Amazon Warns Prime Members Not To Be Duped By These Recent Scam Tactics
I woke up to a rather interesting email from Amazon this morning. Usually when there's an Amazon email in my inbox, it's pitching items I recently viewed or similar items in hopes I'll make a purchase. But not this one. Instead of trying to entice me based on my virtual window-shopping habits, this email instructed me to be on the lookout for "recent scam tactics" targeting Prime members.
Whether or not there's been an uptick is Prime-related scams, the email doesn't specify. The timing is notable, though, as it comes less than two weeks after the conclusion of Amazon's Prime Day sales event, a two-day affair with discounts exclusive to Prime members.
Separately, Amazon recently announced that "the first day of Prime Day was the largest sales day in Amazon's history." It also ranked as Amazon's largest Prime Day event ever with members collectively purchasing more than 375 million items.
Amazon didn't reveal how many people signed up for Prime leading up to the event, but given the assumed influx of new Prime members, it makes sense that scammers would be salivating at the prospect of fresh meat. Hence that's probably the reason for this morning's email. It also comes on the heels of the FBI warning of a disturbing rise in tech support scams.
In the email, Amazon advises Prime members to watch out for "unexpected calls/texts/emails that refer to a costly membership fee or an issue with your membership and ask you to confirm or cancel the charge. These scammers try to convince you to provide payment or bank account information in order to reinstate a membership."
Amazon also warns that scammers are trying to dupe Prime members via text, email, and phone calls stating that their accounts are about to be deleted or suspended unless they click on a fraudulent link or verbally verify personal details. It basically amounts to a phishing scam, in which the culprits try to pry payment information and/or login details from their victims.
The email notes that Amazon will never ask Prime members to disclose their password or verify sensitive information over the phone or any website outside of Amazon.com. Likewise, Amazon "will never ask you to provide payment information for products or services over the phone."
Amazon offers up some tips to avoid falling prey to these ruses. They include...
- Trust Amazon-owned channels: Always go through the Amazon mobile app or website when seeking customer service, tech support, or when looking to make changes to your account.
- Be wary of false urgency: Scammers may try to create a sense of urgency to persuade you to do what they're asking. Be wary any time someone tries to convince you that you must act now.
- 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.
- Verify links first: Legitimate Amazon websites contain "amazon.com" or "amazon.com/support." Go directly to our website when seeking help with Amazon devices/services, orders or to make changes to your account.
Tip number four is arguably the best bet to avoid falling for a phishing scam. It not only applies to Amazon Prime members, but to anyone who shops online—it's just good practice to never click on links in emails and instead type the URL directly into your browser.