How scammers in China manipulate Amazon

There has been much news over the course of 2018 regarding how scammers in China manipulate Amazon. From fake reviews for fake purchases to leaving bad feedback claiming fakes to get genuine seller’s accounts shut down, Amazon merchants are under attack like never before.

Which? has been monitoring fake reviews and report that vast numbers are regularly removed by Amazon, but that doesn’t stop the scammers touting for more. As can be seen in the Facebook post, spotted by Tamebay reader Kam and pictured above, Amazon merchants are brazen in their quest to gain fake reviews offering a full refund via PayPal and even covering the PayPal fees – all they want is a consumer who appears to be a genuine Amazon buyer to purchase an item and leave a verified purchase review.

Now the Wall Street Journal have investigated and discovered consultants in China who’s sole aim is to boost their clients listing. Every underhand practise scammers in China manipulate Amazon rankings isn’t even presented by the perpetrators with any shame – They offer a service and if they don’t their competitors will and these highly paid consultants and the Chinese merchants they work for consider it more of regular business tactics than a scam. There is of course no closed shop on scamming Amazon to get your listings to the top of search results – plenty of Western sellers also use dubious tactics. The main difference in China is the scale of the manipulation and how scammers in China employ specialist consultants to fraudulently buy their way to the top.

Right at the top of the video, one of the consultants, Howard – the so called ‘Professor of Amazon’, explains that it’s not just Amazon in the US that they’re targeting, it’s Amazon Germany, France, Italy and of course the UK where they are manipulating listings.



Tactics scammers in China use to manipulate Amazon

Tactic #1 Take down the competition

Leave a few negative reviews and return products claiming they are faulty or dangerous to get competitors account closed. Just a few A-Z claims can have devastating consequences.

Tactic #2 Fake positive reviews

Buy reviews, recruit genuine consumers to leave reviews or simply buy fake reviews from specialist websites.

Tactic #3 Fake Sales

Artificially boost sales by getting third parties to buy their products to increase Amazon rankings. Some sellers even send empty boxes to random addresses so that they can add tracking to make the sales appear genuine.

Tactic #4 Bribes

The WSJ reports that Amazon are investigating reports of bribes to Chinese Amazon employees who accept bribes to remove negative reviews and feedback, reveal restricted Amazon internal data and restore banned accounts.

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Comments

People have been using various tactics to get their business to be seen first since... The yellow pages were full of companies beginning with A AA AAA etc Websites promoted on Google competing to get on the 1st page, by using back-links on forums like this, as James highlighted on another topic. Why would Amazon / eBay etc be any different?

tyler • 20th December 2018 •

Scams will not work in the future because Amazon will employ dedicated artificial intelligence to spot and shut down fraudsters. Once AI identifies a specific scam then that scam can never happen again. In a few years artificial intelligence and machine learning will be so good that there will be no scams on amazon.

Kevin • 20th December 2018 •

and if the AI mis-identify you as a scammer, there won't be any appeal or any humans you can speak to. yay.

james • 20th December 2018 •

amazon is stupid the system is built for amazon itself win win situation for amazon

sajid • 21st December 2018 •

amazon building a system in which amazon always wins doesn't sound like amazon being stupid. if Sajid built a system where Sajid always won then Sajid would be rather impressed with his cleverness i imagine. actually amazon are making a sincere attempt at combating this kind of thing, unlike some other sites who benefit from similar practices.

james • 21st December 2018 •

Unfortunately Amazon don't seem to be taking it seriously and UK merchants suffer as a result. You can't compete with the Chinese products as on price they can afford to be a lot less expensive as they don't have the same overheads and with hundreds of positive reviews created by bots easy to dupe unsuspecting shoppers. Amazon wins as does the chinese. Merchants in the UK and the other countries affected lose out. I know of friends on Amazon who all of a sudden had a flurry of negative reviews or the listing shut down just as it was doing really well and climbing the rankings. They suspected it was the Chinese. How can you compete?

Yasir • 21st December 2018 •

Lots of online retailers like massive giants as ebay & amazon are bending rules many of the sellers in china are now registered on ebay on the false pretence of being uk residents they put something like from manchester wales extra once you purchase an item & when it doesnt arrive in few day the mask drops because in pops china written blabla that it will take 3 weeks its so frustrating that you cant purchase with confidence anymore because your always wary many a times i try checking there further details & even mail them but no reply. Because they know as soon as they reply buyer will know this china calling. Same with amazon they hardly have any uk sellers any more beautiful products but when you go to check out its flaming china seller means waiting for products for weeks on ebd what if you workers at your home & you need to order appliance that you need swiftly that was one of the reason i used to purchase from amazon though postage at times was a little high the delivery was very fast. If these giants are hell bent on filling there pockets then they will need to do something about speeding the degrading delivery time im sure may be a bit costly in this day & age delivery services could be improved. But main pain in the neck for me is the disguise plava on ebay. The other one every one needs to be alerted about is illumination uk selling lights they havd beautiful lights in pictures but once you have chosen them & paid you think wow bargain no you have just been given false sense if contentment because what you choose & what they send is 2 diffetent matters they send you most ugly products that no one buys & then they try to justify it thats what you purchase. But i have annoying habit that i take screenshots of what i purchase but in this case it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because when he tried to argue he sent me the right items i told him iv got screen shots that shot his mouth. The customer service people are so rude & aggressive to a point because they are fuming there thrash is returning so be warned its a germany company that offers discount only because they ate under disguise as they know what one is choosing & what one is getting is going to be an issue

Sajida Akbar • 22nd December 2018 •