5 Amazon Scams You Need to Know About
October 3, 2023
Fraud & Security
When it comes to convenience, service and sheer scope of products, nothing beats Amazon. The world’s largest and most popular online marketplace is the 21st century shopper’s go-to for virtually any product under the sun. Unfortunately, though, Amazon is also rife with scammers. Here are five Amazon scams and tips from the e-commerce giant for protecting yourself from falling victim to these schemes.
Update your order
In this scam, a shopper places an order on Amazon and waits for it to arrive. Before it shows up at their doorstep, though, they receive a phone call or written notification via email or text message, informing them that there is an issue with their account. It further claims that the customer must update or confirm their information before they can receive their purchase. The contact may ask the target to re-share their payment information or other personally identifiable information (PII). Often, the target believes the request is legit and willingly shares this information.
Don’t get scammed: If you’re asked to update your payment information and/or something seems off, go directly into your Amazon account and check the “Your Orders” section. If you aren’t prompted to update your payment method on that screen, the message you received is from a scammer. Amazon will never ask for payment over the phone, by text or via email.
You’re owed a refund
In this scam, a target receives a text or email stating they’ve been overcharged for a recent Amazon purchase and are owed a refund. The target is directed to call the provided phone number. When they call, an alleged Amazon rep will ask to be granted access to the target’s computer so they can issue the refund. Unfortunately, doing that will give a scammer direct access to the victim’s computer and financial accounts.
Don’t get scammed: Any notification from Amazon will be available on the company’s website. If you are owed a refund, you’ll find all the information you need to know within your secure account.
In this scam, a target finds a product they’d like to purchase on Amazon. However, when they try to complete the transaction, the seller asks them to follow a link for an off-platform payment, usually via a P2P payment platform like Zelle or Venmo. While these platforms may be secure, completing the purchase off Amazon’s site or app means losing all purchase protection that Amazon provides. The customer will also likely end up with a faulty product, or no product at all.
Don’t get scammed: Authentic Amazon sellers will never ask for payment outside the actual Amazon site.
Amazon Prime Video scams
In this scam, consumers looking to set up Amazon Prime Video on their SmartTV are lured into bogus sites by clicking on pop-up ads including keywords like “Set up Prime on TV”. The fake sites look identical to Amazon’s SmartTV setup page, so the victim believes they’ve landed on the correct page. The target will be asked to enter Amazon’s six-digit code on their TV and then call the phone number the site provides. Once on the phone with a victim, the scammers will direct them into sharing the two-factor authentication code that was sent to their device via Amazon. Unfortunately, if the target complies, they’ll be giving a scammer access to their Amazon account.
Don’t get scammed: Never share your passwords, authorization codes and/or login credentials over the phone. If you need to set up Amazon Prime Video on your SmartTIV, visit Amazon’s website directly and follow the instructions here. It’s also good to know that all legitimate Amazon websites have a dot before “amazon.com,” such as “pay.amazon.com”. Any link to a website that contains the words “amazon” but does not follow this rule is a scammy site.
Mystery boxes, prizes and crazy-low deals
Here, a scammer tries to snag a victim by offering something that sounds too good to miss. Of course, it’s also too good to be true. The scam may take the form of a “mystery box” sold on Amazon, prizes the target has randomly “won” or deals that practically give the item away. In each of these cases, the victim receives a message allegedly from Amazon, claiming they’ve won a prize. It may also promote a mystery box sale or a once-in-a-lifetime deal. The victim will be directed to click a link or call a number to receive the prize or item. Of course, doing so will lead them right into the hands of the scammer, who will ask for their PII, or download malware onto their computer.
Don’t get scammed: Never follow a seller’s directions away from the actual Amazon site. Also, if something seems too good to be true, it likely is.
Stay alert and follow the tips mentioned here to enjoy shopping on the world’s largest marketplace without compromising on your safety.