The Curious Case of Bogus Amazon Sellers

I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that I generally love Amazon. The access to massive product variety, frequently great prices, the whole Prime feature, and a sense that you can really trust the entire framework just makes Amazon easy to appreciate. But that trust thing… well, lately I’ve had it rocked a little bit when it comes to Amazon. Here’s the executive summary:

  • I have found multiple clearly fraudulent sellers in the “used” category
  • I’ve engaged Amazon’s customer service and investigations staff, had my suspicions confirmed and told by Amazon they’d get rid of the bogus sellers
  • The same sellers keep coming back, and they are pretty convincing if you don’t know better
  • There seems to be no way for Amazon to keep them out
  • Dealing with Amazon in this regard is kind of like talking with children who speak another language, and who also happen to be watching TV or something as you speak to them

Now let’s look at a real-world example.

LinMartone

Please note the instructions for how to engage this seller- you have to leave the Amazon framework and communicate through Gmail. We’ll go there in a bit, but also note the seller’s name “Lin.Martone”. This one has also shown up as:

  • LI N Martone
  • LinMartone

and each variant has a different gmail account to go with it. On this item, there have been NUMEROUS bogus sellers that come and go, all with the same “email me if you want this” and all with a price that’s too good to be true (hence the draw). All of this has been shared with Amazon via emails and calls. In each case, Amazon agrees fraud is in play, yet it it keeps coming back.

Being a veteran of many an investigation, I decided to follow one of these out before enaging Amazon for the first time. Here we go… bogus seller here is ter.kansey@gmail.com (you’ll love the spoofed Amazon page that’s coming):

terkansey

Realize- we’ve already broken Amazon’s rules here, by leaving the web framework and communicating directly. The response- a sloppy cut and paste of a reply to somebody named Shane.shane

bogusexchange

wierd

Here is where it gets good- sent in my inbox, a very official looking “Amazon page” complete with bogus order number.  I have to think that at this point, many shoppers might be fooled.reallooking

not valid

a-z

not

started

last

This person was trying to get me to buy an Amazon gift card, and read them the number as payment for an item that would most assuredly never come. When I called Amazon and shared this all with them, I found a number of challenges in dealing with customer service.

  • You can’t share any of these sorts of screenshots- only email headers (which I did)
  • When I mentioned fake order numbers and well-crafted fake phishing style pages being provided via email, I don’t know if it even registered with the person I was speaking with
  • I pointed out over multiple calls and online reports at least half a dozen bogus “sellers” on this item alone, all with same methodologyFraud
  •  You get the general feeling that Amazon could really care less, and that you are a bit of a bother when you engage them on this over the phone
  • The same “sellers” keep coming back
  • That anyone can join the Amazon used market as seller and then be allowed to tell customers to go through email and break Amazon’s rules WITHOUT AMAZON THEMSELVES CATCHING IT is bewildering

And that’s it. I’ll still use Amazon for new items, but am thoroughly spooked at how loose and sloppy this end of their used market is. I hope this blog can help even one person not to get scammed by what seems to be pretty common on Amazon.

Cheers!

ADDENDUM- Thanks, Stephen Foskett for taking this issue up on your own blog, and summarizing what to watch out for: (lifted from Stephen):

Here are the hallmarks:

  1. Too-low round-number prices roughly half the retail cost
  2. Items sold as used but with specific notes that they’re actually new
  3. Instructions to email to begin the transaction rather than using the Amazon site, including obviously obfuscated gmail addresses with spaces between letters
  4. “Just Launched” seller profiles with no ratings

Be careful out there!

144 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Bogus Amazon Sellers

  1. The Smiling Traveller

    If the bogus seller’s page is still there but the products are shown as Currently Unavailable it usually means that Amazon are dealing with the scam.

    You only have to remember the old adage: IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS (and, if it’s on Amazon: IT ALMOST CERTAINLY IS).

    Take care, don’t fall for the scams and tell all your friends too!

    Reply
  2. April

    I feel so stupid to fall for this kind of scam. Now I won’t be able to get my money back. Has any of you made any actions aside from complaining to Amazon after being scammed? They said I should report it to the police, but the local police (I am in Belgium) won’t have any jurisdiction over the culprit (address is in Germany). If any of you guys got any news or any way to get your money back, please keep us posted. 😦

    Reply
    1. Mike

      hi How did you pay, if you used a credit card then I suggest you contact the issuer and see if they can reverse the payment.
      Mike

      Reply
    2. JoshyD

      I’d hire a solid hacker, track the culprit down and get some good old (and much needed in this day and age of global unpunished internet scamming) VIGILANTE JUSTICE… However, a good hacker, that you can trust, isnt exactly an easy thing to find, so it may take some time to meet the right people, but it might be worth it, if getting “had” online bothers you enough…. PS: NOTE TO POSTER OF THIS ARTICLE: Many Thanks for this article!!! I thought I just missed the best deal on an item Ive wanted for years, but then I noticed it was ” unavailable” so I thought it was sold, but as one of these comments states, being “unavailable” means AMAZON shut them down! These kind of sad ass scammers make me sick!!!

      Reply
      1. mozzaic

        thank you for your suggestion. I actually am an Airbnb hostess in Las Vegas and we have an annual hackers convention. One of the hackers stayed at my place so we became friends. So I am sending all the emails and such to this person. Hopping that I can catch the scammer and figure out what to do.

  3. The Huth

    Thanks for this article. I saw a deal that seemed too good to be true, but I figured I’d test the water. As soon as I got the fake email asking for payment via giftcard only, I knew it was BS. My google search to find a way of reporting it to Amazon brought me to this page. Sad that they dont care at all to stop these people.

    Reply
    1. Mike

      There are a couple of forums on Amazons own website regarding this issue, but I don’t know how much notice they take of it! Glad you didn’t loose out.

      Reply
  4. P Reicker

    Tried 6 times to purchase an item: failed 6 times…..all scammers.
    All basically using the same trick: to send them my gift card number through a private Email, or send us private information.
    Amazon has become a plague, a scammers heaven.
    I would love to tell Amazon is now barred for life, but I got jipped by their system.
    I had bought $500 worth of gift cards for the item….and I’m now stuck with them….I’m stuck with their platform….cant cash them, cant refund them, cant transfer them.
    Way to go Amazon…good business practice….good way to lose clients.

    Reply
    1. Misplaced Blame

      How can you blame Amazon for you choosing to purchase $500 gift cards? Wouldn’t that be a huge red flag to be asked to pay in that method? At the very least, I’d assume money laundering and stolen goods, even if the 3rd party seller did deliver the product. Like, it sucks you got scammed, but blame the scammer and look at your own motives.

      Reply
      1. L. Zeiter

        Amazon should know who their sellers are and hold them to the same high standards that they say they hold themselves to. I trusted Amazon but no longer. They lost me as a customer. They must know who these people are if they collect proper information from them to be seller’s on their site but apparently they do not care to help their customers. Shame on your fro trying to make this person think that Amazon does not play a part in this. They could do something about it, but choose not to.

  5. Richard Ireson

    Great article, unfortunately it is still going on. I have been looking at high end Nikon cameras over the last month and there is always one offer that cuts way below anyone else and guess what, they ask you to e-mail them before placing the order. The sellers name has changed from time to time, but the request for and e-mail is always written the same way. I too enquired of one item, but didn’t go any further once they asked for my full name address and telephone number and said they would advise Amazon to process my order.

    Reply
    1. William

      I have been victimized by the same scam on the purchase of a high end PC. When I looked at the Amazon site last evening and the high priced PCs in the similar items section, virtually all of them had the same “new” seller” listing for at least 40% off the Amazon price in the used listings. The instructions were similar, “email me before proceeding”. I am out about $400 dollars, and I think Amazon hasn’t much incentive to track down these scammers. They receive their money through gift card purchases, yet “caveat emptor” let the buyer beware the consequences.
      The seller is not there today in the listings under used computers(in sealed boxes like new). I imagine enough purchasers have emailed them, so they need not dangle the bait any longer.

      Reply
      1. mozzaic

        yeah Amazon still makes the money through the Gift cards
        I am wondering if it’s worh suing Amazon so that they follow the money on the gift card

  6. Richard Vanderlippe

    I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that the lens I’ve been watching has scams that shifted from “new sellers” to storefronts with a history. And – after contacting these storefronts – it’s been confirmed that these are accounts that have been hacked.

    I remember reading an earlier comment about someone whose account was hacked (apologies if I don’t go back and find the specific reference – there are something like 85 comments in this thread now). It would seem from the increased frequency of hacked accounts showing up in just this one page I monitor, that some “trick” for hacking an account has either leaked out – or it’s the same person or group repeating the trick.

    As with other comments – the increase in both the frequency of this problem combined with the change in tactic to hacking legitimate sellers (which puts those seller’s accounts on hold as a result) – makes it difficult to understand how Amazon isn’t taking more drastic action to completely overhaul how the 3rd party seller market is handled.

    I am also still waiting to see this finally emerge into the regular news channels.

    Reply
    1. Jonathan

      Want to highlight Richard Vanderlippe’s comment from Oct 7, 2016; the scammers seem to be changing strategies by targeting legitimate business accounts to steal their store pages, so that the accounts are no longer “Just Launched” but now have positive transaction histories and reviews.

      Reply
  7. Zeke

    Have you tried buying the product via the proper channel? Meaning adding to cart without contacting them as requested and paying? Obviously it won’t change a thing. It pisses me off because I setup alerts for some products using camelcamelcamel and I get triggers from these fuckers instead of real alerts.

    Reply
    1. Doh!

      I did. Had been looking for an 80-200 2.8 Nikkor (used) and a lighting company had one “like new” for $450, no pics but all there feedback was good. It said something about emailing in the description but I ignored that and clicked the “buy it now” button. Transaction went through, hold on card and all. Then I looked around their storefront and they had insane deals on pretty much the entire Nikon catalog. Wasn’t sure if it was legit or not but since I never left the Amazon site (my parents got burned in a phishing scheme like this a few years back; lost $35000 on an “RV”) I figured it was worth a shot to “buy” a 70-200 VRII (for $850, “like new”) on the offside chance that this was some overstock error or something. I cancelled the first lens and bought the second. Then I really started looking around and did a bit of research. Of course the vendor didn’t come up hinky anywhere, but I found this thread and it describes the situation perfectly, so since I won’t be getting a new lens for cheap, rather than wait for Amazon to sort it all out I cancelled the other lens as well. In my order screen on Amazon it shows the 80-200 as still “attempting to cancel” and the 70-200 as cancelled. I wonder if their system has some kind of recognition algorithm to quickly figure out when this is happening, as I never saw the charge for the second lens show up in the pending section of my bank website. Anyone want a D5 for 3 grand?

      Reply
  8. Jason

    Saw a half price used as new epson sure colour printer for £500 luckily did some checking 1st and found this site.

    The seller is using same methods and emails as other scams listed here although unsure if they have hacked an Amazon traders account storefront they are called bellseal Ltd. who’s original seller sold one item over six months ago for some cheap bathroom sealant product but got good feedback making the sellers account look established with Amazon stating a 100% positive feedback over the last 12 months.

    This scammer has listings on the Bellseal Ltd storefront with 2435 pages of products listed that at 9 items a page equals 21,915 listed bogus products all of them appear to be high end electrical type products cameras, computers, to screens, mobile smartphones etc around £300 up to £1300 lawn mowers. If you type Bellseal into Amazon search then all items with 1 used item and round number bargain figures will most likely be by this scammer.

    Amazon need to sort this out if the scammer only gets 1% replies to his listings of fictions products where the unwitting buyer makes an offsite direct payment of an average £800 figure the scammer would stand to net around £175,200 for sending out a few cut and pasted emails.

    Buyers Beware if it’s too good to be true it probably is. CAVEAT EMPTOR!!!

    Reply
  9. Abby Glendon

    There’s an even newer, more insidious twist on Marketplace seller scams. My brother ordered an item (1/3rd the price of what others were selling it for) from a seller who had a very good and long track record with Amazon. After ordering it through Amazon (disregarding the “contact us at xyx.gmail.com before buying) and saw it as a pending order; his CC was even charged. Googling the seller, he found a phone number and called it. Turns out, according to the company, their Amazon seller’s account was hacked and the scammer was using their marketplace site to sell bogus merchandise. How the money would be transferred to the scammer is a mystery to me…but if there’s a way to pull it off, Amazon’s provided an easy venue for thieves.

    Reply
  10. Kurt

    Thank you for taking the time to post this information. Exact same thing happened to me. i got to the point of emailing my name and phone #, then I came across your article. I laughed because the scam followed your script perfectly. I was lucky to read your post before it was too late. Thanks again

    Reply
  11. Mike Kom

    I saw a bargain Nikon D7100 on one of these sites. Being suspicious I contacted Amazon customer services who told me not to worry, all their sellers are checked before being allowed to trade (thanks Leo!). He said this was a new seller hence no feedback and probably selling cheaply to get the business interest going.(Haha). I made the purchase via credit card just in case. I didn’t contact via email as requested but purchased directly thru Amazon.Two days later the site had changed to different stock, all “Currently unavailable”. But the same storefront exists with other new sellers. I then found this website. Got back to Amazon and explained the situation. I was told they can’t do anything to cancel the order at this stage. I must cancel with the vendor (yeah, right!). If I hear nothing from the vendor two days they will start action. I’ll contact my card provider tomorrow to cancel the transaction too. I’ll keep you posted.

    Reply
    1. Dealcatcher

      That same thing has happened to me 6 times in the 6 months. With all the same aspects that you mention. Eventually, after several emails and calls to Amazon, and my CC company, I got my money back. I only order now with my Discover Card, since they always seem to come through when when Amazon sellers turn out to be scammers. Amazon better do something soon, this crap is starting to make national news now.

      Reply
    1. wirednot Post author

      Hmm. Looks like they are getting hauled into court for knockoff products, but not scam sellers that do the “contact me via email” thing. Thanks for the link though!

      Reply
  12. Alan

    Thanks for this. I was about to try and buy a laptop through a “seller” trying to pull this on me. It seemed a bit suspicious so I’m glad I found this page when I started googling Amazon scams.

    Reply
  13. jan

    I so wish I had read this two weeks ago. I have just been told that one have lost the sum of £256 to a company called Bellseal Ltd. Amazon don’t want to know and have told me to contact the seller , which I have done, and guess what? No reply! The bank have passed the details on to the police but I have been told we probably won’t get our money back as we paid by a bank transfer. It was supposed to have been my husbands 50th birthday present but that has just been ruined. Happy Christmas!

    Reply
    1. Ekim

      It never ceases to amaze me that, despite all the warnings given to consumers by TV programmes, newspapers and forums like this one, people still want to believe that ‘too good to be true’ bargains really exist!

      Amazon in particular has more than its fair share of rogue sellers, so you must always abide by the rules – only order and pay through your basket. Never contact a Marketplace trader direct by email and certainly never pay them by bank transfer (or by Gift Card numbers). If you do, you’re on your own – you’re guaranteed to lose your money and, as Amazon wasn’t involved in the transaction, you won’t be entitled to a refund when your goods fail to arrive.

      BTW ‘jan’, you didn’t order from ‘a company called Bellseal Ltd’ – they sell sealants, as their name suggests. You ordered from a scammer who had hijacked Bellseal’s storefront and replaced everything with their own inventory of bogus photographic and electrical goods at ridiculous prices designed to suck you in. Now you know, you won’t be so gullible in future!

      While it’s of no use to you now, other naive buyers will find a great forum, with details of Amazon UK scams in progress and other information that’s useful to UK and USA buyers at:
      http://amazongeneralhelprefugees.createaforum.com/index.php

      Reply
  14. Lee

    Hi Lee
    Thank you for the above it has clarified something I was sceptical about.
    A laptop on Amazon selling for £1550, listed as “Used” for £850 by a seller though hes not new is using the exact same technique you are illustrating here.
    Mentioning that its not been used, only been opened and is brand new… Finally stating that if interested email him first.
    I emailed him and he emailed back with a very similar looking text to yours, though different words:

    “Hello,
    First of all let me apologize for the late answer.
    Let me explain you how you can buy my ASUS ROG GL752VM-GC010T 17.3″Gaming Laptop (Grey) (Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz, FHD 1920×1080, NVIDIA Pascal GTX1060, 16GB, 1TB + 256GB SSD, Windows 10)
    The item is brand new, never used, but i can’t list it as a new product due to Amazon policy, they don’t allow me to list it as a new product. The item will comes with original box and accessories and 2 year international warranty.
    If you are wondering why the price is lower than the usual,it is because we have some promotional prices of Christmas. The offer lasts 7 days.
    The total price is £850.00, including all shipping costs to Europe. If you want to buy it, please send me your shipping address(phone number, your complete name, street name and number, zip code and city) I will immediately send the required data to Amazon Department. They will contact you with the order and details about payment and shipping. You will have to complete the payment with them. Dispatch will be by normal UPS Services, which takes 3-5 days, depending on where in the United Kingdom you are located.
    My return policy is full refund in 21 days.
    For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
    Many Thanks”

    Stupidly I did email back, with 2 more questions but I did provide my actual real name, address and phone number. :/

    He has not replied since.

    I was unsure all along but I thought it was too good of an offer to miss so had to at least query it incase it was legit….. Which then led me to googling “Amazon Marketplace Scams” to find this.

    I will be sure to not let this proceed any further, though I am a little worried now that some scammer now has my name, address and contact number. What would he use that for?

    Only confusing thing is he had positive feedback from 2014, 7 ratings.

    Thanks again though
    Lee

    Reply
  15. Jared Wells

    Thank you for saving me some time! I purchased something from a seller marketing it as used, but advertising it as new in the box yesterday. When the order was cancelled by the seller I noticed the request to contact them first.

    Their email came this morning with a similar layout to your example, so I googled the situation and found your article. I wouldn’t have fallen for the Amazon Gift Card scam… but at least I know not to waste any more time with them.

    Thank you and have a very Merry Christmas

    Reply
  16. Jose Guerrero

    Unfortunately this has spread to New item listings as well. I know better but it’s just annoying shopping and sifting through all these garbage fake postings artificially lowering the prices shown. How hard is it to have a “Report seller” option??

    Reply
    1. Richard Vanderlippe

      My viewpoint is the responsibility should be for Amazon to determine a more aggressive method of finding such “sellers” as soon as they post anything suspicious. I agree that reporting could be easier but that seems to be somewhat akin to fixing the symptoms and not addressing the disease (ok – not the best analogy but maybe my point is made).

      I’d prefer Amazon focus on better parsing tools for automatically detecting suspicious “Comments” that follow what has been noted multiple times here; “please contact me before ordering” and variants on that. They are all the same – so much so that it seems absurd to me that a tool couldn’t be created to catch such repetitious uses of the same scam technique as soon as listings go up. Sure, like anything of this sort the scammers could update with something else. But then the script gets updated as well. Since the scam entirely relies on attempting to trick someone to communicate “out of band” – it really seems pretty silly that more effort couldn’t be made to look for that specific sort of attempt in listings. After all, there are only so many ways you can put something up that attempts to ask for someone to contact you using something other than the communication provided within Amazon.

      Reply
  17. Tom Johnson

    Shame is that there are some really good deals on Amazon at times but you worry about pulling the trigger. I bought a kitchen island table from Amazon for $120 in white when every other version of the table was around $400. Table showed up no problem and was fine. Price rose over the few days after I bought up to $400 like the rest. I put it down to just an Amazon thing.

    Now I just bought a couple of cheaply priced fishing rods from another seller. They were a good deal on discontinued models but the storefront seemed kind of shifty. But I paid in the cart and I paid with American Express, so I am protected (Amex is extra tough on disputed charges) but I am curious what’s going to happen with these.

    Reply
  18. Hairyjock

    The same thing happened to me in the UK. I was looking for a new laptop and was again told to e-mail before buying. In my case I was emailed a very official looking “Order Confirmation” email that looked like it was from Amazon but on it they actually included a bank account in Germany to where I should wire the funds. I am happy to say I didn’t as I had never been asked by an Amazon seller to wire funds directly anywhere. An additional concern was that the email came from support@amazon-az-marketplace.com, which whilst looking very authentic was not an amazon e-mail address.

    Amazon are obviously trying hard to prevent these “email me first sellers” and as a result the email addresses from the sellers are presented in increasingly move convoluted ways so as to keep ahead of the Amazon algo’s which are used to sniff out these practices. E.g they may present their request like this:

    Be..fore or*der*ing co*ntact us : info-B01AXV9 at g*ma*il.com

    I have been using the camelcamelcamel price tracker web site to track certain electrical items and whenever there is a significant drop in the value of a big ticket item (computer, camera etc), it is always one of these bogus sellers. I reckon that this is a fraud on a massive scale and that many, many people are being caught out. With a wire transfer you have no chance of ever getting your money back as you have none of the protections that you would have either buying with a credit card or buying through amazon.

    These guys are creating new seller profiles and new email addresses everyday so as soon as amazon are closing one door these bogus sellers are opening two more. I fear that they are simply siphoning off fraudulent cash from caught out buyers (who wont get their money back) and goods they are advertising don’t exist.

    Reply
  19. Tashana Tynes

    Was recently scammed out of 635.00 via a third seller on Amazon. Trying to get the issue resolved and money refunded through Amazon but seemingly getting the run around. What can I do?

    Reply
    1. Ekim

      @Tashana Tynes

      Q. What can you do?
      A. Learn from your experience and tell all your friends about it!

      Every newspaper, TV and radio programme, consumer association and countless websites all tell you that ‘if it seems too good to be true, it certainly is’.

      Amazon has an AtoZ Guarantee but it only applies if you order and pay through your Basket. If you choose to communicate directly with a seller (read: scammer) at an off-site email address and to pay by bank transfer to a foreign name at a foreign bank (which is what I presume you did), you only have yourself to blame. Your bank account will be 635.00 lighter. You will not receive whatever you ordered. You will not receive money back from Amazon. End of story.

      Reply
  20. BNCF

    I gave my name and address through email. I have not been through the entire process. Nothing through gift cards. The store now has everything listed as “currently unavailable”. Will they be able to hack my account or can I block them some way?

    Reply
  21. will

    It looks like Amazon has found a way to disrupt the email addresses in the “sucker message” to contact the seller before the purchase. The addresses I tried did not work, as I was hoping to mess with these people too. Alas, no fun today. 🙂 I went ahead and hit the Amazon add to cart button on one “to good to be true” item I saw, to see what would happen. The order was canceled and there was not a charge on my account (will check it again later). Then everything the bogus seller posted was marked as “unavailable.” I looked around and found several more scam/fake used sellers that appear to be from the same place. They all had the seller name with “is committed to providing each customer with the highest standard of customer service.”

    I hate f’n scammers.

    Reply
  22. Dan Pruitt

    I am so glad I found this, I was about to pull the trigger on a mattress, the funny thing is the fake order number they used on the OP listing is the EXACT same order number they sent me. Please make sure to do your homework before spending your hard earned dollars. Clearly, this is an organized ring of scammers for multiple products.

    Reply
  23. Duane Ginest

    This happened to me too. But when I received their supposedly order confirmation all kinds of red flags went up when they asked for Amazon gift cards. I called Amazon and the next day I did see the seller removed but noticed that the same type of seller was back with a different seller name. I did a little investigating and found some unique characteristics that this/these scammer(s) have.

    1. The seller always lists their item as used and the price is ridiculously low compared to other sellers selling the same item.
    2. The seller always wants you to contact them via a third party e-mail. They say “contact me before ordering”.
    3. If you look up the seller it shows 1000-2000 products for sale for this seller. No one can manage that many products.
    4. All the products they sell are priced under but close to 500 dollars. This seems coincidental to the maximum cost of one Amazon gift card. I looked at over 100 products of one seller and they were all priced at the exact same price.
    5. If you look at seller information most of the time it shows they “Just Launched”. A few showed a very small number of rates by customers but when looking at the sellers rating chart there were no numbers except for the total.
    6. For those customers that just launched and had a few comments I looked at the actual verbiage from buyers and each comment was dated years ago. So how does one who just launched have comments dating back years?
    7. I identified numerous sellers running this scam. When comparing some of these sellers I found that they sold basically the same products. How can two allegedly different sellers who sell thousands of products sell the same ones?
    8. Comparing different sellers I found that some had the same email addresses.

    Reply
    1. Alasdair

      What they are doing now is somehow posting their offers on innocent vendor web sites (presumably via hacking) which may have something like a 99% approval rating over the last 24 months so it looks fairly legitimate. Then I find that if I am looking for say an apple laptop, everything else the vendor is selling may be completely unrelated to the special offer laptop I can see on their site; for example, they may sell nothing but DVD’s so the appearance of a incongruous seemingly bargain laptop amongst hundreds of unrelated products creates some red flags. They are obviously doing everything they can to conceal the fact from the Amazon search algo that they are asking for email contact, case and point being the message I have just picked up below which came from a company in the UK which sells cake toppings so the appearance of a Dell XPS computer does rather stick out:

      ☑☑WẸ CAN’T DlSPATCH T0 ALL ADDRẸSSES ☑☑ BẸF0RE “ȦDD T0 BASKẸT”; C0NTȦCT US: ☑☑info[ᴀᴛ]ddd484.com☑☑

      Reply
  24. Shelli G

    I got scammed, too. Wish I had found this before-hand. I really feel Amazon should have some liability by not finding when they post “contact me first” messages in the seller informaton. They wanted me to use “Amazon Coins” and for some reason, that seemed to me like that could be legit… so watch out for that, too!!

    Reply
  25. Joshua

    Hi this is really sad. I live in the UK, we have the same problem over here. Every day i email amazons fraud team about these fraud, sometimes they take hours to remove, but this weekend 4 fraudelent sellers are still active after a day. Amazon should take reponsibility because they are not removing these fraudsters fast enough. Therefore not protecting their customers from fraud even though they are warned. I know its the weekend, but their fraud team should be 24hr!!

    Reply
    1. Alasdair

      I am tempted to write about it to the consumer magazine “which” as they may have the clout for Amazon to listen. I reckon it may be a massive issue because the fraudsters are appearing every day so a lot of money must be flowing in their direction to make it worth their while to keep trying to duck under amazons radar 😦

      Reply
  26. olddronedude

    Jeff Bezos needs to spend less time firing rockets and more time firing Amazon employees who are asleep at the wheel and NOT keeping these bogus crook sellers off of “Shamazon.”

    I think he has lost focus and spends all of his time and attention on https://www.blueorigin.com/

    I’ve seen so many scams on “Shamazon” in the last four months that no way in the world will I buy anything from a “just launched” seller. Speaking of “just launched” I think Bezos is totally “out to lunch” on the “just launched” scams that run amok on Shamozon.

    Allowing this to happen ALL THE TIME as we now see it every time I or my wife go to Shamazon, I think Bezos is a real Bozo and I put the blame on him for NOT fixing this.

    Reply
  27. Daniel Williams

    Just got taken on this scam…
    For $380
    Best part is I called Amazon and they confirmed the Transaction number and the Seller. And said using the gift card method was common practice (1st time buying from a 3rd party seller). And now they are saying they have no responsibility

    Reply
  28. Ryan

    What do you think about a seller that has 98% good reviews and has not been shut down but is offering a wide variety of different items all for the same $500 price. Would you think this is a scammer as well? The sellers profile is Craig’ books and more.

    Please let me know,
    Ryan

    Reply
      1. Ken

        FWIW, the items I found are blu ray players: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ol/B00HUGP9EY/ref=mw_dp_olp?ie=UTF8&condition=all

        Some of the higher priced units also have fishy sellers doing the same thing. At first I was surprised the prices were this high on older technology electronics, but now I suspect the fraudulent sellers are artificially raising the prices to make the lower offerings look more attractive. Very glad I found this site (but I suspected something was amiss which brought me here).

  29. Ken

    I have the same question about Craig Books and More for an a used item listed at $500. The condition description also says
    “New in Box. 4FREE SHIPPING CONTACT AMAZONITEMSSELLER at GMAIL.COM. Searching similar model numbers they each have a similar used listing. The storefront has those items on their page. I tried contacting seller to confirm, but that won’t help if they have been hacked.

    Reply
    1. wirednot Post author

      ANY transaction/interaction that tries to take you out of the Amazon framework (like direct email to some bullshit address that sounds legit) violates Amazon’s terms.

      Reply
  30. Pingback: Of Airstream Campers, and Intrigue | wirednot

  31. JoeS

    THANK YOU Lee…. Almost got scammed. Appreciate it. We need more heroes like you to fight the bad guys out there.

    Reply
  32. Shawn

    I’ve just ran into a new sort of scam.

    When the purchase from the third party seller (in this case was selling new with a new storefront), the seller will send you a wrong product. For example, they’ll send you an old nokia instead of an iPhone. They will ignore all contact from you until you file the A-Z claim, at which point they will contact you apologizing for the technical difficulties and that they will fix the issue, but they cannot do that due to your A-Z claim. They send you a link to instructions on cancelling your A-Z claim. Once you cancel, you cannot refile a claim, thus they would have successfully taken your money through the Amazon system.

    Reply

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