Last week in Part 1 of this topic, we covered gurus, coaches and service providers particularly in relation to a recent consumer protection act lawsuit. In Part 2, we look at criminals on the prowl for Amazon sellers.
Amazon Thieves, Russians And Embezzlers
In addition to gurus and consultants who might take advantage of you, there are other bad actors out for your money. Over the past year, there have been a lot of phishing schemes designed to get seller’s logins, names, money and more through email.
There are several ways to sniff them out:
- They provide a link and want you to take action. Never use that link. If the email from Amazon is real, you can log in to Seller Central yourself and see it in your performance notifications or case log. Amazon will never give you a link to sign in to your account.
- The “from” email address is not legit. It may say “amazon.com” or “amazon.co.uk” but when you look at the full address it has some extra letters at the end.
It is scams like these that caused a lot of sellers to be hacked last summer and have their disbursements transferred to someone else’s bank account – where it was swiftly sent out again.
Another way to protect yourself is to enable two-step verification on your account AND USE IT. I strongly recommend NOT designating any of your devices as “safe” and exempt from verification codes. Once scammers have your login info they will also have your unique internet address for that device. They can now spoof it and log in to your account. Always have an authenticator as one of your code options.
Use a VPN to log in to your seller central. While this is critical when you are on the road to provide security for your emails and internet browsing, I suggest you use a VPN every time because then your IP address is hidden from everyone.
If you get any suspicious emails, report it! Forward the email to email@example.com and tell them you suspect a phishing scheme. They’ll act, believe me – They won’t tell you what they do, but they’ll take action.
Another scam to watch out for occurs when someone from Amazon contacts you by email and tells you they can get you reinstated for $200 (or whatever) and that they work at Amazon Seller Performance. What you need to know about this one is:
- This scam is about taking your money.
- We already reported one version of this scam and Amazon tracked the person down.
- Most of these rogue Amazon agents can only help with particular types of suspensions like performance issues (the “honest” ones will actually tell you that).
- They use fake names. Mine was a famous Bollywood actor which I quickly found on google.
It is easy to freak out at some of these emails. They tell you your account is under review or that they need documents from you right away or you’ll be suspended. That’s scary stuff. Before springing into action, take a step back and really look at the email. Remember, anything Amazon wants you to respond to will be in your performance notifications or case log.
Lastly, embezzlers. This is the danger within. It is so heartbreaking to work with clients who have had a trusted employee or loved one steal from them. Most of them are in deep denial, which makes their situation worse because they don’t take the necessary precautions. Amazon will give you ONE chance to find and fix the situation when embezzlement is involved and then you are banned from the platform.
How do they know it’s embezzlement? Often by the IP address. They can see that the person who changed the email address and bank account was near you or connected to you in some way. It may have even been done from your computer. You need to do a lot more than change your password to get your account back. You must show how this will never happen again.
It is better and easier to be super security conscious all along. If you allow people access to your account, make sure they are limited access users who can’t view or change your account information. If someone trusted wants to get into your account to help you, set them up as a limited access user. Change your password often. Make it a difficult password with characters, symbols, numbers, and capital and lower-case letters. If you use a password filling program, make sure NO ONE can access it but you. Leave the password to your spouse in your will. Seriously. Always use two-step verification.
You only get one Amazon seller account. Amazon won’t give you another one if you screw up – or are screwed – so be alert, be security conscious and look for red flags. Weed the bad actors out from the good providers by testing their claims against Amazon’s terms of service. Verify everything.
Seller Alert! Ungating Services On The Hot Seat…Again
We have several recent cases of sellers being suspended for faking invoices. They were all working with ungating services who created the invoices for them. Omba Consulting andAMZgates are the two companies we’ve seen so far although we’ve heard of others.
From what we reviewed, they presumably are using real invoices from the companies in question (i.e. Apple) and then modifying the BILL TO and SHIP TO fields. Amazon launched a crackdown on ungating services not too long ago…looks like another one may be coming.
I want you to note an important phrase in what I just said, “sellers being suspended.” That’s you, my friend. The ungating services aren’t being punished (yet), but you could lose everything for trying to game the system. It’s not worth it.
Compliance Questions? Buying Or Selling An Amazon Business? Call Us!
If you are concerned about some tactic being compliant or the health of your account or don’t understand a notification from Amazon, contact us.
We offer hourly consulting for questions like these. In addition, our Suspension Prevention Assessment looks at your account the way Amazon does and gives you an hour-long consultation about your account – and anything else you want to talk about.
An assessment is also helpful for investors looking to buy an Amazon seller’s business. We can tell you risky behaviors and potential problems in the company you want to buy. We are discreet and will sign confidentiality agreements. Obviously, the company in question must give us permission to look at their account. We’ve also had clients get an assessment to give to potential investors/buyers.