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Was Your Amazon Seller Account Hacked? Follow These Steps to Get Back on Track

By John DiGiacomo

Hacking and other cybercrime is rampant. It is not just the big companies that are victimized. Even Amazon sellers are targeted. Indeed, over the last couple of years, Amazon has issued at least two detailed alerts to their sellers warning of increased risks associated with hacking and how to take preventative steps. If your Amazon seller account has been hacked, understand that the process of getting back on track will be involved and time-consuming. For the time-being, you are not in the business of selling online. Your new job is to regain control over your business. Here are steps to follow to reclaim your business.

Step 1 – Make sure the problem is hacking: Amazon accounts can be suspended and sellers can be locked out of their accounts for many reasons including Amazon rules violations. The key indication of hacking is that your account is still active — still selling products — but no funds are being routed to your financial accounts.

Step 2 – Immediately notify ALL relevant actors: The first to be notified that your seller account has been hacked is Amazon. Contact seller support services and have them put you in touch with Amazon’s cybersecurity division. Typically, notifying Amazon will not be sufficient to regain control over your account. But Amazon may shut down the account which can, at least, minimize the lost sales and money stolen.

Note that most hackers are sophisticated and the first step THEY take is to change the email address associated with your seller account. Once that happens, it is no longer just about resetting your passcode(s).

After notifying Amazon, you then need to notify your insurance carrier, contact local law enforcement, notify your financial institutions and retain an experienced cyber-crime/account reclamation attorney like the ones at Revision Legal. Most local law enforcement departments will have a unit dedicated to hacking and other cyber crimes. Likewise, you may want to make reports to your local FBI office or to the Secret Service. Both federal agencies investigate and prosecute cybercrime. Police and law enforcement reports will be necessary both for appeals to Amazon, your insurance claims and for your financial institutions. Be aware that there will also be tax implications if your seller account is hacked. Thus, at some point, you may want to seek financial advice from your accountant.

This may all sound like overkill, but it is not. Hacking is serious and can devastate your business and create serious ripple effects for you and your family. Further, contacting ALL of the relevant actors is necessary to prove that you are taking the required steps to ensure the hacking will not occur again. If Amazon is convinced to intervene and allow you to regain access, Amazon wants to know it won’t happen again. Having your seller account hacked can also cause other problems that can lead Amazon to suspend your account. You need to be prepared to address those issues too.

Step 3 – Begin preparing a full report for Amazon: The report for Amazon should be detailed, explaining what happened, how it happened (as far as you can determine), what steps you have taken to fix the problem (such as contacting law enforcement) and all other relevant details. The report should also detail how you have changed your processes and procedures to avoid a repeat of the hacking. You should also be collecting supporting documentation including items like screen-shots, account statements and the like. You will also need these for law enforcement and for your insurance claims.

As the report is written, some consideration should be given to WHO did the hacking. Not all hacking is accomplished by external “bad actors.” It is not pleasant to consider, but you MUST consider the possibilities that a trusted employee or friend is involved. If you can rule out that possibility, that should be included in your Amazon report.

The report for Amazon is also the foundation for information and documents to be given to law enforcement, your insurance carrier and others.

Step 4 – Verifying you are the account owner: If successful, at some point, Amazon will begin the process of verifying that you are, in fact, the account owner. This may happen organically through the Amazon support services or as a result of actions by law enforcement. The process will lead Amazon to allowing you access to your seller account. The process is detailed and involves Amazon demanding a lot of personal information to verify that you are who you are and that you are the account owner. Examples include demanding passport numbers, copies of birth certificates and the like. Amazon must legally ensure that you are not pulling a “con” on them. Retaining a trusted account reclamation attorney can help ease this process.

Contact Revision Legal

For more information about how we can help with Amazon-related issues, or if you have other questions related to internet law, contact the trusted internet lawyers and seller account restoration attorney at Revision Legal at 231-714-0100.

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