Bookseller lost year's takings in days after hackers took over Amazon account

A bookseller lost thousands of pounds after his Amazon account was hacked and scores of electrical items were sold to unsuspecting customers who never received the goods.

Gary Morgan faced financial ruin when he lost more than a year’s turnover in a matter of days following the March hack.

But he faced further stress in a protracted battle with Amazon to have his losses refunded.

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Mr Morgan said he was finally promised a refund of more than £26,000 on June 21, yet at the time this newspaper went to press, the bookseller insisted the funds had not landed in his bank account.

Despite the experienced seller’s prolonged ordeal, the e-commerce giant insisted it took ‘immediate’ action to protect sellers and customers who fell victim to cyber crime.

Mr Morgan, 59, of Noahs Ark Lane, Haywards Heath, said: “It has been awful. Lots of days I haven’t wanted to get up. It has exacerbated my depression and it is going to take me a while to get over this.

“It has been a massive shock. You don’t quite feel safe in the world any longer.”

The bookseller set up business 12 years ago and garnered a 98 per cent satisfaction rate since opening.

Alarm bells rang when he noticed nearly 200 electrical goods listed on his account in early March. Mr Morgan said he immediately alerted Amazon, who reassured him and advised him to alert the authorities.

Despite swift action and a report to Action Fraud, transactions for the electrical goods went ahead and buyers began requesting refunds when they never received the items.

Mr Morgan said Amazon, under its refund scheme, compensated the buyers and paid them back using his funds. He claimed he was then told it was up to him to prove it was him, not the hacker, who had duped customers.

“They did absolutely nothing, even though I was screaming blue murder each and every month,” he said.

“They could have stopped it all by cancelling every single transaction.”

Mr Morgan has returned to selling, with the negative feedback wiped from his record but he had barely traded between the hack and the repayment, fearing Amazon would use his takings to pay mounting debts from refunds.

He is considering taking out business insurance, bought an Apple Mac, which he believes will be more secure and strengthened passwords.

Action Fraud believe the cyber crime originated from a hacking of Mr Morgan’s Google account.

Assessing Amazon’s attitude to cyber crime, he said: “It is in need of improvement.

“They told me not to worry as they were taking money out of my bank account.”

The Johnston Press Investigations Unit liaised with Amazon for a month before Mr Morgan received a pledge of a refund.

A spokesman said: “Should an unauthorised person have gained access to a seller’s account as a result of receiving account information outside of Amazon, we’ll take appropriate measures immediately to protect customers and the seller.”