Sections on this page
- How the Amazon Prime Renewal Scam Works
- How to Beat and Avoid the Amazon Prime Renewal Scam
- Examples of the Amazon Prime Renewal Scam
- Have You Fallen for the Amazon Prime Renewal Scam?
- Frequently Asked Questions
If you receive a phone call from "Amazon" about your Prime subscription, it's a scam and you should hang up immediately. If there are any issues with your subscription or payment method you'll be able to check this by logging into your Amazon account or by checking your email.
How the Amazon Prime Renewal Scam Works
This scam starts with a recorded call or a voicemail which implies that you have an 'Amazon Prime' account and that are you about to be debited for the annual fee renewal of $79.99. This scam is designed to get your immediate attention and for you to accidentally engage with impostors who are pretending to be Amazon customer support representatives. Here's how the Amazon Prime renewal scam works.
You Receive a Call or Message About an Amazon Prime Renewal
This scam call is a recorded message. It seems like a courtesy message about an upcoming fee to be charged to your credit card. To build trust, the message asks if you are happy with the Amazon Prime service and asks you to continue to enjoy your service if the fee is correct (it's not). This is meant to put you at ease.
Scam Call Contents
Hi this is a call from Amazon to inform you that you that your Amazon Prime account will be auto renewed for $79.99 from your bank account. So enjoy using Amazon Prime services or if you wish to discontinue or unsubscribe services then speak to our Amazon service manager by pressing one.
You're Connected to an ‘Amazon Service Manager’
As this 'courtesy call' appears to be from Amazon, you simply think Amazon has made a mistake and has renewed your annual Prime membership charge too early. Naturally, you want to correct this. However, pressing one will connect you to a scammer and not an Amazon representative.
Your Information is Stolen
Unfortunately, if you choose to speak to a customer service manager and press one, you are not speaking with Amazon and you are actually speaking to the scammers.
From there they will impersonate Amazon and may:
- Attempt to steal your credit card information
- Send you malicious links to correct the 'error' which instead installs spyware on your computer
How to Beat and Avoid the Amazon Prime Renewal Scam
If you have received this scam phone call and haven't yet spoken to the impostors, you've already beaten this scam—delete the voicemail message.
Follow these easy steps to beat this scam:
- Don't press 1 to speak with the 'customer service team.' Hang up immediately. Remember, you will not be speaking with Amazon; you will speak with an impostor who pretends to work for Amazon.
- Don't call back using the numbers suggested in the voicemail to find out more—it's the number for the scammer! If you have any uncertainty about your Amazon Prime account, don't follow the instructions from the scammer or scam message. If you do not have an Amazon account, they try to make you think you will be billed for something you don't have as they want you to talk to them.
- Check your own Amazon Prime account status at Amazon.com or via the app: If you are worried about your Amazon Prime billing status, check your account and your billing status there. Never trust instructions from unsolicited calls or links from emails.
- Delete the voicemail: If you have received this scam voicemail, you can simply delete the voicemail message.
The act of receiving the call or listening to voicemail is harmless as long as you don't talk with the scammers.
Examples of the Amazon Prime Renewal Scam
Listen to the 'Amazon Prime' scam call from the impostors below:
In this scam, the scammers are using these very common tactics:
- Impersonation: The scammer impersonates Amazon with information about 'your account.'
- Alarm: The scam call baits you with an impending charge on your account, which is alarming.
- Offering a solution: The scammer tries to put you at ease with a message to rectify the 'fake' charge by providing an easy solution to connect to 'Amazon' customer service.
The scam call also attempts to build trust by letting you know that if the charge was not expected, there's an easy way to fix it (i.e., unknowingly talking to the scammers who are impersonating Amazon).
This scam is designed to bait you into a big mistake.
Why This Scam is Dangerous
For those who fall for the trap and connect with the scammers, the potential issues range from the ability of the scammers to watch everything you do on your computer (spyware) to stealing everything in your bank account.
Malicious Spyware Installation
As part of the scam, the scammers will likely say that the charge has already been processed, but they can send you an online refund form if you are near your computer. This link to the 'refund form' will contain malicious spyware software, allowing scammers to access your computer and digital bank accounts remotely.
Alternatively, they might offer to send an email with an online cancellation form to complete later. However, while this might sound harmless and helpful to you, the link to the form will contain spyware that installs software when you download the form.
The scammers might simply ask you to confirm your identity so that they can check the charge on your account. They may also ask for your Amazon user ID and then verify your password, which can result in:
- Identity theft
- Unwanted Amazon purchases on your account
- Being locked out of your Amazon account
The scammer might suggest that the refund can be sent to your credit card, asking for your credit card or banking information to process the refund. At this point, they will have control of your bank account or credit card to steal from you.
If you have spoken with the scammers, delete whatever you have been sent.
Have You Fallen for the Amazon Prime Renewal Scam?
If you have fallen for this scam, it is essential to work through what types of access you may have given away to the scammers.
Make a list of things to check through, for example:
- Links: Did you click on a link or form or anything that the scammer sent you? This link might have installed unwanted spyware on your computer, and you need to run a virus check on your computer.
- Screen sharing: Did the scammer ask you to install or use screen sharing software so they can help you fix the problem? If so, they may still have access to your machine via remote access.
- Passwords, codes, credit card details: Did you give the scammer a password user ID, credit card details, or bank account information during the call?
To keep your money safe, use a credit card that offers decent fraud protection and $0 liability on unauthorized purchases. This way, if the scammers charge your credit card, you can get a refund.
If you have connected with the scammers and given them your account details, follow these steps:
- Check your bank accounts and call the bank immediately: If you were just scammed, contact your bank immediately. They may be able to reverse any transaction initiated by the scammers within 24 hours.
- Freeze your account: Your bank should be able to put an instant freeze on your account - if your details have fallen into the wrong hands, your bank should be able to freeze the account.
- Virus scan and malware removal: If you have been sent the fake refund form, been asked to install any screen sharing software, or clicked on any link sent during the call, you must complete a virus scan of your computer. Also, remove any software like ‘PcHelp’ or any software that the scammers have newly installed.
- Change passwords: Immediately change passwords to the accounts used in the call, including your Amazon and bank/credit card passwords.
- Initiate two-factor authentication (2FA): Ensure that your accounts, like your bank account, are set up with 2FA to give an extra layer of security.
- Continue to review: Keep an eye on your accounts that may have been compromised for any fraudulent activity.
- Complete a police report: Report the scam to the authorities.