Don't Be a Prime Target for Amazon Scams
From alerts about a lost package to promises of having won a prize, there are myriad ways scammers use Amazon to try to pry away your money.
Given so many of us use Amazon to shop, it is hardly surprising that fraudsters are using it to scam us. There are numerous Amazon scams out there; we've rounded up the most common ones and have tips on how to avoid them.
The most common Amazon scams
- Amazon Prime call: You receive an automated call telling you a criminal has used your personal details to sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription. The caller then tells you to press 1 to cancel the transaction. This connects you to someone pretending to be from Amazon customer services who says they need remote access to your computer to fix a security flaw. They then talk you through downloading software that allows them to view both your personal and financial details. According to Action Fraud this scam saw total losses of over £400,000 in just two months. (Learn more about phone scams.)
- Discount vouchers: You get a phishing email pretending to be from Amazon offering you a discount voucher. You just have to click on the link for the freebie or click another link to be removed from the mailing list. Either link takes you to a site that captures any details that you enter.
- Random winner: An email with a subject line saying your Amazon delivery is scheduled for tomorrow and then goes on to tell you that you’ve been randomly selected to receive a prize. If you click on the link to discover your prize, it takes you to a fake site that steals your details.
- Fake order confirmation: This is a fairly successful spoofed email scam that looks like a genuine Amazon order confirmation but for something you haven’t bought. Victims click on the link to see if there has been a mistake on their account, but the link goes to a fake site that then asks for your log-in details. Action Fraud reports one victim lost £750 with this scam.
- Gift card scams: The scammer offers to sell you Amazon gift cards at a big discount. You part with cash or card details but never receive any cards.
How to spot Amazon scams
There are several telltale signs of an Amazon scam. You can protect yourself if you know what to look for.
- The email sender address. Is it a genuine Amazon email address? The fake order scam often comes from [email protected], which looks very realistic. If in doubt open a browser window and tap in the Amazon web address before logging into your account to check everything. Don’t click on links in the email.
- Who is the email addressed to? Scammers often give themselves away by using a strange greeting or a generic name rather than the name on your account.
- Bad spelling and grammar. A sure sign of a scam email is if the English is poor and there are spelling or grammar gaffes.
- A sense of urgency. Adding a bit of time pressure is a great way for scammers to push you into making a mistake. If you are concerned about the security of your Amazon account, don’t click on links in the email. Open a new browser window, type in the Amazon web address and log in to your account to check on things.
- Personal details. Amazon will never ask for your password, personal or financial information over email or by telephone.
How to avoid Amazon scams
Follow the tips above to help you spot Amazon scams. Ignore dodgy emails and hang up on cold calls. If you are concerned, log in to your Amazon account by opening a new browser window and typing in the Amazon address.
Should a scammer access your Amazon account, limit your potential losses by not storing any payment methods on your account. That way criminals can’t go on a shopping frenzy with your money.
What to do if you’ve been scammed
As soon as you realise there is a problem, log in to your Amazon account and change your password and security questions.
Forward any scam emails you receive to Amazon at [email protected].
Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website.
Source: Getty Images
Ruth is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for national newspapers, magazines and websites. Specialising in savings, investments, pensions and property. Read more