The holiday season is in full swing, and while shoppers are eager to snag the best deals, scammers are equally enthusiastic about exploiting the festive shopping spirit. Amazon.com has issued a warning about a surge in criminal activity targeting customers’ Prime accounts through deceptive emails, calls, and texts. Two types of scams are on the rise:
Email Attachment Scams
According to Amazon, reports of email attachment schemes have doubled in the second half of 2023. In these scams, criminals pose as Amazon customer service representatives, sending emails with attachments that suggest imminent account suspension. The email contains a link, leading unsuspecting users to a fraudulent website where scammers harvest login credentials and payment information.
Scott Knapp, Amazon’s Director of Worldwide Buyer Risk Prevention, cautions, “The bad thing isn’t opening the attachment; it’s clicking on the link in the attachment, which goes straight to their website, where they start collecting all kinds of information.”
Prime Membership Scams
Scams targeting Amazon Prime members have quadrupled over the same period. Scammers employ calls, texts, and emails to inform Prime members of a fake membership fee or account issue, urging them to confirm or cancel the charge by providing payment details. This tactic allows criminals to steal sensitive information.
What Amazon Will Never Ask For
Amazon reassures customers that it will never ask for certain financial information. In 2023 alone, the company has shut down over 45,000 phishing websites and more than 15,000 phone numbers belonging to scammers.
How to Spot a Scam
- Asking for Money: Scammers may insist on payment to resolve a customer account issue, a tactic Amazon explicitly avoids.
- Gift Cards: Be cautious if someone demands payment exclusively with gift cards. Legitimate transactions will not require this method.
- Wait to Respond: Take a moment before responding to unexpected communications. Verify details by checking Amazon’s official website or app.
- Report Fraud: Reporting fraud allows Amazon to investigate incidents and hold scammers accountable. Customers can also contact their bank or credit card issuer for possible reimbursement during the investigation.
Scott Knapp emphasizes that fraud is an “equal opportunity industry,” and individuals should not feel ashamed if they fall victim to scams. Vigilance and timely reporting play crucial roles in combating these fraudulent activities. Remember, even the smartest individuals can be targeted, as fraud knows no age or demographic boundaries. Stay alert and safeguard your holiday shopping experience.
If you receive a suspicious email in your Chapman account, do not click on any link or reply to the sender. Instead, please continue to report any malicious message by forwarding it as an attachment to email@example.com. To see the latest trending scams, please visit www.chapman.edu/scams.
Chapman University Information Systems and Technology (IS&T)