The importance of contact details

If you regularly shop on Amazon or eBay, you probably get tired of receiving emails with regular offers etc, so you choose to associate your shopping accounts with an email address that you don’t regularly access. Probably the worst mistake you can make, because if your shopping account, or Paypal account, becomes compromised, you can become the victim of fraud without knowing it.

It is vitally important that you keep your email address associated with these accounts up to date, so you can become alerted to any suspicious activity as soon as it happens.

While Amazon, eBay and Paypal offer a level of protection for buyers in the event of fraudulent activity, unfortunately sellers like ourselves are not always treated as kindly.

If we suspect any transaction may be fraudulent, our only means of contact that we have, is the email address associated with your Amazon/eBay shopping account.

Of course, there are the obvious benefits of keeping your email address current, in that our couriers can email you dispatch and tracking notifications, to keep you up to date on the progress of your delivery (when available).

In the case of Amazon, we are not allowed to directly see your email address, but instead any emails from us to you, are vetted by Amazon and then forwarded to your email address associated with your Amazon buyer account. If you don’t provide a valid email address, any emails that we may send concerning your order won’t be seen by yourself.

And likewise for eBay, while it is possible for us to contact you via eBay messaging, unless you log into your eBay account to check your messages regularly, you won’t be receiving any notification emails from eBay that you’ve received a message, nor will you be receiving any automated emails that our own system may send out (or indeed automated emails from the systems that other eBay sellers may be using) concerning your order.

Case 1

We have in the past been victims of fraudulent buyers, who have gained access to someone else’s Paypal account, in order to make purchases through eBay, notably to addresses in Moldova*.

Although the delivery address provided was in Moldova, the buyer’s Paypal email address was clearly a Yahoo France email address. So we contacted that email address to seek clarification. We did not receive any response.

We suspected that this was a fraudulent transaction, however because the buyer’s Paypal account was associated with an email address that they clearly didn’t have regular access to, they had not seen either the notification from Paypal that the transaction had been made, nor the advisory email that we sent them asking them to confirm they had made this purchase.

After consulting with eBay, we were advised that if we felt uncomfortable with fulfilling this order, we should cancel the order, which we did. However, we still to this day do not know if the Paypal account holder is aware that their account has been compromised.

*Please note that we have also fulfilled successful genuine transactions to customers in Moldova, and are in no way insinuating that all purchases from Moldova are fraudulent.

Case 2

In the last few months, we have been alarmed by the number of messages we have been receiving from Amazon customers in Germany, specifically asking if we can ship expensive computing products to Indonesia*.

Unfortunately, we have also received a few confirmed sales orders, where the ‘buyer’ has messaged us after purchase, to request to deliver said item to an address in Indonesia.

Clearly there are a number of Amazon Germany buyer accounts that have been compromised, and it is no surprise, considering the number of bogus phishing emails we ourselves have received in the last few months, supposedly from Amazon and linking to fake webpages that harvest Amazon account details.

As I mentioned earlier, Amazon sellers don’t have direct access to buyers email addresses, so our only method of communicating is through Amazon’s messaging system. But this depends on the buyer having a valid contact email address in their Amazon account. If this address is one that is not regularly checked by the buyer, there could be a number of order confirmations fraudulently being carried out, which the Amazon buyer is unaware of. And they will also not be receiving any other emails that we may be sending them.

Luckily for us, Amazon’s policy is pretty much the same as eBay/Paypal’s: only ship to the confirmed address provided at checkout. A hacker may gain access to an Amazon account, which has stored card details, however if they try to add a new delivery address, they will have to verify the card details again. Which is why they try to get the seller to change the delivery address after the order is confirmed, in order to bypass this security protection.

*Again we must point out that we have completed many successful transactions to customers in Indonesia on eBay. However, on the Amazon Germany marketplace, we do only ship to addresses in Germany or Austria. There is no insinuation that all transactions from Indonesia are fraudulent.

In conclusion

As a marketplace seller, ARKS Global will ONLY dispatch orders to the delivery address provided at checkout, whether on Amazon or eBay. If you have made a mistake, please contact us immediately, so that your order can be cancelled, then resubmit your order with the correct address.

Please ensure that your email address associated with your shopping account, whether Amazon or eBay, is one that you regularly check and have access to. And likewise, please ensure the same for your Paypal account.

We will do our best to avoid fraudulent transactions, but ultimately it is up to the buyer to ensure that their account(s) have not been compromised.

We would also like to point out that for privacy reasons, we will never sell or pass on your personal contact information to any third party, however we may pass on your contact email address and/or telephone number to our delivery partners, and if so this is purely for the purpose of them being able to contact you with delivery updates.