The worst Amazon scams and how to avoid them

The worst Amazon scams and how to avoid them

December 28, 2023 privacy 0
Amazon scams are on the rise. The site has hundreds of millions of daily users, making it a great target for fraudsters. In this article, we explain how to avoid the worst Amazon scams.

Contents How do Amazon scams work? The most frequent Amazon scams How to identify an Amazon scam What to do if you got scammed on Amazon How to prevent Amazon scams
How do Amazon scams work?

Amazon scams usually work in one of two ways: Scammers pretend to be Amazon representatives contacting you about a problem with your account or order. Their goal is to get you to transfer them money or to trick you into giving away your account logins. Scammers try to lure you with fake offers so good that you can’t resist. Once you make the purchase, they steal your credit card information. Amazon threats are always evolving with new scams being discovered on a regular basis. Amazon scammers usually employ social engineering techniques to trick users into falling for their schemes.

The most frequent Amazon scams

The majority of Amazon scams are impersonation scams. These are when someone pretends to be an official representative of a company or a government agency or a trusted individual like a friend or a family member. Scammers hope that your inherent trust in these people will make you more willing to follow their requests and give away your personal information, money, or access to sensitive data. Here are some of the most frequent Amazon scams: Unauthorized purchase scam In this case, a user will receive a phishing email or a phone call about an expensive purchase made from their account without their knowledge. Scammers usually use URL phishing techniques to make you think the situation is real. Their email contains a fake link to Amazon’s website or a phone number to call regarding the purchase. When users click on a link or call a number, cybercriminals disguised as Amazon representatives will claim that they need their credit card details to stop the transaction and cancel the purchase. If you give up your information, of course, they will then immediately drain your bank account. Fake tech-support Tech-support impostors can call users themselves or ask customers to contact them via a fraudulent email stating that there is a problem with their account. Then they can convince users to install malicious apps or software to fix the issue. Amazon Prime scam Scammers pretend to be Amazon representatives and start calling, texting, and emailing Amazon Prime members, warning them about problems with their accounts. The customers are asked to pay a fake membership fee or warned that their account was accidentally charged. Either way, the scammers try to get you to provide your payment details, more account information, and other sensitive data. Amazon Prime Video scam Scammers have created fake copies of Amazon’s Prime Video platform, making it rank high on Google through targeting keywords for various tech-related issues users might have (like “how to set up Prime Video on Apple TV”) and tricking people into giving away their login credentials. Malicious links Malicious links also often come in the form of an email or an SMS message. It can look like a completely genuine message from Amazon, and will prompt you to click on a link and log in to your account to solve an issue. However, the website you’re logging in to is operated by hackers — you’ve just exposed your Amazon credentials. Gift card scam A gift card scam occurs when scammers trick users into buying Amazon gift cards and exposing their card numbers. Fraudsters can then instantly redeem the gift coupons. The numbers are unique, so the buyer can no longer use them. Scammers think of various scenarios to convince you to buy the cards. They can impersonate a colleague or family member and state that they forgot their wallet and need to make an immediate Amazon purchase. They could also state that you or someone in your family is in trouble and needs financial help in the form of gift cards. In other cases, cybercriminals can come up with fake charity campaigns in which gift cards serve as donations. These are just a few possible scenarios. In these cases, scammers usually press users to react quickly to create a sense of urgency. But always remember one thing — Amazon gift cards don’t function as currency, and legitimate sellers almost never use them as a form of payment. Amazon mystery box scam Scammers run ads on social media promoting Amazon boxes with mystery goodies at incredible prices. They are supposed to contain random valuable items from Amazon warehouses, given away dirt-cheap because of a clearance sale or inventory restock. The ads guarantee that these boxes will contain expensive tech, like smartphones, headphones, and watches from big tech companies. However, this is obviously a scam because the ads lead to poorly designed websites with stolen logos, no contact details, and shouty banners. Users who fall for it give away their money, credit card data, and personal information but get nothing in return. Payment scams Payment scams are usually straightforward — scammers try to convince you to pay for your goods outside Amazon’s secure platform. They offer various discounts or extra stuff if you pay them via Western Union, Money Gram, PayPal, or wire transfer. But if you fall for their promises, you will see neither your money nor the products you ordered. Such sellers will most likely erase their accounts soon afterwards. And Amazon also won’t help you much because the payment took place outside of its platform. PayPal scams are still very prevalent, so always be extra cautious when someone asks you to pay through third-party services. Failed delivery scam The failed delivery scam is an old online scam that targets legitimate sellers. It’s pretty simple — a buyer claims that they didn’t receive an order and requires a refund, while in reality, they got it. This issue is easily resolved by using track-and-trace postage. It means that no item can be delivered without the recipient’s signature. Free gift scam The free gift scam comes as a message informing users that they’ve won a prize from Amazon but must click on a malicious link to get it delivered. The link, of course, is operated by criminals and will either inject your device with malware or steal your credentials. Brushing scam Some Amazon sellers desperately want to “brush up” (improve) listings for their products — and having tons of favorable reviews is the best way to do it. However, if the products in question are of dubious quality, these reviews are hard to get. That’s where brushing scams come in — scammy sellers look for people’s personal information, create fake orders in their name, and send their products to them. You might think there’s nothing really bad about it — you get a freebie, and the Amazon seller gets a good review (that they wrote themselves) from you as a user with a confirmed purchase. However, this means the scammers have access to your real name, home address, and in many cases, your Amazon account as well. If our account is found to post fake reviews to boost the sales of a single seller, it may also get suspended. {SHORTCODES.blogRelatedArticles}

How to identify an Amazon scam

Here are a few tips on how to tell if you have encountered an Amazon scam: Carefully check the email. If it involves grammar mistakes, broken language, or signs of machine translation, it’s probably not to be trusted. Evaluate the tone of the message. A sense of urgency or desperation is an obvious sign of a scam. Look out for suspicious links or email addresses imitating real websites and senders (for example, instead of If a seller asks you to make a payment outside of Amazon’s official payment system or to use gift cards instead of money, it’s most likely a scam. The same goes for most cases where things just sound too good to be true. If you’ve received an Amazon voucher worth 1,000 US dollars that requires you to click on a dodgy link to access it, it’s a fraud. Also, keep in mind that Amazon representatives never: Ask people to verify or provide their personal information or credentials. Ask you to make any payments for their services. Prompt you to install third-party software.

What to do if you got scammed on Amazon

If you have realized you have become the victim of an Amazon scam, take immediate steps to protect your data, money, and account. Stop all contact with the scammer. Try to cancel your payment if you made one. Promptly notify Amazon’s customer support about the incident via email or phone call. Consider filing a police report, particularly if the scam happened outside the platform. What to do if you got scammed by an Amazon seller If you think you got scammed by an Amazon seller, first contact them and give them one day to respond and address the issue. If they ignore you or deny your claims, you can file Amazon’s A-to-z Guarantee claim. What to do if your Amazon account was hacked If someone gained access to your account and changed your password, or even if you think they might have your credentials, react quickly: Immediately log in to your Amazon account and change your password. If it’s no longer available, try to remember if any of your other accounts use the same password and change them ASAP. If you were able to log in, check the settings on your profile to see if there were any changes. Pay special attention to your payment settings, linked cards and PayPal account, billing address, shipping address, and phone number. Check your orders to see if the scammers managed to buy something — look in the “Archived Orders” tab as well. Call or start a chat with Amazon and let the company know someone breached your account. Report any orders the scammer made and ask for them to be canceled. Report the fraud to PayPal, your bank, your credit card issuer, or any other payment provider you use with your Amazon account. Check for unfamiliar transactions.

How to prevent Amazon scams

Avoiding Amazon scams is easy if you pay attention and take care of your data: Never make payments outside the Amazon system. Don’t click on suspicious links. If you wish to check something, log in to your Amazon account by visiting the company’s page or via the official app. If the order is not listed there, you didn’t make it. Never provide personal information or credentials to people claiming to be Amazon representatives. Always use track-and-trace postage when selling something. If an email or a message raises doubts, always call Amazon to double-check it with its legitimate representatives. To avoid landing on fake or malicious websites, use NordVPN. Its Threat Protection feature checks a real-time list of websites that are known for hosting malware. If it detects you’re trying to visit a dangerous page, NordVPN will block your access.

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