Business

Hackers steal from Amazon sellers in six-month fraud

LONDON : Hackers siphoned funds from merchants on Amazon.com for six months last year.

Amazon.com said it was hit by an "extensive" fraud, and it was still investigating the hack, which took place between May and October last year, reported Bloomberg. It said it believed that hackers managed to change details of accounts on the Seller Central platform to their own at Barclays and Prepay Technologies.

The case highlights how the world's biggest online retail platform - designed to be automated with minimal human input - can be misused and how difficult it is for Amazon to find perpetrators. A London judge has been asked by Amazon's lawyers to approve searches of account statements at Barclays and Prepay, which "have become innocently mixed up in the wrongdoing".

The court filings stated that Amazon wanted the documents so that it can identify and go after the hackers and get back the funds. The filing does not say how the suspected wrongdoers were able to add details of additional banks to the merchant accounts, Bloomberg reported. The Amazon units named in the filing include Amazon Capital Services UK, which makes loans available to sellers for up to one year. The first fraudulent transfer occurred on May 16, according to the filing.

Amazon said on Tuesday that it issued more than US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion) in loans to merchants last year. The amount of money taken by the hackers is unclear.

BUSINESS & FINANCE