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Beware!  Hacker Scams are on the Rise Don’t put your Amazon account at risk by falling for a hacker scam.  Amazon will not send you emails with links that require login.  Everything they want you to see or address will be in your case log, performance notifications or on a banner at the top of the dashboard page when you log into your account. Here are some of the most recent scams we’ve come across:

  • Hackers are calling as “Amazon Seller Support” and even spoofing Caller ID.  They’re saying:

“Apparently, someone in your location attempted to log in but closed the browser before entering the 2-factor authentication, prompting a Fraud alert on your account.  We are going to send you a code to your phone on record.  Please read the code back to us to verify your authorization.”

  • Fake emails from “Seller Performance:”

Your account was flagged for further review to ensure that your selling activities are in compliance with our policies. If you don’t resolve this matter by 10/06/2018 your selling privileges will be removed. To appeal this decision, complete the following steps: If you see this, do not do it!!!!!!!! 1. Click on “Complete Review”. Be sure you’re not already logged into an Amazon account. 2. You’ll have to log in now. 3. Re-enter your password and then enter the characters as they are shown in the image (if necessary). 4. Complete the Two-Step Verification. 5. Confirm your Deposit Method associated with to confirm your identity.

Amazon Cracks Down on Review Manipulation…Again Were your reviews recently removed or was your account suspended because of review manipulation? In most cases, sellers can get their accounts back if it’s their first offense and the issue is fixed. For example, we frequently see mistakes in follow-up emails such as, “If you’re happy with your purchase, leave a review, if you need help, contact us.”  This structure is forbidden because it encourages happy buyers to leave messages, but not unhappy buyers.  Naturally, this is what we want!  But, alas, Amazon is the biggest wet blanket online and disallows it. It’s vital to understand Amazon’s policies on review/feedback requests, which are:

  • Sellers are only allowed to ask for a single review after each sale.
  • Sellers are only allowed to request reviews within a stand-alone email that contains no other links, contact information or upselling.
  • We recommend that sellers ask for “feedback” vs. “reviews.”
  • We recommend giving buyers ways to reach out for help first and then sending your “ask” email by itself.
  • Sellers can send out 3-5 emails per transaction, but they absolutely MUST have a customer value to them.  No upselling, no marketing.  Most of our clients have 3 emails:  one for the day the product is being delivered, one a few days later to see if there are problems and a third a few days later with the “ask.”  Obviously if the buyer reaches out to you, you may send additional emails to resolve their issue.
  • MF sellers have more latitude on the number of emails than FBA because it is understood that they will be answering all the “where’s my package?” and “I want a refund” emails themselves.

If you’re not sure whether your emails comply with Amazon’s policies, we’ll be happy to review them and/or help you get your reviews or account back.  Some of our clients have lost thousands of reviews overnight in Amazon sweeps and we were able to help them get most of them back.  Call 972-432-6398 or email us [email protected] to talk about your specific situation. Sponsored Ads Just Got Trickier If you got kicked off Amazon due to a sponsored ad and don’t know why, ask about our document review services  [email protected].  While every case is different, we can often determine which rule was violated and fix the issue.  Typically, once the issue is fixed, Amazon sellers can continue to advertise.  We’ve found cases where it was an Amazon mistake and others where the seller was not following terms of service.  Be sure to check the rules before launching new sponsored ad campaigns.   Performance Notifications Can Lead to Loan Rejections Having performance notifications may prevent your Amazon loan from being approved.  So, be on the look-out for those pesky notifications and resolve any issues as quickly as possible if you’re trying to secure a loan.  Even if the issue is not your fault – like a newly restricted product Amazon wants you to remove – it will trigger a loan rejection.  They will invite you to a loan again in the future assuming you clear up the issue.   Do You Have a Dun and Bradstreet Number? Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) “DUNS” numbers are now recommended for new and existing Amazon businesses.   Amazon now requires a DUNS number for account verification.  For existing businesses, Amazon may ask for it during its business review process when accounts are suspended.  We’ve seen emails from a seller’s SAM (Amazon strategic account manager) stating that ALL appeals should have the DUNS number.  Our appeals are still working without a DUNS number, but it seems likely that this will be policy one day. While DUNS numbers and listings are free, they can take weeks or months to secure without an expedite fee.  So, don’t let Amazon use it as a strike against your business credibility, and make sure you apply for your DUNS number now, before your account is under scrutiny.  As an upside, having a DUNS number can also help you get business credit and contracts down the road.  D&B acts as a credit bureau for businesses. Amazon’s Zero Tolerance Policy on Forged/Manipulated Documents Before you send an invoice to Amazon, make sure it doesn’t have any writing, markings, deletions or extra highlighting.  Amazon has now limited invoice annotations to highlighting of the products in question – any additional markings can get your account suspended – even if you are simply writing the ASIN number or adding an arrow to point out the correct item on the invoice.  And, unfortunately, Amazon isn’t being very forgiving. Also, beware of hiring an ungating company that doesn’t ask you for invoices or a company that outright sells manufactured invoices to sellers for a wide variety of reasons.  Many of these companies are manipulating and/or submitting forged invoices on behalf of sellers and getting them permanently banned.  We can’t stress this enough.  Any changes to your invoices can lead to permanent removal from the platform.  We’ve had some success in rare cases where we could demonstrate that the change was an innocent mistake and where the manipulation was not something fundamental like the billing/shipping addresses or items sold.  Don’t, for example, add the UPC code to an invoice. Don’t Press the Easy Button Some reinstatement service providers are claiming they can get your account reinstated through an insider at Amazon who can flip the suspension switch for you in a matter of hours.  Sometimes this is true and sometimes it isn’t.  The fees/bribes are high, but cheaper than waiting several weeks for Amazon to reinstate you, right?  Think twice. If you’ve been reading the Wall St. Journal and other business publications, you know that Amazon is hunting internal bad actors and making examples of them.  While the stories focus a lot on China and India, they are hunting in the US as well. For example, we’ve seen reinstatements reversed after Amazon audited these cases, resulting in sellers banned from the platform for life. We’ve also come under scrutiny from Amazon about how we conduct our business.  We imagine the same is true for our competitors. We’ve also seen services who claim they have an insider that end up sending template appeals to random people inside of Amazon which is totally useless. By the time these sellers come to us for help they’ve lost money and already used up their chances with Seller Performance. Bottom line: the easy button isn’t worth it if you lose your account. Contact Us! To learn more about our full range of Amazon services from account monitoring/maintenance to Brand Management, Brand Enforcement, EBC and buying/selling Amazon businesses, visit us at eGrowth Partners or contact us at 972-432-6398 or at [email protected].