Turn To Tara investigates Amazon’s delivery security issues

A Turn to Tara investigation revealed potential privacy and security issues with certain Amazon deliveries.

Amazon’s new delivery service has a virtual key for thousands of apartment buildings – but in some cases it shouldn’t have access.

A Westchester businessman says he has serious privacy concerns over the popular delivery service which does not require a doorbell or key fob.

Amazon’s “Key For Business” device allows their drivers to access your buildings without having to be notified.

The new service aims to speed up deliveries and reduce package theft. This leaves some wondering if their privacy is at risk.

“It’s just not fair to have someone walk in not knowing who they are,” says David Amster, president of Prime Locations Inc.

Amster is a property manager and oversees one of the largest cooperative buildings in Westchester County.

It was his job to figure out what was wrong last spring when hundreds of residents of Sadore Lane Gardens had problems granting access to their guests and food delivery drivers.

A service technician discovered radio transmitters installed in the building’s intercom panel.

The mysterious black boxes causing the interference were quickly identified as ‘Amazon Key’ devices enabling contactless delivery – something Amster says no one was allowed to.

“It’s certainly daunting, and you know, from a security perspective, it gives access to the building to people who shouldn’t be there,” Amster says.

The discovery prompted a bill of nearly $1,500 to clean up what the technician described as an “act of vandalism.”

Amster says this has become a big deal and would also void a warranty on the intercom panels.

He decided to contact Turn To Tara after saying his concerns had fallen on deaf ears.

However, when the Turn To Tara team contacted Amazon, they sent a permission form for the installation which included a signature.

Amster said no one signed the form, so Turn To Tara brought this to Amazon’s attention.

In response, he launched an investigation, which concluded that Amazon terminated its relationship with the third party that set up the device.

An Amazon spokesperson said, “At Amazon, we take these matters seriously. As soon as we confirmed an issue at this property, we disabled the service and ended our relationship with the third-party installer. “

Amster hopes they will now cover repair costs, but the question remains: how many other people don’t know these devices have been installed?

Amazon confirmed that several thousand apartment buildings across the United States were listed, but declined to answer when asked about the extent of the problem.

Once News 12 started digging deeper, the Turn To Tara team heard from Lisa Espinosa, president of a homeowners association who lives 2,000 miles away in Salt Lake City, Utah.

She shared a very similar story at the Amsterdam ordeal.

“That black circle is the Amazon key fob. So that’s what was put there without any kind of notification. We didn’t know what it was,” she said, “When we asked for info on who approved it, they stalled and we couldn’t get an answer.It’s a lot of following up and not getting answers and following up and not getting answers.

Beyond privacy concerns, Espinosa and others are also concerned about security. For example, if a criminal or hacker gains access to the device, who is responsible?

In its statement, Amazon said all Amazon Key packages are delivered by Amazon and drivers are subject to comprehensive background checks.

Residents who were caught completely off guard remain livid.

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