According to TechCrunch Amazon announced on Sunday that it has begun piloting a seller-verification system that will validate the identity of third-party sellers through video conferencing.
Earlier in the year, Amazon released an in-person seller-verification system to work alongside some of their other fraud busting measures that reportedly stopped 2.5 million suspected fraudsters in their tracks. Now that the current COVID-19 pandemic is upon us the once successful in-person verification system has become unsafe but fear not, Amazon have created a video conferencing seller-verification processes that aims to continue combatting fraud on the marketplace by setting up video calls between Amazon and merchants who are applying to sell with them. The team will then be able to vet and check the documentation and ID’s of those applying and even offer information on any problems with their registration and how to resolve them.
“Amazon is always innovating to improve the seller experience so honest entrepreneurs can seamlessly open a selling account and start a business, while also proactively blocking bad actors, as we practice social distancing, we are testing a process that allows us to validate prospective sellers’ identification via video conferencing. This pilot allows us to connect one-on-one with prospective sellers while making it even more difficult for fraudsters to hide,”
– Amazon Spokesperson
The pilot program is currently running in the U.S., U.K., China and Japan and Amazon claims 1,000 sellers have currently attempted to register an account through the pilot experience.
Increasing fraud tactics
Fraud is, unfortunately, a common and increasing issue. Earlier in the year the UK Sales Director at Forter looked at the fraud landscape and detailed the common pressure points fraudsters use to con retailers. One area of interest for criminals is shipping fraud where fraudsters are taking advantage of the pressures major online marketplaces like Amazon are putting on retailers to offer faster and faster shipping times.
Another fraud vector that is popular with criminals is “buy online, pickup in store” (BOPIS). In BOPIS fraud criminals request a shipment to be held at the merchant’s facility and then leverage fake IDs, mules, or manipulate the sales assistants in order to receive the package at the new location.
Fraudsters favour yet another tactic called address manipulation. Here fraudsters purposely mislead automated checks, like the Address Verification System (AVS), by changing only a part of the address to mismatch reality or to be insignificant enough to go unnoticed, creating a conflict between systems.