Ah, Amazon. The go-to marketplace for anything from gadgets to groceries. You love the convenience, the variety, and, let’s be honest, the near-immediate shipping. It’s all fantastic, right?

But lurking behind those unbeatable deals and endless aisles of products are crafty scammers who want nothing more than to hijack your comfort zone for their gain. Imagine waking up one day to find your bank account emptied, your Amazon Prime account hijacked, or even worse, your identity stolen.

If you’re wondering how to protect yourself while enjoying everything Amazon has to offer, you’ve landed on the right page. Today, we’re peeling back the curtain on the most cunning Amazon scams out there, and more importantly, giving you the tips you need to help avoid falling into their traps.

What are Amazon Scams?

Amazon scams refer to fraudulent activities designed to deceive users and exploit their trust in the Amazon platform for personal gain. These scams can occur through various channels, including phishing emails, phone calls, fake websites, and social media.

Basically, these scams are well-crafted traps that make use of the Amazon brand name to trick you into lowering your guard. Some people file complaints through the Better Business Bureau against Amazon after being scammed, not realizing that they never even communicated with Amazon in the first place.

Types of Amazon Scams

Amazon Prime Membership Scams

You receive a call or a text message claiming to be from Amazon Prime tech support, telling you there’s been an unusual charge for your membership. Sometimes, you might even get phishing emails claiming that the membership fee has hiked to an alarming amount and urging you to cancel or confirm the charge.

Of course, they conveniently include a link for you to do just that.

These scammers are smooth talkers. They’ll try to convince you to provide payment or bank account information in order to “fix” a supposed issue with your membership. “Don’t worry,” they’ll say, “we just need to verify a few details.” Beware! Amazon will never ask for sensitive information like your bank or credit card details over a phone call or text message.

If you encounter this, it’s a scam attempting to steal your financial details. And we’re not just talking about losing your Amazon Prime perks; we’re talking about serious threats to your bank account. The moment you feel uneasy about any such communication, contact Amazon Customer Service through the legitimate Amazon website or the app to confirm whether the message is real or not.

Account Suspension/Deletion Scams

Imagine getting a text message or email that sends shivers down your spine: “Your Amazon account will be suspended within 24 hours due to suspicious activity. Click here to verify your account.” This is one classic tactic, claiming to create a sense of urgency that makes you panic and act without thinking. It’s a phishing attempt, plain and simple, and it’s aiming to get you to share your login credentials or other personal information.

Once you click that fraudulent link, you’ll be directed to an imposter website that mimics Amazon’s login page. Here’s where many Amazon customers get tripped up. They log into their Amazon account on this fake site, essentially handing over their usernames and passwords to the scammer on a silver platter.

These phishing scams don’t stop at just emails and text messages. Sometimes you may even receive a phone call with a person on the other end sounding very professional and convincing. The call might come from a phone number that looks legit, making it all the more believable.

Always remember – the real Amazon will never call you to verify your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card information. If you ever receive messages like these, don’t click on anything and don’t share any information.

Amazon Refund Scams

You’ve just settled in for the evening and your phone buzzes. It’s an email from what looks like Amazon Customer Service, complete with an official-looking logo and all. The subject line reads something like, “Urgent: Action Required for Your Recent Purchase.” They’re telling you that a product you recently purchased is faulty and you’re eligible for a refund. Score, right? Hold on just a second.

These fraudsters impersonate Amazon Customer Service so convincingly that you’d think you’re dealing with the real deal. They may even reference actual purchases you’ve made to seem more legitimate. Their endgame? To collect your bank account or credit card information under the guise of processing your refund. Don’t fall for it.

These phishing scams are tailored to make you feel like you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you ever get an email like this, your first step should be to log into your Amazon account directly from a trusted browser – not by clicking any links in the email.

Check if there are any notifications or actions needed on your actual account. If everything looks good, you should report the phishing email to Amazon and to the Federal Trade Commission. You should also let your local law enforcement know about these phishing attempts to scam unsuspecting Amazon customers.

Amazon Prime Video Scams

We all love a good binge-watching session, right? Amazon Prime Video has become a treasure trove of movies, TV shows, and original content. But beware – scammers are well aware of this and are more than ready to exploit your love for streaming.

These tricksters create fake websites or apps that look strikingly similar to Amazon Prime Video’s interface. They lure you in with offers of free access to exclusive content, but the moment you enter your login credentials, they’ve got you. They either steal your login info or worse, the fake site or app installs malware onto your device. Always make sure you’re accessing Amazon Prime Video from trusted sources.

If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And before you download any app, read reviews and check ratings on the official app stores. If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to this type of scam, immediately change your Amazon password and run a security scan on your device to check for malware.

Amazon Technical Support Scams

This one hits close to home for anyone who’s ever needed tech support for an electronic device or online service. Picture this: You receive an unsolicited call or message from someone claiming to be Amazon tech support. They sound incredibly professional, and the phone number seems legit.

They claim there’s an issue with your account or a device you recently purchased. Red flags should go up if they use phrases claiming to create a sense of urgency like, “immediate action required,” or “your account will be locked.”

Their goal is to convince you to grant them remote access to your computer to “fix” the issue. Once they’re in, they can steal all kinds of sensitive information, from your Social Security number to your bank account details.

No matter how convincing these fake tech support agents sound, Amazon will never contact you in this manner asking for remote access to your computer or device. If you do receive such a phone call, just hang up immediately.

Tips to Help Avoid Amazon Scams

Alright, you’re now armed with knowledge about the types of scams that have been fooling Amazon customers. But what next? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with four actionable tips:

Trust Amazon-Owned Channels

First things first, make sure you’re only dealing with the real Amazon. That means sticking to the official Amazon website, mobile app, or their customer service helpline for any account-related inquiries or purchases. The good news is that legitimate Amazon websites and channels are secure and well-maintained, making it easier for you to spot an imposter.

If you’re contacted by email, text message, or a phone call from someone claiming to be from Amazon but something feels off, always double-check by logging into your Amazon account directly from a trusted browser or contacting Amazon Customer Service through verified means.

Be Wary of False Urgency

Scammers have a knack for creating a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly without thinking. Phrases like “immediate action required” or “your account will be locked” are their bread and butter when it comes to creating a sense of urgency.

If you ever receive a message that’s rushing you, take a deep breath and think it through. Verify the issue by going to the legitimate Amazon website or contacting their actual customer service. Remember, true emergencies related to your Amazon account are rare.

Never Pay Over the Phone

Here’s a golden rule – Amazon will never, and we mean never, ask you to make a payment over the phone. So, if you ever get a phone call from someone claiming to be from Amazon and they ask for your bank or credit card details, hang up.

Verify Links First

Before clicking on any links in emails, text messages, or social media claiming to be from Amazon, hover your mouse over them. The destination URL will appear at the bottom of your browser. Make sure it’s a legitimate Amazon web page before proceeding. You can also right-click on the link to copy it and manually paste it into your browser’s address bar to check its authenticity.

Bottom Line

Amazon scams are evolving, targeting innocent Amazon customers like you, seeking to compromise everything from your Amazon Prime memberships to your Social Security number. But by being vigilant and following these tips, you’re much less likely to be their next victim.

If you’re looking for that extra layer of security, IdentityIQ identity theft protection services provides industry-leading financial and identity protection in this digital age. You can never be too careful. Learn more about how IdentityIQ helps protect you.