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April 22, 2019

Project Zero: Amazon’s Fight Against Fraud


What is Project Zero?

Project Zero is an automated process used on Amazon to try and eliminate fraudulent products from being sold to unexpected customers. Powered by Amazon’s machine learning, Amazon’s various seller stores are regularly scanned for fraudulent content. If suspected counterfeits are found, then they are swiftly removed. The system is helped by already established brands on Amazon. These brands provide key information about themselves, their business activities and identities, to make it easier for Amazon’s software to detect counterfeits.

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Project Zero does not just give Amazon the ability to deal with fraud, it also gives the individual brands and sellers it too. Once these brands have enrolled in project zero, they are trusted to manually take down any counterfeit listings that are linked to their businesses activities. Another way that project zero’s system is enhanced is by obtaining a unique code from a seller/ business for every product they intend to sell on Amazon. This allows Amazon to scan and confirm the authenticity of every  products purchased in Amazon’s stores. This way they can detect and stop counterfeiting for every product before a customer is tricked into buying it.

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Why is it needed?

It may come as a bit of a surprise, given how credible and trusted a selling system Amazon is, but fraud is a major problem for Amazon and it’s sellers. It is estimated that 13% of the products sold on Amazon are fakes. Considering they sell millions of products every day, this will amount to near devasaion if Amazon don’t provide a serious solution to it. Brands such as Apple go further with this. They reported that 90% of Apple products it purchased directly from Amazon were counterfeit. This highlights a big problem with fraudsters stealing a big brand’s identity to sell their counterfeit  merchandise to unexpecting buyers.

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There are multiple other dishonest technique employed by fraudsters to scam Amazon users. For example, sellers often list cheap “teaser” products to gain enough positive reviews to seem credible. These products are usually low cost smaller products that resemble a recognised brands produce. Once they are able to influence customers into trusting them, they then change the listing image and description to a their poor quality knock offs. As they still keep  the already written reviews and ratings, this will hide the fact that what they are selling is not what the customer was lured into believing it was.

Although Project Zero may not completely eradicate the problems fraud poses Amazon, it is definitely a step in the right direction. It provides sufficient protection against fraud by making it easier to detect. It also empowers sellers as well as Amazon itself to combat the fraud first hand by allowing them to manually dispose of any counterfeit products. Therefore, overall project zero is a major step in the right direction in terms of minimising ecommerce fraud on Amazon’s stores.