Chinese consumers sue Amazon for phishing scams

Updated 2017-11-13 09:34:04 chinaplus.cri.cn

Some 42 victims of phishing scams have filed a suit against Amazon after the online shopping giant refused to compensate them for their losses and deleted related evidence from users' accounts without permission, thepaper.cn reported.

There are reportedly about 200 victims in China, but only 42 have chosen to team up to sue Amazon.

The total amount of money involved has not yet been revealed, but two of the victims have reported 120,000 yuan and 54,598 yuan in losses, respectively, with another suffered a 2,000-yuan loss as well as an over 90,000-yuan loan to repay.

The victims have asserted similar fraud experiences.

After placing an order on Amazon's official website, consumers received a call from criminals who impersonated the company's customer service staff.

Providing accurate information about consumers' placed orders, the criminals told consumers that there was something wrong with their orders, persuading them to get the refund.

If the customers agreed, the criminals instructed them to log in using a link from the customers' own Amazon account, which has been proven to have been hacked.

They then fooled customers into handing over sensitive information, like account numbers, passwords, and identification codes, to complete the scam.

Most of the victims said if their Amazon accounts had not been hacked and planted with the phishing links, they would not have believed the criminals so easily.

When they discovered the fraud, most of the victims immediately called the police.

They also contacted Amazon for "a reasonable explanation and compensation."

However, their requests have been refused.

"What is ridiculous is that, after communicating with Amazon's consumer service, I found that my account had been cleared without my permission, and the phishing link inside had been deleted," said Ms. Sun from Shanghai, who suffered a loss of 120,000 yuan.

"In theory, only users can modify their personal information," she said.

She regarded Amazon's unexpected move as "clearing any traces of fraud."

"Instead of clearing users' accounts, they [Amazon] should have taken precautions to prevent their website from being hacked with illegal links," she added.

The 42 plaintiffs are suggesting Amazon has failed to ensure the security of users' information and property, as the loopholes on the online retail giant's website have been exploited by criminals which led to the scams.

The victims also claim that Amazon has taken a "perfunctory attitude" towards them after the incident happened.

They said Amazon had done nothing except adding some warnings on its websites and cleared or even closed their accounts unilaterally.

The plaintiffs are pushing for Amazon to shoulder the main responsibility for their losses.

"We hope that Amazon can close the loopholes on its website in a timely fashion via our prosecution, thus avoiding similar tragedies in the future," victims told thepaper.cn.

Responding to the incident, a spokesperson for Amazon said that the company had taken measures against the scams, including providing warning information and closing the "edit your profile" function. Amazon's system will also recognize and delete illegal links.

The company promises to cooperate with police in further investigations.

The case is scheduled to be heard in Beijing on November 13, 2017

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