Amazon has grown to be one of the world’s largest retailers and most recognized brand logos, which is reason enough for scammers to attempt to use the company for phishing emails. Joining the ranks of long-time co-victim sites like PayPal and Visa, Amazon has recently been the reported association scammers are using to dupe victims out of their financial information.
In this email scam, the perpetrators don’t even have to have any hacking know-how to pull it off. They simply vomit out hundreds of thousands of emails at a time to randomly targeted addresses, knowing that statistically someone in the bunch has placed an order with Amazon. The upcoming holiday gift giving deadline helps further the legitimacy of the message; when you’re told there’s a problem with your order and your mother-in-law’s gift won’t be arriving on time, even the most savvy consumer might fall for it.
The subject line is the worst: “Your Amazon order cannot be shipped.” In other words, all your bitter mother-in-law is getting this year is your halfhearted attempts at explaining how you bought her present on the internet instead of in a “real” store. If that doesn’t make you open the email, nothing will.
The scammers go on to inform you that your account isn’t up-to-date, your payment method isn’t accurate, your shipping address must be confirmed, or any number of other excuses for getting you to click the link. Once you do, one of two possibilities happens, if not both. You either install a virus on your computer – if the scammers are actually a little bit tech-capable – or you’re redirected to a form to update all of your personal information, including your credit card. Here’s the real kicker… just to make you think this is genuine, after you submit your identifying information, the form redirects you back to Amazon.com.
The only way to avoid this scam is to remember the hard-and-fast rule of internet accounts. If you’re ever informed via email, SMS, phone call, or social media message that there’s a problem with your account, ignore it and reroute yourself to that website on your own in order to check it out. Do not click the enclosed link or open any attachments, but confirm your account or order status for yourself by opening the site in a new tab.
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