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Amazon reportedly fires workers in seller scam crackdown

The company was investigating reports about data leaks and bribes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Amazon reportedly dismissed workers in the US and India.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Amazon reportedly fired workers in the US and India for allegedly giving internal data to independent sellers linked to scams.

Following an investigation into suspected bribes, the e-commerce giant took action against disreputable sellers by limiting access to data and deleting thousands of suspicious reviews, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Part of the probe is centered on India, which is suspected to be a major source of data misuse, the paper noted, citing an unnamed source. Some of those workers (as well as others in China) have apparently had their ability to search the company's internal database limited and can no longer download data via USB ports.

This follows the October firing of an Amazon employee who allegedly sold customers' email addresses to a third-party seller.

Some sellers are sabotaging rivals by falsely flagging products as fake or infringing trademarks, according to the Journal. 

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Others are buying Amazon wholesaler accounts on the black market -- where some Chinese groups allegedly sell them for up to $15,000 -- to get access to volumes of product listings and maliciously tweak rivals' product pages.

"We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties," an Amazon spokesperson said an emailed statement.

"In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action."

First published at 6:30 a.m. PT.
Updated at 8:30 a.m. PT: Adds Amazon statement.

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