NEW YORK — A UK banking watchdog has fined a US online retail giant for allegedly stealing credit card information from customers, the latest case of a multinational company targeting customers with cybercrime.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has said Amazon.com Inc. violated the Digital Economy Act, the same act that allowed online retailers to bypass security controls to collect customers’ data, such as their credit card numbers, without a warrant.
Amazon.com had argued the law allows for privacy protections to be taken into account when customers are contacted by retailers, but the OFT said the retailer’s practices “violated privacy and security requirements.”
The OFT, which regulates British banking, said the firm was “likely to have violated the law in the course of conducting a sale” of credit card data.
It said it was investigating whether Amazon..com’s practices had affected customer privacy or security.
Amazon said the OFC is investigating the complaint.
Amazon has faced criticism for its handling of credit-card data, including the sale of personal information to retailers and how it collects the data.
In July, Amazon agreed to pay $970 million in fines for failing to report a breach of customer privacy and data protection laws, and for allegedly deceiving customers about how it gathers data on their transactions.
In a statement, Amazon said the investigation is being led by the OFTC and that it “does not and will not tolerate illegal behavior by any of its suppliers.”
In August, the company agreed to a settlement with the Financial Conduct Authority that it would stop selling personal information, including credit card number, and would provide more details about how the information was collected.
In November, the FTC also announced it was launching an investigation into whether Amazon violated its privacy and breach of trust laws in connection with its sale of customers’ personal information.
Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, which he founded in 2004.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up a new Amazon Echo, a device that plays Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer with a $16.5 trillion market value.
The retailer said on Monday that it will cease sales of its products to countries where it is not allowed to sell.
The company will also stop selling the devices it makes and sells to its employees, it said.
Amazon declined to provide any specific figures about the number of customers it had been affected by the breach.
Amazon also declined to comment on how many customers had been impacted by the theft.
The OFC said that while it found evidence that Amazon had violated the consumer protection act, it concluded that there was no evidence of intentional or willful wrongdoing by Amazon or any of Amazon’s suppliers.
It also said it could not determine whether the breach had harmed the company’s reputation.
Amazon and its competitors have made significant strides in the past year in their efforts to make it easier for online retailers and consumers to buy products from each other and avoid online retailers’ digital storefronts.