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The Worst Amazon Scams and How to Avoid Them

Last updated February 6, 2024 5 min to read
Scammed on Amazon
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For many Amazon sellers, there’s been a moment where your hands are in your hair and the thought “Have I been scammed?” is running through your mind. To help you overcome these threats to your online store, we’ve put together a list of common Amazon scams and how to avoid them.

Scams have been around since the dawn of time. Every day a more ingenious scam or loophole is discovered, so it’s essential to take steps to protect your business. Every conned sale is a real one lost!

The Failed Delivery Scam

This scam is as old as ecommerce itself and still occurs very frequently. A buyer will purchase an item online and say that it didn’t arrive and claim either a refund or replacement.

Of course, in some instances this may be true. However, you must take precautions to prevent refunds or replacements being given erroneously. Falling for this scam will destroy your profit and affect your feedback and metrics.

When shipping expensive items to a buyer, send it via track-and-trace postage. This will protect you in disputes by verifying that the order was delivered and when it arrived. It also means that no item can be delivered without a signature upon receiving the product.

The Replace and Refund Scam

This Amazon scam is exactly how it sounds. A seller will post a product to the buyer, who then replaces the item with a damaged one and asks for a refund. This scam is most prevalent in the used games sector.

Scammers order a game and, when it is delivered, swap it for a scratched or broken one, then return it because it doesn’t work. This is tricky as it’s impossible to prove that the product was working before you sent it. You could go to the extreme lengths of recording yourself playing and posting it. This isn’t feasible for most sellers, however. Even photos are dubious evidence as the photo might not be legitimate.

This scam can be countered by performing a quality test, then attaching a tamper-proof sticker. The stickers are designed so that if someone attempts to remove it from the product, it will tear. They can be bought in bulk online and are a good indicator if the product is the one you dispatched. Include in the item description that you have quality-tested the product and it has a sticker warranty, to further dissuade potential scammers.

Before Amazon updated their returns policy, the replace and refund scam was much easier to get away with. On one occasion, a 22-year old scammer managed to trick his way to $370,000 with this method before being arrested.

Phishing scams

Phishing (also known as spoofing), is when someone reaches out pretending to be a trusted organisation like Amazon. They then attempt to take personal information from you so that they can steal your money or even your identity.

Attempted phishing scams on Amazon are reasonably common, with more sophisticated methods of extracting personal data constantly being dreamed up. Even if you’re aware of phishing, it’s worth reading up on it to prevent your business being scammed on Amazon.

Most Amazon phising scams are sent via email but some scammers will use text messages as well. Links and attachments in phishing emails and texts contain malicious viruses. These will capture passwords and private information from the devices being used.

Also, be aware of spoof callers who pretend to be an Amazon representative calling about your account. Do not share any personal information over the phone. If you’re being asked questions you’re unsure of, you should terminate the call immediately.

If you’ve received any suspicious sounding phone calls, emails or text messages, you should report them to Amazon straight away.

Email Scams

These are the most basic, but also the most effective Amazon scams.

Amazon will never ask for your personal details and will not list a customer’s email address or shipping address. Don’t be fooled by an authentic-looking address.

It’s important to remember that Amazon doesn’t ever ask you to login via an email. Even if the email looks legitimate, only logging in directly on Amazon will guarantee your account remains safe.

Email scam on Amazon
Even if an email from Amazon looks legitimate, you should never log in to your account via email. [Source]

A common misconception is that if you can see the sender’s email address, it must be genuine. This is not the case as all emails from buyers are displayed in your seller central account, so ignore all messages sent from non-Amazon emails.

If you receive an email from a buyer, never dispatch an item unless it appears in “Your Orders.” If an order is not in your order list, delete the email and do not respond to it. Scammers invent orders they say have occurred and ask for information about payment and shipping details to lure you into giving out information. Similarly, if you receive an email you are unsure of and it has an attachment, delete the email and do not open the attachment.

Bad punctuation, spelling and grammar are indicators that the email is not from Amazon. Of course, some Amazon scammers are more sophisticated than others, so don’t go by this alone. If you’re not sure, just contact Amazon Support and they will be able to verify any messages to your account.

Be very cautious about links you receive for payment. Amazon payments are always hosted on one of these domains:

  • //payments.amazon.com
  • //authorize.payments.amazon.com
  • //resolutioncenter.payments.amazon.com

If there’s a link you are unsure of, do not click it. If you’ve clicked through from a spoofed or suspicious email and you entered your Amazon Payments account information, you should change your Amazon.com password immediately. Perhaps you’ve gone a step further and entered bank account details. If this is the case, you should contact your bank immediately.

What to do if you think you have been scammed

If you’ve been scammed on Amazon, contact them straight away. Amazon do have some loss protection safeguards in place, but these are widely known for favoring the buyer if it comes down to your word versus theirs. You are also not protected on any transactions that occur outside Amazon’s platforms, so it’s a good idea to perform all transactions and messages within your seller account.

If you suspect you have been scammed do not respond to any messages.

Avoid confusion by achieving a single view

When you receive customer messages from multiple online marketplaces, your webstore and social media, the potential for confusion increases. Scammers rely on causing confusion and they’ll cash in if you’re not on the ball. Speed and accuracy are vital when it comes to providing excellent customer service and avoiding fraud.

eDesk connects all of your marketplaces and channels in one easy-to-use dashboard. With eDesk, all your customer queries are in one place—with related order details and conversation history.

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