PSA: Amazon’s Appalling Lack of Security

If you are an Amazon user, please take head. Amazon has an appalling lack of security that I’m pretty sure many users are completely unaware of. I know I was and I tend to be on the cautious side when I do anything online, let alone shop.

While I’m still in the middle of trying to get my issue straightened out and I don’t have all the facts yet, I can do some pretty obvious inference into what happened. No matter the facts of how or why, my account didn’t just get hacked, it got full on hijacked.

Yesterday, I got a notification that my password had been successfully changed, a change I at no time requested. I go to Amazon to log in to see what is going on and it says there is no account under that email address. It’s as if that account simply no longer exists when just hours earlier I had no problems getting in and getting a book.

I call customer service and it takes a while, but they finally determine that the email address for my account has been changed. Again, something I did not do. The issue has to be escalated to another level, but I don’t get a resolution. I have to wait for someone to call me back. In the meantime, I have credit cards tied to this account. I’ve been assured that the account is currently locked, but that does not relieve me in any way, shape, or form. Someone pretty much stole my Amazon account out from under me and I have no clue how. I am still waiting on a call back, but I have no access to anything. No Unlimited. No ability to track several packages I was expecting. No way to go in and remove those cards from the account or any of my other personal information like my address.

I am almost certain that I know what happened, but I can’t confirm any of it. About a month ago, I ordered a shirt that was listed as a Prime item. I got it, like pretty much every single other thing I’ve ever gotten. I have been an Amazon Kindle Unlimited and Prime customer for YEARS and have not one single time ever had a issue with anything, so when that shirt came and I loved it and decided to get another one in a different color, I didn’t think twice about the change from Prime to not with the color change. That was my first mistake.

Not only was the different colored item not Prime, but it was not scheduled to arrive for over a month. I honestly thought that the item I was buying was from the vendor listed in the main listing that stocked with Amazon, but that that color/size was out of stock and needed to ship directly from the vendor. That isn’t what happened. I got switched to an entirely different vendor, but there was nothing in this process that made that obvious. I didn’t realize there was any issue until weeks later when I went to track the item only to find out that there wasn’t any tracking information provided. When the shirt never showed up, I contacted Amazon and was told that I wasn’t eligible for a refund as this was purchased by an outside vendor and I needed to deal with them directly.

When I went to leave a nasty review, I saw that this particular vendor had a single star rating, not the 4+ that was on the original listing. EVERY single review was about never receiving the merchandise. I’m pretty damn certain that if Amazon allowed it, that one star wouldn’t even exist, the reviews were so bad.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a classic bait and switch on Amazon’s part. Should I have paid closer attention to the actual vendor when I went to check out? Yes. Absolutely. But I had NO idea that this was something that Amazon did, switching vendors under a single listing like that, so I didn’t know that it was something I needed to watch for. Again, I’ve been a customer for years and not once have I run into an issue like this.

One of the massive problems with this situation is that the item in question actually has it noted in the top level of their description that the item is only authorized to be sold by a single vendor, that any other vendors selling it are doing so without authorization, yet Amazon allowed this vendor to list and sell this item. Essentially, allowing, at best, unethical practices if not out and out fraud. When I confronted them about this vendor, which I absolutely did, I was told that they watch vendors closely and take action when there are issues, but there had been these negative reviews going back well over a year and they were, quite obviously, still allowed to be a vendor.

Now, just over 10 days later after I submit my complaint against that vendor, I have someone manage to get into my account. Sure, it very well may just be a coincidence, but that would be one hell of one.

After dealing with this last night, Hubby did some checking and apparently Amazon doesn’t have any real security when it comes to your account. If someone has the most basic information like the email address used and the home address, all information provided to vendors when you buy something, they can get into your account with a single phone call. There is no verification process AT ALL. When I called, I was able to find out that the email address had changed and get the account locked down simply by providing them with an order number of something I’d purchased. Again, something a vendor would most likely have access to.

His research showed that there ARE ways to set up a dual authentication on your account for logging in, but that isn’t a standard thing. It is something you have to go into your account to set up yourself. That also doesn’t negate the ease of which someone can get to your account through customer service via phone.

It is truly terrifying to see how insanely easy it was for this to happen, and that I’m not the only one to have it happen to. It is so stupidly easy for a vendor that got ticked about a review to utterly destroy your account. I have no clue what has been done in the time mine was out of my control. We did check Hubby’s account and the credit card numbers are masked, so that can’t be stolen, but… YEARS of history and information are in that account. Do you know how many books I have through that?

I feel violated and ragingly pissed off. I’m already pushing two hours past the time I was told I would hear from someone and I’ve yet to get a call.

 

How The Dog Instigated Chaos

The day started with Hubby giving the dog a chew treat this morning when he went to fix us coffee. Turns out, that treat ended up making a nasty mess on the carpet in the living room where she decided to chow down on it. I go to clean it up and I now have a lovely clean spot in a mess of a high traffic area. Typical me, this doesn’t work and I just decide to bite the bullet and just shampoo the whole living room as I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Noticing a pattern here?

Continue reading “How The Dog Instigated Chaos”

Ahhhh! Cool Air!

Upside… We have a working AC. Downside, the temps dropped and it hasn’t needed to be turned on yet, though we did close up the house and turn it on to test out how well it removes the humidity even when it doesn’t need to cool (awesome, awesome, AWESOME feature).

Continue reading “Ahhhh! Cool Air!”

Oh, Come On!!

Yesterday, I moved the small, portable AC my guys dropped off for us into the living room when the kids got home because the house was up to 90 inside. Get it set up and running and I go to move the fans around and the unit dies, my ceiling fan stops and I’m thinking I tripped a breaker. Go to reset it and all the breakers are on. Nothing has tripped.

I unplug all the fans in that room and move them to other areas I know are on a different circuit, unplug the unit and as soon as I do, my ceiling fan starts back up. Everything runs fine for a while. It isn’t until hours later that I realize my fan is off again. At this point, a storm had moved through and dropped the temps drastically, so I just unplugged the unit. Fan starts working again.

Hubby goes to shut down some things outside for the night, comes back in and tells me the lights are off on the chlorinator for our pool. That is on its own circuit so it shouldn’t have been affected by whatever was going on in our living room. Checked that breaker and it is also not tripped. Even try flipping it off and back on, still no lights. So, we either have yet another piece of equipment in our house that just decided to up and crash, or we have a nasty electrical problem on top of EVERYTHING else. Or, quite possibly, both.

Enough already!!

Semi-Repurposed Rain Gauge

A couple of weeks ago I had ordered a new rain gauge online. The day it was supposed to show up, I get an email saying I needed to authorize a change and that I’d be lucky if I saw the thing by the end of September. I had thought when I saw it and the ones like it that there was zero reason why I couldn’t make my own other than needing the right materials, so I just decided to cancel the order and figure out a way to make my own.

Continue reading “Semi-Repurposed Rain Gauge”

FFS!

So… I was going to post a pic today. Apparently, not going to happen since the latest mess that decided to hit is the fact that the SD card in my phone has apparently decided to go belly up. Can I PLEASE get a break for a little while?

Heartsick and Angry

When will America love their children more than their guns?

I avoided posting yesterday because I knew if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to avoid the vitriolic post that would come out of how I was feeling. The above quote is one that expresses a portion of what I feel in fewer words. While I’ve worked through much of that, it is far from gone so if you want to avoid the spillage that remains, feel free to move on.

Continue reading “Heartsick and Angry”

Hunting

I’m really missing that I no longer get these encounters anymore. For over 10 years we had nothing but an open field behind our house. Until we put up our fence a couple of years after we moved in, we would get deer in the yard, right next to the house to eat my flowers. The day we moved in, a coyote took up residence against my back door and scared the crap out of me when I went to open it. After the fence was put up, we would often get sights like this one because it and the kids swing set that used to be there were the perfect perches for birds to stand watch and hunt in the field. Continue reading “Hunting”

Still Nothing, Still Waiting

It has been nearly a month since I asked for help on my latest creative project. The first two people I asked for help, I haven’t heard a single peep from since I asked and they agreed. Two weeks since I asked, nicely, for updates or progress from the third one that agreed to help and was told that they would be getting to it that weekend, which didn’t happen and again, silence. Continue reading “Still Nothing, Still Waiting”

No Soliciting or Just Don’t

Wow. Never thought I’d have to lay down a rant like this, but apparently it is necessary.

It is incredibly poor taste and beyond annoying to spam other people. There are so many ways to do so, such as liking every single post someone makes (you do not think every single thing posted on a site is good) or spam texting, but for this particular rant, it is about marketing. Books in particular.

Yes, I read books. Lots of books. Yes, I also write the occasional review. At this point in time, not a single review I have written has been done so at the request of anyone. The books I’ve written about are the ones I’ve chosen to pick up and read, either because it was suggested, through a truly reputable source such as Goodreads or Amazon based on other books I’ve bought or read, or because I found it by searching the genres I enjoy.

Would I be opposed if an author requested a review? Depends on the book. Something that isn’t in my genre of interest, I’d politely say “No thanks.” If it looks interesting, I’d probably read it. Something from an author I really enjoy? I’d love it and probably be doing a stupid fan girl dance around the room. But, if any of them requested I review a book, but then said, “Oh, by the way, you have to buy it to read it to be able to review it?” Uh… no. Just frickin’ no. Seriously?

I don’t mean that because I want free stuff. I’m an artist. I understand the amount of work that goes into creating something and then needing to get paid for that work, so I am more than willing to pay for the things I want. Doing so helps to ensure I keep getting those kinds of things because the artist/writer/creator can keep doing what they do because they are getting paid.

To expect someone to do something for you, though, someone you don’t even freakin’ know, someone that you have never written about before (because you are a newbie author and JUST dropped your first book), AND expect them to pay for the privilege of your greatness? Who the hell does that shit? Not only is it just plain rude, but that kind of pushy salesmanship is not going to get me to read your stuff, it is just going to piss me off and insult me. Oh, and going through my archives and liking a few posts isn’t going to encourage me to do so either.

You may get lucky and pull in a few suckers, but you are more likely to just piss people off. I’m sorry, but if you want to be a writer, an author, then you have to put in the work, just like everyone else. You market your book by talking about it, offering up ARCs or free copies to reputable review sites (don’t think I fall into that category since I have like 70 followers here, a chunk of which you have to assume fall into that other spam category of spam followers), networking and creating a solid online presence and working with others to help market in a way that isn’t spamming. No one likes spammers.

Putting out a book and getting readers is a ton of work and it will cost money or resources, but you can’t short cut that work by finding any contact form you can through bloggers that write reviews and demanding they buy and review your book.

If I were a truly nasty person, I’d go and write an incredibly negative review, because this is not a theoretical situation. I actually had someone email me, out of the blue, asking not only for me to review their book, but to purchase it to do so. What is truly funny? The idgit apparently didn’t realize that it is available through Kindle Unlimited for free.

So, no. I will not be buying your book or writing a review. Be grateful for that because there are some truly nasty people in this world. And a word of advice. Stop. Just don’t.

 

On Hold Frustration

My current creative project is sitting on hold at the moment. Not because I don’t want to work on it, but because I’m at a point where I cannot move forward without help. Help that I cannot stand to ask for, but this is something that I am unable to do on my own. Continue reading “On Hold Frustration”