Since Saturday, the products of some of the big tech sellers on Amazon websites have disappeared in various countries, including Italy. Among them is Aukey, a brand that mainly sells headphones, chargers, cables and portable batteries, which is known to be great value for money. To the user Who asked on Twitter Where the Aukey products ended up, Amazon support responded with a phrase that seemed automatic and sends it back To the company pageNot all products are available.
The seller’s comment is suspected to be related to the detection of significant fraud based on buy and sell reviews It was revealed last week By some experts from the safety website SafetyDetectives. to me MailAmazon said it had nothing to say about the reason for the move, which was only shared with the sellers in question.
To view all available products, click here: https://t.co/gH35p7DlDT. Giovanni
– amazon help (amazonhelp) May 8, 2021
Fraud reviews are nothing new to Amazon, which for years has tried to contain them by introducing increasingly strict rules and bans or lawsuit To the intended users and vendors upon discovery. When a scam of this type appears, in fact, it can diminish the confidence of customers, who often rely on reviews to choose what to buy. However, identifying these scams isn’t always easy, and the detection of Security Intelligence happened in a somewhat strange way.
SafetyDetectives is a non-profit organization that deals with research and publication in the field of information security. On March 1, a team of experts from the group discovered an online server with an insecure database – that is, it could be accessed without requiring a password – that contained millions of private messages from nearly 200,000 users. After five days the server became inaccessible.
When analyzing the database, SafetyDetectives discovered a review trading firm that was using technology that was already popular. Sellers post ads for the products they want to review, interested users buy them on Amazon, leave a five-star review, and then send the review link to the sellers. Once the review is verified, the sellers compensate the user for the amount spent and allow them to keep the product as a form of compensation. Of course, compensation is offered through PayPal and not through Amazon’s payment service, to avoid raising doubts.
The server SafetyDetectives discovered is located in China but it is not clear who the owner is: it supposedly belongs to a service created specifically to search for users willing to sell reviews (using social networks like Facebook and Chinese WeChat) and put them in contact with sellers. Among the messages downloaded from the server are email addresses, PayPal addresses, WhatsApp and Telegram numbers, and many other information that can be used to track the identities of the people involved.
SafetyDetectives explained how the messages between sellers and buyers clearly demonstrate some of the practices put in place to ensure the reliability of reviews and to avoid detection by Amazon. For example, sellers are asking users to wait a few days before writing a review and making it a certain length in reference to certain specific details. These precautions are taken to escape Amazon controls but also those of Some online services, Such as Fakespot and ReviewMeta, which were created specifically to analyze reviews and identify untrusted reviews.
It is not known if Amazon has acquired the personal data in the database (which SafetyDetectives has not disclosed), but the suspicion is that the suspension of accounts such as Aukey, TomTop, Tacklife and other brands is due to this. Technology website the edge he wrote Aukey and Mpow are not responding to requests for comment on the incident. Already in the SafetyDetectives article, it was expected that Amazon would be able to delete all product reviews involved in the fraud and remove them from the site, suspend vendor accounts, and stop pending payments. Additionally, in countries where the law considers buying and selling reviews a crime that harms consumers’ rights, Amazon may decide to take legal action.
Even for individual “reviewer” users, the consequences can vary: Those who leave thousands of reviews may have to pay fines, while those who can prove they have been scammed may get away with much less. Provided they are tried.
In fact, SafetyDetectives does not rule out that many of the users involved in the scam were not aware of what they were doing. The sellers use very professional language and never warn users that trading review is illegal. Users can easily be confused by these connections because there are also online platforms that allow those who want – in a legal way – to receive free products at home in exchange for reviews on Amazon or other e-commerce. They are part of what is called the system tryvertising, Which can be translated into “testing and advertising,” or Word of mouth marketingI.e. word of mouth. The difference from illegal traffic in paid reviews is that in these cases there is no exchange and users are not obligated to write positive reviews.
Also read: Those who get free products from Amazon