Amazon has recently sent us an email, parts of which we believe are worth repeating here. What they sent us is common-sense advice on how to stay safe this holiday season and not fall for various Amazon-branded scams. Mind you, this advice also applies throughout the year, but these days – scammers are known to be more active than ever.
Most common scam types
Amazon specifically wanted to inform us about two scam types:
Order Confirmation Scams
These are unexpected calls, texts or emails that refer to an unauthorized purchase and ask you to act urgently to confirm or cancel the purchase. Scammers use these to convince you to provide payment or bank account information, install software on your device, or purchase gift cards. Remember, if you received correspondence regarding an order you weren’t expecting, you could verify orders by logging into your Amazon account. Only legitimate purchases will appear in your order history.
Tech Support Scams
Scammers create fake websites claiming to provide tech support for Amazon services. Customers who land on these pages are lured to contact the scammer and fall prey to their schemes. Instead of visiting these websites, you should go directly to Amazon’s help section. Also, make sure that the URL contains “amazon.com” or “amazon.SOMETHING” where that “SOMETHING” is a national domain.
Tips for identifying scams and keeping your account safe
Amazon also had a few tips to share on how to help users protect their account and their information. Here’s what they got:
- Trust Amazon-owned channels only. Always go through the Amazon mobile app or website when seeking customer service, support, or when looking to make changes to your account.
- Be wary of false urgency. Scammers tend to create a sense of urgency to persuade you to act immediately. Be wary whenever someone tries to convince you that you must be quick.
- Never pay over the phone. Amazon will never ask you to provide payment information, including gift cards (or “verification cards”, as some scammers call them) for products or services over the phone.
- If you receive correspondence you think may not be from Amazon, please report it to Amazon.
Needless to say, all these steps also apply to other major, legit retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and many other well-known names. You’ll want to go through their official channels rather than trying to “solve things” via email or phone.
It can be a scary world out there, so you better know what you’re doing. And, of course, we’d like to think we can help by suggesting you always use a VPN, among other tools.