Amazon launches pilot video call program to weed out fraudsters

Amazon continues to battle fraud and track third-party sellers via video calls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the years, Amazon has faced allegations regarding items sold by third-party sellers on the platform. For instance, thousands of items which were mislabeled, banned or had been deemed as unsafe by federal agencies were found on sale on Amazon last year.

There have been also reports about counterfeit products being sold on the site. Hence, Amazon has taken several measures to alleviate fraud cases on their platform.

Amazon’s previous measures against fraud

Last year, Amazon unveiled its Intellectual Property Accelerator to battle fraud, as well as help sellers trademark their products.

This unique approach works by connecting small and medium-sized business with a group of law firms that specialize in trademarks and IP.

Sellers who join the project — whether their products are available on Amazon’s online outlet or not — receive discounted rates from the law firms. The moment they apply for trademarks they get access to Amazon’s fraud prevention tools.

In addition to that, the program comprises automated tools that continuously scan the website and remove suspected counterfeits. There are also unique serial numbers for each product that helps confirm authenticity.

Amazon uses video conferencing to identify third-party sellers

This year, Amazon has gotten more aggressive in its battle against fraud. The company started early this year with their in-person appointments with prospective sellers.

However, due to the ongoing global health dilemma and social distancing directives, they pivoted to utilizing video calls. Amazon makes the planned calls using its Chime video conferencing system.

 

On every call, a qualified Amazon agent checks the prospective seller’s ID and the documentation the seller has provided. This is to ensure that the information matches the person on the call.

Amazon’s current third-party seller authentication process uses a combination of machine learning and human evaluation to root out alleged false actors.

The pilot program launched in four countries

The company said that they are always doubling their efforts to improve the seller experience. They aim for honest entrepreneurs to seamlessly open a selling account and start a business, while proactively block bad actors.

Amazon spokesperson stated,

“This pilot allows us to connect one-on-one with prospective sellers while making it even more difficult for fraudsters to hide”

In addition to other risk-screening carried out by Amazon, the interview testing has been piloted with over 1,000 merchant candidates based in China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan.

Amazon did not give any details about the scope of the project, or whether it will be extended to all applications from third-party sellers.

Image Courtesy of Swapnil Joshi/Youtube Screenshot

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