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There is a marketplace that buys aged amazon accounts. I thought it might be a good idea to sell them my amz account and make some money. The team member was quite unprofessional when he reviewed my account, and he wasn't even fluent in English (I think he was pakistani), but that was ok. Then they offered me a nice amount of money and I accepted the offer, so a team member emailed me I should send him my bank account info so he can wire the money. I told him I'm not comfortable doing that, maybe we can do some other method of payment (paypal, chase quickpay, etc.). He got all upset and was very rude to me, he said either I give him the info, or the deal is over.

So do you guys think this is a safe deal? Is this normal? I mean there are so many methods of payment nowadays, why would he insist on wiring the money, when I clearly told him I'm not comfortable with that. Is he trying to pull off some scam, or is he plain rude? I mean is there any logical reason why they would prefer wiring money over other methods of payment? I can't help but think this is some kind of scam, although the marketplace has quite a lot of good reviews (or maybe they're fake?).

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    If you think it is a scam, it does not matter whether it is a scam or not. Avoid it. Related question: what are Amazon's terms of service for transferring seller's accounts? – Eric Lippert Jan 28 at 18:30
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    An Amazon account that's existed for a few years, had regular purchases and reviews would be useful for companies who are writing reviews for their products to boost their positions in search results. – mkennedy Jan 28 at 18:52
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    Thank you. So it is dealing with people dealing with liars and hoping they don’t cross you. Revised question for the OP to ask himself: would his account be worth much more than the amount he is being offered? If not it is still a scam. Like someone offering $5000 for your $500 car. – Damila Jan 28 at 18:57
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    @EricLippert Well, if this company is legitimate, and he doesn't make the deal, then he has the opportunity cost of losing the potential income that he could have made from the sale. So passing up on the deal is not zero cost. That said, you have to consider the possibility that it's a scam. Which under the circumstances seems decidedly non-trivial. – Jay Jan 28 at 20:31
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    @EricLippert I stand corrected. Even business accounts cannot transfer. Each human is allowed 1 Amazon seller account for life. sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/t/… – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 29 at 13:57
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There are two things wrong with this:

  1. Sketchiness with bank information. He could be:

    • Planning to take money out of your account.
    • Pay with reversible/fake/stolen money, then ask you to partially pay him back.
    • Pay with reversible/fake/stolen money, then do nothing (i.e., just so he can get your account for free)
  2. Sketchiness with buying an aged Amazon account. An aged Amazon account can be used in many ways:

    • To leave fake reviews.
    • To make purchases with stolen credentials with reduced Amazon fraud screening.
    • To make purchases as a means of laundering money without it being tied to other transactions.
    • To pretend to be you in order to cheat Amazon (fake refunds, etc.)

Amazon's terms state that "You agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account or password." If you give your account to another user in this fashion, Amazon could theoretically sue you. Amazon has sued larger scale buyers and sellers fake reviewers in the past. If nothing else, Amazon may try to ban you from their platform.

It's not clear whether the company is planning to do #1, #2, both, or something else. Fundamentally, this person is doing something dodgy, so I recommend against getting involved.

I'll note that paying a user to do something dodgy/criminal is a common practice with con artists, even when all they want to do is drain your bank account. Search for the phrase, "you can't cheat an honest man," for various discussions of why this is the case.

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  • Brian if he is indeed planning to pay with reversible money, would that be easier for him to do if he is wiring the money rather than sending it thru another medium? – Bach Jan 29 at 1:49
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    The "bank wire only" part of this is not necessarily a scam. PayPal and many other common payment methods do not operate in Pakistan, leaving few options. When I recently bought something from Pakistan I was nervous paying with wire specifically because of how hard it is to reverse a payment compared to PayPal or debit/credit card payment. – Jim Cullen Jan 29 at 5:08
  • @JimCullen so why does Brian insist that I be worried about him paying with reversible money? Based on the fact that he was rude? Because he is buying amz accounts? – Bach Jan 29 at 14:40
  • Once he has your bank account info, he could ACH funds into your account using the routing and account number on a check he found in a trash can. The bank will reverse that transfer (the transaction was not authorized), but won't reverse the money you took out of your account to pay this guy (that he defrauded you is irrelevant, the withdrawal itself was done by you, an authorized user). See How do scammers retract money, while you can’t? for more realistic examples. – Brian Jan 29 at 14:49
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I should send him my bank account info so he can wire the money.

To be quite honest, this is perfectly legitimate. It's how wires work. Also, you give out your bank info every time you write a check.

(Let me strongly emphasize: legitimate wire transfers do not require your bank username/password. All that's needed is the bank's routing or IBAN number and the account number on your statement.)

maybe we can do some other method of payment (paypal, chase quickpay, etc.).

You're right. It is, after all 2020, and there are a dozen legitimate ways of transferring money. Most of what you listed, though, are America-only.

Xoom allows for US$10K/day, but not to Pakistan (if that's really where they're from).

He got all upset and was very rude to me, he said either I give him the info, or the deal is over.

That's the same hard sell technique used by crooked salesmen since the dawn of selling. I wouldn't touch this.

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    "To be quite honest, this is perfectly legitimate. It's how wires work. Also, you give out your bank info every time you write a check." Careful - we don't know what bank info was requested; some people asking questions such as this might not understand the gravity of difference between sharing an account number vs a login and password. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jan 28 at 20:46
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    @Grade'Eh'Bacon the sentence after that says, "They do not require your bank username/password for a legitimate wire transfer!" How much more explicit could I be that they don't require username & password? – RonJohn Jan 28 at 21:05
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    The first 3 sentences starting 'this is perfectly legitimate' could be changed - in my mind, the tone of the question is naive at best, and you are emphasizing belittling the person for asking, instead of emphasizing an abundance of caution. Just my two cents. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jan 28 at 21:17
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    @Grade'Eh'Bacon I edited it some to show that I agree with him. – RonJohn Jan 28 at 21:28
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    Note that all you should give out is your bank routing number and the account number. That is something that will be required for any sort of direct deposit - your paycheck, funds from your brokerage, your income tax refund (if you get one)... – jamesqf Jan 29 at 4:30
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The real goal may be to identify suckers

Con games on the Internet are getting very, very smart. There's a trick: Screening victims to exclude the savvy. They want the right ratio of greedy, naïve and crooked... and they don't want anybody else.

Microsoft Research wrote an amazing paper about how scammers deliberately mention "Nigeria" to repel the savvy: leaving only the naïve. Offering to buy aged Amazon accounts is obviously shady as all getout, and so it also selects for the crooked, and the greedy.

So the aged Amazon account may only be a bonus; the real goal would be to identify someone who can be manipulated. You might get all the usual dodgy scam stuff. Transferring too much money "Oh, could you transfer the extra back please [using a totally different and non-reversible method]? My father just went in the hospital." (and then, the payment reverses). Printing fake paper checks using the account info, and using those against other scam victims. (Multi-way scams are now a HUGE thing, where they play 2-3 victims against each other).

Or, since you have flexible morals, they may offer you an "office worker" job cashing checks. (those same checks I just mentioned, but other people's).

Or they plan fraud with your Amazon account

You are not allowed to sell your Amazon account. Ever. It contains your reputation, both publicly and internally in their risk-analysis system.

Amazon actually contains an "eBay" inside it - anyone with an Amazon account can list items on Amazon Marketplace, which are inter-mixed with regular Amazon results. ("Sold by and ships from XXX" right under the Buy Now button). Further, anyone who sells on Amazon Marketplace can place the products in the Amazon warehouses and then, those items ship with Prime. ("Sold by XXX and Fulfilled by Amazon"). There is so much mischief a fraudulent seller can get up to, using the trust Amazon has placed in you.

It's not just that it's an aged account. IT's also a US/CA/UK account. As you surmised, these people are foreigners, and Amazon has done the "Know Your Customer" diligence to ascertain that you are an American/Canadian/Brit, and as such, have a level of trust since you're well within the reach of US law enforcement if you were to commit fraud.

If you're very, very lucky, the worst they'll do is buy a bunch of their own products with your account so they can leave fake reviews - that arms race has been going on for years. (to show the extremes they'll go to, search the web for stories of people receiving unordered product. They're willing to give up a lot of cheap Cheese junk to buy some good reviews on the platform).

If you're very unlucky, they'll use it to fund terror.

Whether or not you are OK with them doing the above, the appearance will be that you are OK with it. Since you conspired to do it.

You are implicated in whatever they do

Or, don't leave your ID at a crime scene...

Both the authorities and a sufficiently motivated private party, if burned or concerned by activities with your former account, can chase you down. For instance, I would file a "John Doe" lawsuit, subpoena from Amazon the identity data of the account owner, and your name would pop up as a past owner. Discovery would have a fair chance of turning up the fact that you sold your Amazon account for money. It goes downhill from there. The argument would soon come up that you knew, or reasonably should have known, that selling an Amazon account was a breach of contract, and that the buyers would likely be up to no good. That would remove any defense of innocence, and would increase your risk of liability, even making it hard to wipe it out in bankruptcy.

Such legal action tends to be full of uncertainties and might make for a rather nerve-wracking year, possibly leading to a substantial cash payout, at the very least for your own lawyer.

While the chance is not large, the risk is certainly large. So unless you have a strategy for dealing with those risks, you might want to think twice.

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To answer your question directly: There is no honour among the thieves, so it's possible your partner in crime is trying to scam you.

First of all - selling Amazon account is against its ToS. See: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201909000

Second of all - you need an account number to wire the money. Duh. (To clarify: I mean the bank number not login/password)

PayPal is worse than banks (or the same for example in EU PayPal is a bank) - if you think using PayPal will protect you in this shady deal you're making (and you know perfectly well it's shady), you're wrong.

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  • Can you add references to your claims? – bznein Jan 29 at 9:45
  • @bznein I've added link to the TOS, but those are not claims, those are all facts :) – Marcin Raczkowski Jan 29 at 9:51
  • @MarcinRaczkowski A fact has a source. Saying something without evidence is just a claim. – T. Sar Jan 29 at 12:05
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    @Grade'Eh'Bacon "Duh?" is about as dismissive as you can get. Are you going to down vote this answer? – RonJohn Jan 29 at 13:56
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    @Bach "You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password and for restricting access to your account, and you agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account or password." Do you really want to allow someone else who you don't know access to something which is your sole responsibility? "they might even have permission from amazon" I doubt Amazon would give anyone permission to break their ToS. "There is no crime here involved" maybe not a crime, but definitely a shady deal which breaks Amazons ToS. – GrumpyCrouton Jan 29 at 16:36

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