Amazon store takeovers devastating for affected sellers’ businesses

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It appears that hackers have hijacked a small number of Amazon accounts in an attempt to get off-Amazon sales. However for any seller who’s account is compromised it’s a world of pain.

What appears to be happening is that as soon as an account is compromised, the hackers piggyback listings on existing ASINs for high value products such as TVs and smartphones, washing machines, cookers and computers. They then change the seller’s store name to a message along the lines of “We can’t ship to all addresses, contact us…” and an email address. This then appears prominently at the top of the listing in the “Dispatched from and sold by” messaging.

We have also seen stores on Amazon where the shop name has been changed to random letters – it looks as if the hacker has just typed them one handed on a keyboard.

It goes without saying that, if you’re a buyer, you should never complete a sale off Amazon. If you pay through Amazon then they will fully protect you and you’ll either get your product or you’ll get your money back. However if you pay off Amazon then you’re on your own and be chasing your bank or credit card company if you’re lucky, or at worse, and definitely if you pay with cash or a transfer service, you’ll never see your money again.

As a seller this can quickly devastate your business as your account can quickly be trashed with negative feedback for no delivery and cancelled orders. As well as having your business temporarily closed down, it can also end up with an account that’s so bad there is no real option but to abandon it and start again with no feedback or trading history. Of course even that has it’s attendant problems and can only be done with Amazon’s blessing.

Secure your Amazon business with two factor authentication

If you are an Amazon seller, seriously consider securing your Amazon account with two factor authentication immediately, although of course this comes with the attendant problems if you need multiple users to log into your account.

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