You may recall that Amazon was implicated as the weak link in the Mat Honan iCloud hack, wherein a gadget blogger had his entire online identity nuked from orbit because Amazon gave up the secondary identifying information necessary to issue a password reset over at Apple. (The last four of your credit card, incidentally.) I'm sad to say that Amazon has clearly not improved their authentication protocols in any meaningful way, but this time it's hurting them directly.
The article goes on to document how the author, who had bought a (pretty expensive) camera recently, had someone "socially engineer" their way to a replacement that Amazon shipped to a different address -- which turned out to be a forwarding blind drop company!
The scammer is almost-certainly outside the US and thus immune from prosecution. The targeted user is immune from any sort of liability or even trouble as well, since there's no association with that address "in fact."
So who's going to eat this? Amazon is. And if they try to pass it through to someone else they're going to run into a major problem because they appear to be the ones who shipped the replacement with shoddy (read: basically no) verification that the person is who they say they are; their "verification" was engineered out of them in the form of order numbers!
That's not good at all.
It doesn't really impact you as a consumer, but it is one of the classical problems for online retailers -- the balance between good customer service and locking down your processes to prevent fraud.
One has to wonder how this specific set of actions was discovered as a weakness; was that an inside job? I suspect it might be, but whatever is going on here Amazon had better figure it out, because $1,000 cameras are pretty damned expensive to lose, and when you have a low single-digit percentage net operating margin every one of these you lose costs you $50,000+ in sales to make back.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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