Hacking is not as common as other issues for Sellers on Amazon – but it does happen, and it can be both daunting and damaging. While the issue of having seller accounts hacked has existed before, the issue has become far more prevalent recently. For this reason, it becomes essential to avoid being hacked when it comes to selling on Amazon platform and if you are facing this unfortunate problem, I hope that you can pick up some tips to handle it.
This article will cover:
- What lead to a hacked seller account?
- Signs your account was hacked
- What to do if your account was hacked?
- How to prevent your account from being hacked?
Let’s jump right in!
What lead to a hacked seller account?
Your account may have been hacked by an outsider. Some of the attack vectors for that sort of hacking are:
- Malware-laced “phishing” emails that fooled you into installing malware on your system, including emails where you may have clicked on attachments.
- A malicious website that installed malware on your system.
- A fake “Amazon” website, possibly one you reached by clicking a link in an email, that accepted your login credentials and saved them for use by bad actors.
It is important to understand that your problem may also be the result of an inside job. Consider who else may have physical access to your computer and account, or who may know your username and password. You may want to keep all other users off of your account while you sort things out. It should be considered all possibilities.
Signs your account was hacked
Hackers have been targeting Amazon seller accounts, some symptoms of a hacked account are:
- Your account has numerous products listed which you do not sell.
- Customers are inquiring about transactions that you do not recall conducting, or you receive emails from Amazon which do not seem to correlate with your actual sales.
- Your bank transfer has not arrived, and/or your bank information has changed.
- You cannot log into your account.
If any of the above circumstances obtain, your account may have been hacked.
What to do if your account was hacked?
#1. Change Your Password
Assuming that you can still log into your account, do so, preferably from a different computer or device than you normally use, and change your password (Seller Central-> Settings / Login settings ->“Edit” -> “Password”).
If you cannot still log in, contact Amazon (as described Notify Amazon below) and explain that to them.
#2. Remove Any Added Users
The hacker may have added users to your account. Those users will still be able to log in even if you change your main password, so you must remove any such users. You would do so by going to Settings / User Permissions and deleting any “Current Users” or “Pending Users” that you do not recognize. You may also want to “Revoke access” if there are any “Amazon MWS Developer Permissions” set up that you cannot explain.
#3. Set Your Account to “On Vacation” until the issue is resolved
This is particularly important if hackers have added bogus products to your account, but I would take this step in all cases, if only to calm the situation down. Learn how to set your account to vacation mode here.
Of course, if a hacker continues to have access to your account he can take it off vacation again, so this may need to be monitored and repeated.
#4. Notify Amazon
Call Amazon Customer Service and ask to be transferred to Seller Support. Tell Seller Support that you believe your account was hacked. Ask them to take the following actions:
- Place your account “on vacation” and take other actions they would normally take for a hacked account.
- Cancel any sales of bogus products made by your account, and to remove products you do not sell.
- Check if your bank information has been changed, and check into the status of any bank transfers, to see if monies have been transferred to accounts other than your own.
- Recover any transfers that went to a bank account other than your own.
- Remove any additional users that may have been added to the account (in case the hackers are somehow re-adding them as you delete them).
Amazon is known for its sluggish responses to calls for help on these matters, so be persistent. After that, send an email to Amazon to describe briefly your issue and ask them to take action to secure your account.
In many cases, Amazon will suspend your account if they detect someone has hacked it; even if the hacker has stolen your sales proceeds. In case of getting a seller account suspension for hacking, you must appeal or their account will always remain deactivated. You should first draft a strong and complex Plan of Action to get your account reinstated, or you can contact Appeal Service to help with their issue.
How to prevent your account from being hacked?
In order to prevent this issue from recurring in the future, it’s a good idea to practice sound Internet/Amazon hygiene:
- Regularly check your bank account, credit card, and user permission settings in Seller Central to make sure they have not been changed without your knowledge. This also enables you to report any unexpected changes to Amazon before money is exported from your account to that of a hacker.
- Consider dedicating a computer to your sales activities. An old computer with a browser is usually sufficient; there is no great need for speed.
- Don’t open email attachments that appear to be from people known to you if you weren’t expecting them and the accompanying text does not ring true.
- Don’t visit sketchy websites, or if you must, do it from a different computer than the one you use for your selling activities.
- Don’t install software you don’t need.
- Always be skeptical. Emails that in any sense say they want you to log into an account should be regarded with extreme skepticism. If you were to receive, for example, an email purportedly from Amazon.com that asked you to log into your account to check or verify something, do so by going directly to the Amazon (or other website) web address, do not click a link in the email which may take you to a fake website that will steal your login information.
- Do not share your login password with anyone who doesn’t really need to know it. If you have people who need to take limited actions on your account, rather than giving them your password use the Seller Central features to create a user account with limited permissions.
- Scan your system regularly with Malwarebytes or some other anti-malware product.
- For Windows, make sure System Restore is operating and restore points are being created. You can’t use them if you don’t have them.
All in all, attackers are out there, trying to get access to any and all information related to spending or personally identifiable information. Protect your accounts by setting strong passwords and configure two-factor authentication everywhere it is available. It’s not difficult to do and will make your accounts much more secure.
Other types of Amazon account suspension