By Ron Howells • 11 May 2021 • 19:21
Do you base your purchases on Amazon reviews? Maybe you should rethink it. image: Wikipedia
Do you base your purchases on Amazon reviews? Maybe you should rethink it.
Safety Detectives, a cybersecurity firm, has discovered a database exposing an organised scam of fake reviews affecting Amazon, which was carried out to obtain discounts and free products, according to a report by lavanguardia.
It is unknown who owns the database, but it contains more than 7GB of data, more than 200,000 users, and 13 million message records.
The process begins with Amazon sellers sending the “fake review network” various items and products for which they would like a 5-star review. These reviewers then purchase the product and rate it. Finally, the vendor refunds the money through Paypal, and the reviewer receives the item for free.
This process had not raised any red flags until now, but because the transaction was conducted through Paypal rather than the Amazon platform, it was extremely difficult for the company to detect any irregularities.
Leaked PayPal account details and ‘fan names’ outline email addresses and what seems to be the usernames of people providing fake reviews. These details could be used to indirectly identify individuals, while many of them contained full names and surnames.
Amazon, which prohibits payment for reviews in company policy and works to detect those that may occur, has ruled on the controversy: “We take action against those who violate our policies that may involve the suspension or elimination of their accounts or the initiation of legal actions.”
“We monitor all existing reviews for signs of inappropriate behavior and we take action quickly if we find a problem. We also work proactively with the different social networks to report those actors who are generating misleading reviews outside our store, “Amazon concluded.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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