Be Wary of This Amazon Shopping Scam During the Holiday Season

Be Wary of This Amazon Shopping Scam During the Holiday Season

Marketing Land

Last year, Bloomberg reported that Amazon.com had “tens of millions of people worldwide” sign-up for its Prime service, in which approximately 1 billion items were shipped for free.

Unfortunately, online scammers are privy to this knowledge as well and are seeking to take advantage of the traffic on Amazon’s site during the holidays. The Danville Police Department in the San Francisco Bay Area has recently issued a warning for shoppers to be wary of calls from suspicious Amazon customer service representatives.

How the Amazon Customer Service Scam Works

According to a statement released by the Danville PD, costumers will receive an email or phone call congratulating them on their latest purchase regardless of whether an item was ordered.

“When the victim (customer) calls the included phone number to report the mistake they are asked for personal identification or remote access to their computer so the company can ‘rectify’ the mistake.”

Rather than actually fixing the mistake—which can easily be corrected without remote access—the “scammer gets access to your personal files and information which allows them to make even more mischief.”

Once a scammer has a person’s private information, it’s very difficult to stop them from stealing money or the victim’s identity.

How to Avoid the Amazon Holiday Shopping Scam

Since Amazon is a global online retailer, it’s safe to assume that Californians aren’t the only ones susceptible to scams associated with the site. Luckily, there are a few ways shoppers can avoid being scammed this Christmas.

  • Rather than calling the number listed on an email or given through an automated phone call, log in to your Amazon.com account to double-check your purchase history. If you do see a mistake, call the Amazon customer service department directly to ensure you are speaking with a real representative in order to rectify the issue.
  • Look for typos and grammatical mistakes in the email. If the email is a scam, it may also contain attachments that will try to install malware on your computer. You’ll also want to look closely at the email address and compare it to the real thing to make sure it isn’t a forgery.
  • The Danville Police Department also mentioned that the “important thing to remember when receiving emails or phone calls from companies or agencies is to approach it with a healthy dose of skepticism.”

Every item you order on Amazon.com should be reflected in your purchase history. Even if you share your Amazon Prime account with another family member or friend, all purchases are tracked with the amount and order date.

If you receive a suspicious email or phone call about an item you didn’t order, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center immediately.