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Amazon at war with seller scams, bad employees, and data leaks

By Cal Jeffrey · 15 replies
Dec 11, 2018
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  1. Anonymous sources allege these employees were accessing internal data and selling it to “disreputable merchants.” The sellers were then using the information to sabotage competitors’ listings and surface their own products higher in search results than they otherwise would normally.

    A spokeswoman for Amazon told WSJ the company is pulling out all the stops against those trying to harm shops on the site. It has already deleted thousands of bogus reviews, tightened access to customer data on the website, and crippled methods used to gain fraudulently higher search results. The company has even employed machine learning and other tools to block malicious behavior before it happens.

    “If bad actors abuse our systems, we take swift action, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, taking legal action and working with law enforcement,” the spokeswoman said.

    "This year, U.S. shoppers are on track to spend $124.1 billion online, 15% more than last year. Roughly half that spending takes place on Amazon."

    Despite Amazon’s efforts, some sellers are still sabotaging competitors by flagging their wares as counterfeit or trademark infringing. While this does not permanently disable the competitor, it does cause the product listing in question to be taken down while Amazon investigates, resulting in lost sales.

    Sellers are also purchasing wholesaler accounts on the black market. Some Chinese companies are selling these accounts for up to $15,000 or rent them for $1,500 per month, WSJ reports.

    These accounts allow a holder to make changes to wholesaled product en masse through the Amazon Vendor Central system. For example, the holder can change the image of a product and that image will adjust for every seller who used it across the entire website. Some are using this to sabotage multiple competitors at once.

    It is hard to find all of the bad players though. Amazon has an estimated three million sellers all receiving a ton of traffic. According to analysts’ estimates, shoppers in the US are set to spend $124.1 billion online this year, which is up 15 percent over last year. Nearly half of that money will be spent on Amazon. So, Bezos and crew, have their work cut out for them.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2018
  2. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    Which is why I have been buying less and less from Amazon anytime I care about receiving a quality product; recreational equipment, name brand clothing (I mean, they're even counterfeiting undershirts now), anything electronic, etc.

    More and more, I am going straight to the OEM or a reputable 'olde fashioned' specialty store.
    Clamyboy74 and senketsu like this.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,714   +2,513

    Its gotten so bad I'm getting half my refurbed stuff from Ebay now. EBAY.
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    It's just easier to find official products and refurbs on eBay. If it's sold by Acer it will have a big acer logo right next to the listing. For Amazon they throw everything into a single listing and all prime products are intermingled. So for example if one seller is using FBA with counterfeit products while another is using legitimate products, they both get mixed and which one the customer gets is random. On top of that they do not make who the seller is clear enough. You may be buying that notebook new from it's product page on Amazon but it could be from any seller.

    Amazon's got some serious issues it needs to fix.
    Clamyboy74, mbrowne5061 and Dimitrios like this.
  5. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,237   +1,438

    The unstoppable force that is human nature's built in corruption. Watch it in awe.
    Clamyboy74 and senketsu like this.
  6. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 770   +293

    I generally buy from Amazon Prime. So far, no issues.
    Hexic and p51d007 like this.
  7. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,966   +1,230

    If it ain't prime, I don't buy it from Amazon.
    Typically, I look local, then Amazon.
    Hexic likes this.
  8. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 466   +348

    Last year or two I bought a SD card for my tablet from Amazon. Yes straight from the company and in the mail I got a freakin $1 leather luggage tag and I believe one of the Amazon workers took it and replaced it with that. Good news is AMAZON does have your back when you're a Prime Member. I have bought many things on Amazon and never had a problem and always make sure it's straight through the company or Amazon.
  9. fktech

    fktech TS Maniac Posts: 526   +138

    And then there's the porch pirates.
  10. fktech

    fktech TS Maniac Posts: 526   +138

    A real obsticle course to get your stuff....
    Clamyboy74 and wiyosaya like this.
  11. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,966   +1,230

    I'm VERY fortunate in that regard. The company I work for, allows me and other employees to ship to our office.
  12. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    I have Prime. Used it to buy undershirts, Got "Hens" undershirts instead of Hanes (got other fake ones that weren't as obvious). Buy my undershirts from Kohls or Target now.
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,989   +2,287

    IMO, crapAzon should have anticipated this LONG ago. They force you to save your credit card data when entering it and then force you to go into your account to delete it. I complained about this YEARS ago, and all I got was the extremely arrogant, IMO, response - your data is safe with us. Right, and I am the tooth fairy, too.

    I also use them less and less because of :poop: like this.

    It seems to me that not too long ago, Bezos came out with a statement that crapAzon's employees should expect the company to fail. IMO, arrogance like stupid statements such as "your data is safe with us" will only hasten that demise.

    Luckily, I use sneakemail for e-mail addresses to virtually everything. My account was "affected" by their e-mail address leak a month or so ago. I reported it to them when it happened because it looked like someone made an attempt to access my account - not that they would have found much. With sneakemail, protecting my email address was a good move - and it was easy to delete my then crapAzon address and replace it with a new one.

    Did Hens appear in the search results? That is yet another thing I hate about crapAzon - search results that are vaguely related to what you are searching for. I've bitten a few times on that - never again!
  14. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    No, they were sold as "Hanes". Even listed retail packaging. Instead, they can with the seams falling apart in a plain plastic bag, and cheap silkscreen tag that was the most phoned-in forgery I had ever seen.
  15. Aux101

    Aux101 TS Enthusiast Posts: 43   +6

    Wow! That photo showing a falling box and that guy with the black cap. Not top notch! :/
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,958   +3,998

    FIXED! or fixed? :confused:

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