Both sellers and buyers should be aware: as the popularity and convenience of Amazon has increased, so have the number of Amazon scams.
Online shopping is no longer only for those who live in remote locations. As busy consumers value their time, shopping on Amazon is becoming an everyday act for everything from groceries to toiletries or even baby items.
To sellers, this means that if you place something on Amazon, it is likely to sell. To buyers, it is a great time to find competitive prices. Concerned you’re at risk? Luckily, passionate Amazon users are vocal about sharing the scams they’ve encountered, to help you stay safe.
How to Spot Amazon Scams and Avoid Being Tricked
An Expensive Item Is Priced Very Low
This affects buyers: Read the fine print. If an item is priced extremely low, then more than likely it is a knock-off product. If you receive a product which isn’t the brand or type promised, return it immediately. If it seems you were intentionally led to believe you were purchasing a different product, complain to Amazon.
This affects sellers: Imagine that you own and produce a product you’re proud of. Suddenly someone is selling your exact product using the same description and claims, but for a lower price. That is precisely what happened to Amanda Horner over her family’s copyright owned pillow.
Her pillow, which is usually priced at $59.95, was found being sold for around $5 through another seller account. Even after contacting Amazon and having the fraudulent ad taken down, another scam was set up within hours.
If you’re a seller, a sudden flood of negative reviews. This is a real risk. If scammers or competitors target your site, they can get your Amazon Seller account banned. Why would they do this? To steal your profits by having traffic redirected to their products! Some people are hired to provide negative reviews for their occupation!
Other times, seller accounts are mistakenly deactivated as Amazon struggles to delete fraudulent accounts. This happened to Amazon user, Blademan. Luckily, after contacting Amazon’s catalog department, he was assured his product would be back online soon. This was still frustrating for him, as it gave him a reported nine days of lost sales.
Fake Returns and Shipping Cost Scams
This affects sellers: A customer will lie that the product they received was defective or ask for a refund but not send the correct item back!
This affects buyers and sellers: Although you can return an incorrect product through Amazon’s Online Returns Center if the return isn’t an Amazon error, Amazon generally has you contact the seller’s company directly, and you will have to pay for shipping. This shipping cost is therefore deducted from the refund you receive.
How do buyers combat these fees? They claim that the product did not arrive as promised or was damaged before arrival, in the hope of avoiding paying the shipping.
Fake Site Scams
You think that you’re accessing Amazon for a product or even to apply for a job. Instead, you’ve received a fraudulent email or reached a phishing website. Both can look similar to the real Amazon. Any personal details or financial information you share will be stolen and used for scams or theft.
While scammers are always looking for new and improved ways to trick the innocent, do the following to avoid (or remedy!) most Amazon Scams:
1. Search Engine: First, look up the company’s name or buyer/seller username online. If a traditional search doesn’t give you the results you’re hoping for, try a high powered algorithm-based search such as Social Catfish. By using Social Catfish, you can look up details (name, email, username, image, etc.) from social media and all major search engines at once.
2. Avoid Payment Scams: Look over Amazon’s tips to avoid payment scams, found here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201598610
3. Verify It Is Amazon: Never make payment arrangements on a separate site outside of Amazon, even if you’re offered a better deal. Also, frequently check to make sure you’re receiving official Amazon emails (by hovering over the actual web link or email addresses enclosed).
By making educated choices online and verifying identity through Social Catfish, you can save money and time by avoiding Amazon scams!
Alternatively, if you need our help in identifying and verifying the identity of someone, hire one of our Search Specialists: