YSK: Amazon tracks your phone orders and here’s why

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Amazon has started rolling out a new way of preventing smartphone fraud. Previously, a buyer could simply purchase a phone, replace it with a substitute or claim it didn’t arrive, and Amazon would dutifully refund them or send them another device. With the first device in hand, the buyer could now sell it for profit or essentially receive a product for free. Fraudsters would have a field day, and legitimate sellers would have to contend with the loss.

Not anymore it seems.  Amazon now attaches the following message to certain phones:

In other words, if a phone is reported as missing, Amazon may still refund you or send you another one, but the first phone will be rendered useless as a phone once the firm reports it to anti-theft databases. This warning doesn’t seem to appear on all devices, nor in all countries. I was able to spot it on some devices like the Honor Play in the UK, and on some phones like the iPhone 7 and 8 (but not XS)  in France, but searching for the same devices in the US and Spanish Amazon websites did not yield the same results.

That said, it stands to reason that the firm may already be applying such common sense fraud prevention methods elsewhere. For sellers of phones which now cost well into the thousands, this is a breath of fresh air. It’s not clear when the firm started this new policy, but this couple who scammed Amazon out of $1.2 million in goods may have had something to do with.

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