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How to spot and protect against the most common Amazon-related scams

Alina BÎZGĂ

October 20, 2021

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How to spot and protect against the most common Amazon-related scams

Amazon brings in billions of dollars in revenue each year from domestic shoppers, making the retail giant a preferred outlet for scammers and fraudsters to impersonate and defraud users.

There's no doubt about it: the surge in online shopping during the pandemic has increased the number of scams, and fraudsters will go to any length to dupe internet users into giving out their sensitive information.

From fake phone calls and text messages to phishing emails and phony ads, scammers will stop at nothing to steal your data and money.

In this article, we look at the most common Amazon scams and the steps you need to take to keep your information safe.

Your daily dose of spam emails

Amazon is one of the most impersonated brands. Cyber thieves posing as representatives of the retail giant may try to steal your data via a fake email message that ends up in your Inbox.

These phishing emails may look different, and they use various tactics to entice you into accessing a link or downloading a malicious file:

· The fake confirmation email – fraudsters send a bogus email containing details of an order you did not place. They hope you panic and immediately access the embedded link that will take you to a fake Amazon page where you enter your login information.

· The fake discount and prize hoax – you may get an email saying you've won a prize or you're eligible for a significant discount on Amazon. The so-called "prizes" are usually linked to phony surveys and leverage users' excitement on winning one of the latest gadgets.

· Requests to update payment info – this is just another attempt to make you hand over your credit card information. The phishing email may also include details for an order you did not make.

· The $1,000-dollar gift card– pre-holiday season, you may receive an email that says you've randomly received an Amazon gift card voucher prompting you to access a link to redeem it.

Guileful phone calls

Scammers are very resourceful. So, if sending phishing emails won't do the trick, they pose as Amazon employees and call unsuspecting customers to gather sensitive data.

The subject of the calls vary, but scammers always request your information or even ask you to install "software" on your device:

· Pre-recorded messages – you may receive a phone call starting with a pre-recorded message that adds to the call's legitimacy. It may say that there's a security issue on your account or other statements to pique your curiosity. Then, you'll get transferred to a support agent who tries to persuade you to provide sensitive data.

· Calls about your Amazon Prime account – scammers may call you and say that an account was made in your name to ask for personal data or coerce you into installing spyware on your device.

· Lost packages, unauthorized purchases and refunds – this is just another ruse to trick users into handing over personal information to the scammers

Suspicious text messages

Phishing via text messages has also surged during the health crisis. They work similar to phishing emails, urging recipients to click on fake Amazon links set up by scammers. You may be tricked into believing you've won a prize or a voucher, or asked to access a tracking link for an Amazon purchase (you likely did not make).

If you're tired of guessing whether a link received via SMS is fraudulent or not, check out Bitdefender's new Scam Alert feature. Scam Alert keeps you safe from malicious links arriving via text messages and messaging apps on your Android phone. It monitors SMS messages and other notifications for harmful links and alerts you before accessing them and potentially compromising your device or data.

Steps you can take to protect against scam and fraud attempts

To avoid falling for Amazon-related scams, shoppers need to watch out for red flags. Now that you've got an idea of the techniques of scammers and cyberthieves, follow these steps to ensure your credit card details and account information don't end up in the wrong hands:

· Whenever you receive an unsolicited notification email claiming it's from Amazon, don't click on any links in the message. Access your account from your browser and look for any notifications under "Your Orders."

· Check the email header and sender's email address for any inconsistencies.

· Look for spelling and grammatical errors.

· Never provide personal information, login credentials or credit card data via email, phone or text. Amazon states that, while some of its departments will make outbound calls to some customers, they will never ask for sensitive data or give you a refund you did not expect.

· If you haven't purchased anything, it's probably a scam. Again, if you receive unsolicited emails for items you don't recall purchasing, verify the information in your account – remembering not to access the links embedded in the email.

· Cybercriminals leverage public announcements made by tech companies about to launch a new device, so watch out for emails stating you've won the latest iPhone or any other piece of tech.

· If you need to contact Amazon support, always use the contact information found on the official website.

· Change your password regularly and enable two-factor authentication.

· Don't trust everything you see or read. The presence of an Amazon logo does not ensure the legitimacy of correspondence.

· Always trust your instinct and hang up on any phone calls you may receive from so-called Amazon customer representatives who ask for information that should remain private.

· Install a security solution to help secure your device and data from any malicious attachments you access or download on your device.

· Report phishing emails and scam messages to Amazon.

#CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth is still here, so don't forget to check our fun articles on crucial security measures you should be taking online. You can also try the free 90-day Bitdefender Total Security trial to protect your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

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