Amazon is one of the largest online retailers globally, which unfortunately has led to a plethora of Amazon scams. Started in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, the company has grown from selling only books to selling everything from clothing to home goods, food, and electronics. Amazon now has more than 150 million paying Amazon Prime Members and more than 212 million unique visitors each month.
In addition to being an online retailer, Amazon is also a technology company. In 2002 Amazon launched a cloud-computing service called Amazon Web Services. The company also developed and started selling the Kindle e-reader in 2007 and tablet computer, the Kindle Fire, in 2012. Even with success on the business's technology side, Amazon's main profits come from e-commerce.
Amazon is a large company with millions of customers and sellers, making it a prime target for scams. Some of the most common Amazon scams you should be aware of include:
In this Amazon gift card scam, you're contacted by a scammer by phone, email, or social media. They will claim they work for Amazon and says you owe money on your account. The scammer will request you pay the fee in the form of an Amazon gift card.
Once you buy the gift card, the scammer will ask for the claim code on the back of the card and use the entire balance. At this point, the scam is complete—there was never any amount owing on your Amazon account, and you'll never hear from the scammer again.
Scammers will call and ask if you're interested in a remote position with Amazon. If you're interested, you're directed to a fake Amazon job site to complete an application. These fake applications will ask for personal information, which the scammer can use to steal your identity. These Amazon scams could also come via email that directs you to apply for a fake Amazon job.
Phishing scams are among the most common Amazon scams where scammers attempt to steal your personal information. In this scam, you receive an email or text from a fake Amazon account claiming something is wrong with your account or recent order, and you need to sign in to fix it. There's also a version of this scam where the message says you've won a free gift or reward.
Within the email, you'll get a link to sign in to your account, which will bring you to a fake Amazon page. When you enter your information, your credentials are sent to the scammer. The scammer uses this information to sign in to your account and steal additional details. This scam can also happen over the phone, where the scammer asks you to tell them your login information, and even via a text message that includes a link to a phishing website.
In this Amazon scam, you're sent an email claiming Amazon wants to reward you for being loyal and offers a phony voucher good toward any Amazon purchase. To claim the coupon, you'll need to click on a link that directs you to a page where you'll enter your Amazon login information. Once you enter your data, the Amazon scammers will be able to log into your account.
Sellers can lose their credibility when scammers write fake negative reviews. Once they post the review, the scammers then upvote the review by clicking the "helpful" button. Doing this pushes the review toward the top of the page and deters legitimate buyers from purchasing the product.
These Amazon scams target Amazon sellers who don't use tracking methods on their sales. Scammers buy products then can claim the product never arrived (even though it did), so they get a full refund from the seller as well as a free product.
A brushing scam is when you receive an unsolicited package from an Amazon seller. The goal of this scam is to get fake positive reviews on their products. Scammers use your personal information to buy their products then will leave a verified review on their page.
You can beat most Amazon scams as long as you stay vigilant and aware of the red flags; follow these tips:
If you fall victim to an Amazon scam or receive any communication resembling it, you can report it to [email protected].
If you receive a scam email, Amazon asks that you take a screenshot of the email and send it as an attachment. You can forward the fraud email, but sending it as an attachment makes it easier for Amazon to track. When you email Amazon, you'll receive an automated email letting you know they received your claim, but you likely won't get a personal response since Amazon deals with so many scams.
If you're a victim of a brushing scam, Amazon asks that you send a photo of the shipping label to Customer Service so they can investigate the scammer. You can then dispose of the item. You do not need to return it.
If you were a victim of a phone or email scam and provided a scammer with account information, contact the Customer Protection Review team. They will make sure your Amazon information is secure and may be able to refund you, depending on the situation.
You can fight scammers who order big-ticket items from your Amazon account with a one-time password that stops them from receiving the item.
Don't get too excited if you receive a text message from "Amazon" claiming you've won a prize—scammers are impersonating the brand in this phishing scam.
If anyone asks for payment via Amazon gift cards, it's likely a scam, especially if it's someone claiming to be from a government agency.
Although somewhat harmless, being a target of a brushing scam can mean your information is compromised and could lead to more harmful scams.
If you receive a call from Amazon about suspicious activity on your account, it's likely a scam, and you should hang up immediately.
Received an Amazon package that you didn't order? Check your account—scammers could be posting fake reviews on your behalf.
This scam starts with a recorded message about an early (or unwanted) Amazon Prime renewal. To 'cancel' you will unknowingly be transferred to a scammer impersonating 'Amazon.'
Scammers are sending convincing emails, posing as shipping companies and online shopping sites, in order to collect your personal information.
Beating this scam is simple—don't pay for anything using gift cards and don't give anyone you don't know or trust your gift card information.
Scammers impersonate well-known banks, such as Citibank and Chase, to trick you into giving up your sensitive information—learn how to beat these scams.
With Amazon being the largest online retailer worldwide, it's easy to see why scammers target its customers. Educate yourself, so you don't fall victim to an Amazon scam.
Not all Amazon product reviews are legit, with scammers impersonating buyers in order to boost their own products and increase sales.
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