3 tips for complying with Amazon’s anti-fraud measures
With thousands of Amazon sellers created each day and very few barriers to entry, it’s no surprise there’s a high risk for seller fraud. In fact, sites such as Marketplace Pulse have reported up to 100 new fraudulent accounts every day. During holiday season and high-volume traffic times, these numbers are even higher.
Amazon is cracking down on fraud, placing stringent checks and balances in place to control this phenomenon. These measures are meant to prevent and alert Amazon of fraudulent activity, but can occasionally disturb the very legitimate activities of honest sellers. This may create some inconveniences in the form of a temporarily suspended account or investigative actions; some of these can be preemptively avoided. Outlined below are 3 tips to help you avoid the precautions Amazon is taking against scammers, how to deal with Amazon’s scam detectors if you’re caught up in the mess and most importantly, how to stay on Amazon’s good side.
Tip #1: Preventative actions – don’t give Amazon cause for suspicion
First it’s important to understand how scammers work and what Amazon does to stop them.
The most common scheme occurs when a scammer opens a new seller account on Amazon, lists their items at unbelievably low prices and never actually ships anything out. All while still collecting money from customers and receiving payouts on Amazon’s two-week payment cycle. Oftentimes it takes a while to recognize that a scam has taken place, and only when the item fails to arrive and the seller fails to respond to the customer and Amazon’s inquiries, is an investigation launched.
To counter these accounts, Amazon has created fraud detection measures that are on the lookout for red flags. These red flags can constitute changes in crucial seller information, such as contact details, physical address, bank account or IP address.
As a legitimate seller, if you do make any of these changes, be prepared with documentation for proof. In addition, if you have a designated account manager at Amazon, contact them in advance to help you prevent a potential account freeze.
Change of physical address – When changing an address, have your rental agreement ready so if Amazon does contact you in regards to suspicious activity, you can prove your address is legitimate before they freeze your account.
Change of bank account – If you’ve started using Payoneer’s receiving accounts to get paid by Amazon and were previously using a bank account, Payoneer can provide you with a bank statement for your account upon request. To do so, log in to My Account and head over to My Store Manager.
Change of IP address – This can happen quite easily, if you access Seller Central from a different location than usual, or while traveling. Amazon may become suspicious of fraud or hacking with a sudden vast change of IP location.
Tip #2: Keep your account safe
Account hacking is another major concern for Amazon when it comes to seller legitimacy. Take the usual precautions to avoid this as well: Change your password regularly and set up two-step verification on all your Amazon accounts so they are harder to crack.
Remember, Amazon will never email you sensitive information for verification. That is only ever submitted via their website when registering or logging in to Seller Central.
Finally, if you do receive a suspicious email, report it to Amazon directly. Not only will they be able to check if it’s valid, but they will also appreciate that you as a seller are working to keep Amazon safe.
Tip #3: Stay on the customers’ good side
Be prompt in answering customer inquiries; this is not only general best practice, but it will help prevent fraud suspicion. By answering all buyer inquiries within 24 hours, you set the tone of good communication, for which buyers will then reward you with good feedback. Amazon can then see your rating and feedback, knowing you are a valued seller.
There are also smart ways to run your business that are in-line with Amazon values such as shipping promptly with a shipping method that ensures reliable delivery. Also, by using tracking information, you can always know where your merchandise is and provide this information to the buyer. These types of simple decisions keep your business running smoothly and efficiently, keeping you a preferred Amazon seller, at least in their eyes.
Amazon’s anti-fraud measures have good reason to be in place, even if they can be bothersome to honest, legitimate sellers. We want customers to keep trusting Amazon and marketplace sellers, so we just need to be prepared to deal with the heightened controls put in place. Knowing how to navigate through the fraud process though will help you stay clear of accusation and focused on what you’re there to do – grow your business and thrive.