Amazon AMZN is testing video calling to verify third-party sellers, as the online retail giant tries to reduce the fraudulent accounts and listings on its platform.
The enhanced-vetting process supplements the normal online submission process with video calls to verify the identities of applicants. The Seattle company has been trying to cut down on potential fraud.
The company said the live verification program began early this year. The program initially involved in-person verification but changed to video calls due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As we practice social distancing, we are testing a process that allows us to validate prospective sellers’ identification via videoconferencing,” an Amazon spokesperson told the Verge.
“This pilot allows us to connect one-on-one with prospective sellers while making it even more difficult for fraudsters to hide.”
Amazon has said third-party sales account for over half of items sold on its platform.
The company said it uses its Chime videoconferencing technology to make the scheduled calls. A trained Amazon representative checks a prospective seller’s ID to ensure it matches the person on the call and the documents the seller has provided in the application.
The program is being tested in countries including the U.S., the U.K., China and Japan, and more than 1,000 prospective sellers have gone through the pilot.
Amazon said the program does not use facial recognition technology to verify identity
The company has faced criticism over counterfeit items that have been sold on the website.
Amazon said it has been taking measures to crack down on fraud, including launching a program to give legitimate third-party sellers legal assistance to protect their products from counterfeiting.
Amazon shares at last check were up 0.3% to $2,417.58.