Amazon Scams: How Can Sellers Stay Protected?

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Money makes people do some stupid — and illegal — things, including coming up with all sorts of scams on Amazon. But RepricerExpress is here to show you how to protect yourself, including some of the most common scams out there and what to watch for.

How common are Amazon scams? Depending on who you talk to and what time of year it is, there could be anywhere from dozens to hundreds of counterfeit Amazon accounts being made each day. And although Amazon takes good steps to improve legitimacy among buyers and sellers, scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. Here’s are the most common scams and how sellers can protect themselves.

Buyers Claim a “Failed Delivery”

This is a tough scam to deal with because it’s rooted in actual, real occurrences. Redditor /u/PresidentFartFeather posted a video of an Amazon delivery driver leaving — then stealing — the packages, while /u/octoberthug filmed a UPS driver opening a package and stealing its contents and /u/ZombieGoast5757 suspected someone of stealing their FedEx delivery.

Stolen — or “failed deliveries” — are so rampant, a former NASA engineer by the name of Mark Rober took matters into his own hands by pranking package thieves. He, like so many other buyers, had had enough of not receiving his packages.

Given these stories, it’s easy to sympathise with the buyer when they claim a failed delivery on Amazon. But how do you protect yourself from the scams? Use track-and-trace postage that requires the recipient’s signature upon receipt, which helps support your case during a dispute.

Buyers Claim a “Replace and Refund”

This scam is also rooted in legitimacy, as Amazon has an option for buyers to get their old or damaged item replaced for one promised in the condition described in the listing. However, what scammers will do (and this seems to be the most common in the gaming industry) is they’ll have an old, broken or damaged product already on hand, then show “evidence” of that with photos when they send in the damaged one.

Because products get damaged and broken when in transit regularly and it’s not the cheapest thing in the world to carry (damaged) duplicates on hand, how do you protect yourself from this scam? A really good way is to put a tamper-proof sticker on the product that tears when someone tries to detach it. Just make sure to mention that the product contains a warranty sticker in the listing — but don’t include a picture of it so that scammers get their own stickers.

Buyers Try and “Phish” You

Phishing is when someone tries to get personal information from another person with the aim of using it in a malicious or destructive way, usually by presenting themselves as a person or authority (like an Amazon employee). The podcast Reply All devoted an episode to phishing to show just how susceptible really smart people were to this scam, and the kinds of things you can do to protect yourself.

This type of scam gets more sophisticated and harder to see through all the time, but there are several steps you can take to avoid getting roped in:

  • Hover over the email address to see if the domain name is legitimate and matches the organisation. Some scammers have adopted the practice of putting an “r” right beside an “n” to make it appear like “m”, so enlarging your screen to see that little space in between can help. You can also google the email address or look it up on the organisation’s site to double-check that it actually exists.
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments unless you were expecting them, and even then, approach with great caution.
  • Let Chrome (or whatever browser you use) go through with their patch updates. They release these updates because of loopholes that phishers and scammers have discovered and implement a patch to protect you.
  • Report phishing scams to Gmail and Amazon if you suspect you’ve received one. With your email account (and Seller Central account), it’s a good idea to change your password regularly to a strong, hard-to-guess one to minimise your chances of your account getting hacked. It can be even better to turn on 2-step verification.

Buyers Try and Scam a Product via Email

Sometimes, you’ll get an email from a “buyer” questioning you about an order they placed. This is a really easy scam to avoid because unless something appears in the “Your Orders” part in your Seller Central account, you shouldn’t send out a product, simple as that.

In fact, you can just go ahead and delete that email and not think twice about it. Don’t even get tempted to respond and give the “buyer” a piece of your mind, because they want a response from you to try and get you more engaged in the scam. Just delete and move on.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the most common scams going on nowadays, with many other scams being variations on these ones. If you’re not using these self-protection practices, get started right now so it all becomes second nature quickly and you can ward them off before they have a chance to develop. Another way you can maximise the amount of money in your wallet is by using RepricerExpress, so sign up now to get your free trial going.

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Related: 6 Tips to Help You Prevent Ecommerce Fraud


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