Amazon has begun using video calls to verify third-party sellers as a way to try and weed out fraud on the website, according to reports.
Reuters reports that the coronavirus pandemic has forced Amazon to use video conference calls instead of in-person meetings to verify third-party sellers—which make up a large portion of what is sold on the website.
Third-party sellers have recently come under scrutiny. A Wall Street Journal investigation found last year that thousands of products sold by third-party sellers included fake, unsafe, or deceptively labeled products.
Earlier this year, Amazon pulled counterfeit items being sold on the platform, like masks, as millions of people tried to buy coronavirus supplies. It also took down listings for coronavirus supplies that were price gouging.
The third-party vetting process by Amazon includes a representative checking a seller’s identity and documents and making sure it matches the person on the video call, according to GeekWire. The process does not use facial recognition technology, the company told the news outlet.
“As we practice 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,” a spokesperson told GeekWire.
The company said it started an internal investigation and that it prohibits using seller data to determine what products it launches under its private label.
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