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Amazon fake review scam discovered, affects nearly 200,000 users: Here’s how it worked

Amazon App.
Amazon App. (Unsplash)

Amazon review section has been affected with fake reviews and testimonials for products since quite some time. This often leads to more product visilbity in suggestions.

While most of us often know what to buy when we are surfing on a massive e-commerce platform like Amazon, some go for alternatives and select products based on their reviews given by users. However, a new review scam now has reportedly affected over 200,000 users.

The new data revealed by security researchers at SafetyDetectives through a China-based server, as reported by Apple Insider, shows details behind one of the scams and the scale of it. It is worth adding that the Amazon review section has been affected with fake reviews and testimonials for products since quite some time. This often leads to more users buying the product. With high ratings, these products also show up at the top of the suggestion list when you search based on the ‘User Rating’ filter.

How this works is that Amazon vendors send a list of products to reviewers. These are the products on which they want high (usually a 5-star) rating. These reviewers then buy the products and give a 5-star rating for it - resulting in the product to go high on suggestions list, making it more visible in your eyes while browsing.

Also read: Amazon pauses annual Prime Day sale in India due to Covid-19

Once the review is given on Amazon, the reviewer sends a message back to the vendor, which also includes the link to Amazon profile and PayPal details. The reviewer then gets the refund for the item purchased and also gets to keep the product. Some even get extra cash reward, as per the report.

The database found by security researchers linked to one such operation on March 1, 2021 wherein over 13 million records (7GB worth of data) was hosted without any password protection. The database not just included the email addresses but also WhatsApp and Telegram phone numbers for the vendors who took part in this Amazon review scam. Also found were some 75,000 links to Amazon accounts along with PayPal account details and usernames.

We are yet to see how Amazon plans to combat these fake reviews and prevent users from buying the flawed product.

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