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Amazon uses video conferencing to vet sellers

By Henry Vaughan, PA

Amazon is trialling the use of video conferencing technology to vet would-be sellers amid the Covid-19 crisis in a bid to stop fraudsters using the platform.

The company said the feature is being piloted in countries around the world, including the UK, the US, China, and Japan.

The verification tests began in person early this year but switched to video conferencing technology in February as coronavirus spread.

Amazon staff use the video calls with prospective sellers to check they match the identification and documents submitted in their application.

A spokesman said: “Amazon is always innovating to improve the seller experience so honest entrepreneurs can seamlessly open a selling account and start a business, while also proactively blocking bad actors.

“As we practise social distancing, we are testing a process that allows us to validate prospective sellers’ identification via video conferencing.

“This pilot allows us to connect one on one with prospective sellers while making it even more difficult for fraudsters to hide.”

The firm said 2.5 million suspect accounts were stopped worldwide last year before they could offer a single item for sale, while more than 1,000 people have tried to register using the pilot scheme.

Amazon has operated throughout the lockdown, although deliveries have been delayed and some non-essential products were removed from sale.