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Security & privacy

Sketchy sellers are bribing and hassling Amazon customers via email

Amazon enjoyed huge profits during the pandemic, as consumers scrambled to buy essentials and items to keep busy while staying home. The online retail juggernaut saw more orders and members as people jumped aboard the Prime bandwagon.

Even now, as supplies and other products are readily available again, Amazon is expanding its business, seeking thousands of workers to help keep the orders moving. Tap or click here for more on Amazon’s call to potential employees.

Over the past couple of months, Amazon has cracked down and removed sellers that pay customers for positive reviews. Now sellers are apparently going after people who leave negative reviews and attempting to change their minds.

Fake feedback

Reviews are a great way to make buying decisions on Amazon, but you can’t always trust them. In 2020 alone, Amazon removed 200 million suspected fake reviews before customers saw them.

Fake reviews come in different flavors. Sometimes reviewers have a deal with sellers in which they leave positive feedback in exchange for a refund on the product they are reviewing, which they then get to keep.

Some sellers go fishing for good reviews by leaving gift cards in their packages amounting to the same cost of the item purchased. Sellers use social media and other third parties to attract people to leave them positive reviews. Tap or click here for information on some products that were removed by Amazon as a result of these crooked practices.

Tracking you down

The Wall Street Journal published a report about sellers tracking down customers who left negative reviews and requesting that they revise or delete the review in exchange for gift cards or refunds.

Ben Hendin of Oklahoma told the Journal that he was contacted by a seller outside of Amazon four times after leaving a negative review on a $17 finger splint. The seller kept bumping up the amount he was willing to pay the customer to remove the review, all the way up to $40.

When Ben asked how his contact information was found, the seller said his boss found it through a “social software search for names.”

Sellers aren’t supposed to reach out to Amazon customers outside of the platform, which hides contact information. This is a violation of the terms they agree on to use Amazon to sell their wares.

Be wary of fake reviews

You can spot questionable reviews in a few ways:

  • Gushing reviews are a red flag.
  • If the review seems vague, it was possibly copied from other reviews.
  • A large group of positive reviews left in a short time are something to watch out for.
  • Fakespot is a free Chrome extension that looks for fake reviews. Learn more at
  • ReviewMeta filters the fluff from reviews, leaving you with the bare essentials. Go to for more information.

If a seller reaches out to you and offers compensation for a positive review or asks that you edit or delete an existing one, ignore it. Report these violations to Amazon by emailing the company at Provide as many details as you can and include screenshots of the communication if possible. Make sure also to block the sender.

Keep reading

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Don’t get duped! Insider tips for spotting Amazon scam emails

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