller Accounts get Compromised?
Every day loopholes or more ingenious Amazon seller scams are discovered and taken full advantage of. The scammers use several ways to lure the customers posing as a trusted brand or seller.
- Phishing Scam
The first form of how a Fake amazon seller account is created is through phishing. Online scams are famous and usually understood and the term phishing crops a lot. Phishing is when the Fake amazon seller just launched a fake Amazon page where they act as trusted sellers and attempt to get personal information from the buyers so that they can steal money or even their identity. Phishing frauds are very common in the Amazon marketplace with more refined methods of mining personal data.
It is extremely important for an Amazon seller to regularly navigate their account, their listings, and other aspects to prevent their Amazon Seller Account falling for a complex scam. Phishing emails are the most common way to hack into the account. These emails contain malicious viruses that extract private information and passwords from the devices being used.
- The Failed Delivery Scam
The failed delivery scam occurs on a frequent basis. Someone will purchase your product online and say that it didn’t arrive. Hence, they will claim either a replacement or refund. Apparently, in certain situations, it may be true, but it is crucial to take precautionary measures to inhibit it from happening to you that can affect your metrics and feedback.
Experts suggest when shipping expensive products to a customer, always send it through track-and-trace postage. It will help you protect in case of clashes by proving when and whether the ordered was delivered. Moreover, it also means that no product will be delivered without the signature of the recipient.
- The Replace and Refund Scam
This is another scam that Amazon sellers are vulnerable to. It works in a way that a buyer orders a product when it is delivered, he/she replaces it with a damaged one and asks the seller for a refund or replacement. This way the buyer gets either two products for the price of one or a product for free (if he/she asks for a refund).
It is almost impossible to prove that the product you delivered was working properly or was in top shape. The best way to overcome this type of scam is to perform a quality test and then attaching a damage-proof sticker on the product. If someone tries to remove it, it will tear.
- Email Scams
Email scams are the most effective yet most basic. It is extremely important to note that only dispatch items that appear in “Your Orders” list. If an order isn’t in the list, do not respond to the email and immediately delete it. Scammers create orders and ask the sellers for details about the shipping and payment. In the same way, if you get an email that you are unsure of that includes an attachment, refrain from opening the attachment and delete the email.
Amazon never asks its sellers for personal information and will not list buyers’ shipping address or email address. Most importantly, Amazon will never ask you to log in via an email. So, even if the email looks authentic, only access your account via Amazon.
Another thing about email scams is that it shows the sender’s email address. But it is just another way to lure you in. You can access the legitimate emails from the buyers in your seller central account. So it will be intelligent of you to ignore the messages and emails sent to you from non-Amazon means.
The best way to identify that the email is from a scammer is to check out the grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Amazon never sends emails that are not correctly written or formatted; the marketplace is very cautious of that. If you are still uncertain, simply contact the Amazon Support for verifying messages.
Sellers are the victims
Amazon will never question their customers regarding misconduct. Their ‘customer first’ policy is extremely lenient on the buyers because if they buy a product from you that is mint-in-condition and the buyer complains about it for being fake or not delivered; there is security from Amazon for full refunds. Amazon will either provide a full refund or order a replacement of the product.
Sellers are the core victims here with no reporting to Amazon, no access to the account, filing an appeal, thousands of dollars in debt, and long waiting time to get the money back.
Amazon refuses payment to merchants until they have confirmed sales from the Amazon seller accounts. That means you have to wait up to two weeks to get paid. Amazon warrants full refunds to the buyers if there are issues with the items delivered. But for sellers, the protection is minimal.
Read More About Protecting your amazon seller account:
- The Ultimate Guide to Protecting Your Amazon FBA Business From Hijackers
- 15 Things You Should Understand if you are in Amazon FBA Private Label Business
- 10 Most Effective Ways to Overcome Your Slow-moving Amazon FBA Sales
How to Protect Your Amazon Seller Account from Amazon seller Scams, Fraud, and Fraudulent Sellers?
Scammers know how to exploit the Amazon space they are trying to intrude. They are getting sneakier as they are using convincing means to retrieve information from the sellers. They are a threat to your Amazon Seller Account, so you need to take every step possible to protect yourself. Here are certain things you need to do.
#1 Preemptive Measures – Don’t give Amazon reason for Doubt
First and foremost, understand what the Amazon’s policies to tackle scammers are. Moreover, it is also important to recognize how fraudulent works. The most common misconduct the scammers do is opening an Amazon seller account, listing products at unbelievably low prices, and never actually shipping the products ordered. They do this all while collecting money from customers and receiving payments on Amazon’s 14-day payment cycle.
In most cases, it takes a while to identify that fraudulent activity has taken place. And only when the ordered product fails to reach the buyer and the seller fails to respond to the buyer, Amazon inquires about it by launching an investigation.
To combat such issues, the marketplace has developed fraud detection measures that lookout for red flags. These red flags constitute aspects like “Fake Amazon seller just launched” and changes in the critical seller information such as IP address, bank account, physical address, and contact details.
As an Amazon seller, a legitimate one, you need to be prepared with the documentation of proof, if you are planning on to make any of these changes. Moreover, if you have a designated Amazon Seller Account manager at the marketplace, communicate with them in advance to aid you to avert a possible account freeze.
Change of IP address: Amazon may doubt for misconduct if they find that you have accessed your Seller Account from a different IP address. It can happen if you are traveling or accessing your seller account from a different location.
Change of bank account: If you have switched your bank account in which you receive payments from Amazon, the marketplace will suspect you of fraud or hacking.
Change of physical address: When changing your business’s official address, make sure you have your rental agreement ready so that if Amazon contacts you considering malicious activities, you can prove your legitimacy before your account is suspended or frozen.
#2 Multiple Accounts – Delete Them
Some Amazon FBA sellers have old seller accounts that they don’t use anymore for whatever reason. Accounts that are not active or not in use are always a hot target for scammers. An old account allows the scammers to launch a Fake Amazon seller account with ease. They are easy to hack, and the scammers can use them to list hundreds of favorite items at low prices with lengthy delivery times. This way the scammer confirm the shipment, never dispatch the item and collect the payment before Amazon realizes. If this happens, Amazon can permanently suspend your seller account, and you might not be able to sell again on Amazon. So review your old accounts (if you have any) and close them down if necessary.
#3 Enable Two-Step Verification and Review User Access
The two-step verification is an extra security measure Amazon has implemented to help sellers from Amazon seller scams. It is more than just entering your password to access the account. The two-step verification process requires a 6-digit code to be sent to you through another system. The code is sent to your smartphone via apps like Google Authenticator or Authy.
Further, except you run your FBA business as a one-person team, you have multiple users logging in to your seller account regularly. So, ensure that everybody from your team has separate user access. Next, review the users and give permissions accordingly. For instance, inhibit users who don’t require access to critical information like user settings and bank account.
In case if you have any former employees, review their user accounts and delete them immediately. We are not saying that your former employees will have malicious intent to destroy your business, but there is a possibility that their account credentials can be easily stolen and used by a scammer to hack into your account.
We recommend you to have one login for administrative use and another with controlled access for daily use.
#4 Keep your Account Safe with Strong Passwords
To keep your online account safe preventing it from being compromised, follow the simple rules our experts have designed. They are easy and probably the best practice when creating a new account.
- Your password should be at least 16 characters formed uniquely with 1 symbol, 1 lowercase, 1 uppercase, and 1 number
- Avoid using the same password for all your accounts
- Prevent the web browsers from storing your passwords
- When using public Wi-Fi, do not log into digital payment wallets and other personal important accounts
- Avoid storing passwords in the cloud, instead, use a password manager like Zoho Vault or LastPass
#5 Stay on the Customers’ Good Side
If your product has many positive reviews, then you will be able to stay on top of the listings. On the other hand, it is difficult for the scammers to fake reviews. Be prompt in answering customer queries. When your customers reward you with positive feedback and reviews, Amazon sees you as a valued seller. On the other hand, if you think a scammer is posing as you, be open and honest about it in your product description. You can address the scamming in the product description to explain your potential buyers about the alluring deal they are seeing is too good to be true.
Amazon seller scams are scarier than it sounds. It can keep you from performing well on the marketplace while stealing all your profits. The best way to tackle this issue is to notify Amazon immediately after you experience such a thing.