How Amazon and eBay Scams Target Shoppers

Joanna Clark Simpson

Customers often fall victim to unscrupulous online retailers and marketplaces. Amazon and eBay are vast and leading online stores catering to millions of customers yearly. Although convenient, they have not been left behind in the rampant increase of shopping online scams.

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A look at eBay and Amazon consumer reviews across social media and review websites such as PissedConsumer.com evidence numerous complaints about scams on marketplaces. So what are the most common eBay and Amazon scams targeted at shoppers?

Phishing Scams

Amazon and eBay are some of the most commonly used brands by scammers for phishing and impersonator scams. The Amazon customer service categorically warns its customers of phishing. Customers are discouraged from opening any suspicious links that may be sent to them via email, text, or webpage.

Since these platforms are popular, the scammers know that customers will be unsuspecting and will not hesitate to open a link from Amazon or eBay.

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According to the FTC, between July 2021 and June 2022, one in every 3 customers who reported impersonation scams said they received calls, messages, or emails from individuals claiming to be from Amazon. In many Twitter posts, you'll find users alert Amazon scams via emails that have suspicious links.

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To prevent being scammed, scrutinize links before opening them, even if they have “Amazon” or “eBay” on the URL. If the link redirects you to a website other than Amazon or eBay, it is a phishing link. Contact Amazon or eBay customer service to report and follow the recommended steps to secure your account.

Fake Reviews

Amazon and eBay algorithms work such that products with more reviews and higher ratings appear top on search results and have a better chance of selling than lower ranking ones.

In an effort to compete with such products, some online retailers get fake reviews for their products to entice customers into buying.

The fake reviews are not only spammy, but they also mislead the customers. In recent years, Amazon has been cracking down on such sellers and reviewers. According to the BBC, Amazon is taking legal action against over 10,000 Facebook group administrators, whose members are responsible for generating fake reviews on the platform.

With a bit of scrutiny, you can easily identify such fake online reviews. Typically, they are generic and do not highlight the products' good or bad. You may also notice that they have numerous grammatical errors.

Fake Websites and Online Stores

There are reported online fake stores both on the major marketplaces and independently. They are designed to closely resemble the website of a major brand, such that you may not realize that it is a clone at a glance. The websites are often used for phishing to collect customer personal information.

Some online retailers and marketplaces use fake websites to trick people into buying goods of poor quality or even buying something they never receive, yet others sell counterfeits. If the prices offered for the items are too good to be true, they are indeed too good. Save up your money and go on to find a legitimate store or product.

Popular online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay are among the top platforms where customers are scammed.

Scammers employ various tactics, including impersonating the brand, fake websites, and fake reviews to attract customers. Even more disappointing is that often customers do not have channels to follow up with the respective marketplace’s customer service for a refund or replacement. Therefore, exercise caution when shopping in various online stores to avoid being scammed.

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Joanna is the Head of Marketing at PissedConsumer.com, a review platform and consumer advocacy website. She analyzes customer experience and shares knowledge by providing tips to help consumers avoid issues and brands succeed with customers.

New York, NY
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