14 Amazon Scams You Didn’t Know About (Until Now)

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J.R. Tietsort

Chief Information Security Officer at Aura

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    Are You Getting Scammed on Amazon?

    When an elderly man in Ohio received a call from Amazon Security telling him his personal account was in danger, he acted quickly. Following the caller’s instructions, he set up a new Amazon profile attached to his bank account. 

    But the caller wasn’t from Amazon Security — it was a scammer. And within hours of the phone call, the man’s bank account was emptied of more than $124,000 [*].

    According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), reports of Amazon scams increased by 500% between June 2020 and 2021, with victims losing more than $27 million to scammers [*]. 

    As e-commerce and mobile app payments have become part of modern life, the threat of Amazon scams is never far away. So, how can you protect your family and finances from fraudsters? 

    Learn how the most common and recent Amazon scams happen, the red flags to watch out for, and how to secure your Amazon account from scammers. 

    What Are Amazon Scams?

    Amazon scams are a type of impersonation scam in which fraudsters pose as Amazon representatives and trick you into sharing your personal identifiable information (PII) or sending money. 

    These types of scams are on the rise, with Amazon recently becoming the most impersonated brand in the world [*].  

    Amazon and Apple are the most impersonated brands in the world. Source: FTC

    As millions of Amazon customers flock to the company's website and app every day, so do opportunistic thieves. 

    Here are just a few of the many ways that scammers can target you on Amazon:

    • Phishing scams: Amazon scammers send emails, phone calls, texts, and even social media messages claiming to be from the company. But any links you click on, or information you provide, puts you at risk of identity theft
    • Tech support scams: Hackers pose as Amazon support representatives and trick you into giving them remote access to your computer or sending them your account passwords.
    • Fake Amazon websites: Fraudsters create fake websites that look like Amazon listings or Amazon Prime setup pages and trick you into giving them personal information. 
    • Fraudulent sellers: Deceitful sellers list fraudulent or counterfeit products and trick you into buying them.

    Scammers know that you trust Amazon, which makes the company a perfect cover for their schemes. 

    If you want to keep yourself safe, you need to know about trending Amazon scams and how you can spot the warning signs before it’s too late.

    💯 Pro tip: If you gave an Amazon scammer information or money, your identity could be at risk! Try Aura’s #1-rated identity theft protection service free for 14 days →

    The 14 Latest Amazon Scams To Avoid

    1. Amazon sellers asking for payments off-platform
    2. Amazon scam calls requesting personal information 
    3. “Mystery boxes” on Amazon with too-good-to-be-true deals
    4. Scammers claiming you’re owed a refund from Amazon
    5. Text messages claiming to be from Amazon
    6. Amazon Prime Video scam websites
    7. Imposters demanding payment with Amazon gift cards
    8. Fake websites that look like official Amazon pages
    9. Fake invoices for Amazon purchases that you didn’t make
    10. Amazon technical support scams
    11. Phishing emails that claim your Amazon account is frozen
    12. Deliveries of Amazon packages that you didn’t order
    13. Fake Amazon job offer scams
    14. Amazon “write a review” scams

    Here are ways to identify and prevent these 14 common Amazon scams when you’re shopping online:

    1. Amazon sellers asking for payment off-platform

    Many con artists on Amazon trick people into making payments through apps like Zelle and Venmo or via wire transfer services like Western Union. 

    These services don't offer buyer protection, and using them makes you ineligible for Amazon’s A-to-Z guarantee. This means that if you get scammed, you’ll have no way of getting your money back. 

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Scammers create an Amazon listing for what appears to be a genuine product. They may even add fake reviews to draw more attention and build trust. 
    • When you attempt to purchase the product, the scammer contacts you with a link to an off-platform payment option — like Cash App or Western Union.
    • If you follow the link, your payment (and potentially your credit card information) goes straight to the fraudster. 

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    Legitimate Amazon sellers never direct shoppers off the platform for payment. If a seller requests payment via a third-party app — like Zelle, Western Union, PayPal, or MoneyGram — it’s a red flag. Don’t make any payment, and end all communications with the seller.

    💡 Related: 11 Sneaky Venmo Scams Running Rampant Right Now

    2. Amazon scam calls requesting personal information 

    Many scammers call victims pretending to be from Amazon in order to steal personal information.

    Here’s just one example:

    When Cinda Stewart received a call, she was told her Amazon Prime account was compromised, and she would be charged $500 [*]. But when the scammers asked for her Social Security number (SSN), Cinda hung up, making a lucky escape. Unfortunately, not everyone is so fortunate. 

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • You receive an unsolicited phone call from an unknown number. The caller claims to be an Amazon customer support or security representative. 
    • The caller explains that there’s an issue with your account,  recent order, or some type of compromised financial situation.
    • As they urgently encourage you to rectify the problem, the fraudster entices you to share PII in order to access your Amazon account or take hold of financial information, like your credit card details. 

    How to tell if it’s a scam call (and what to do):

    The bottom line is that Amazon will never ask you for personal information via emails, texts, or calls [*]. 

    Even if a caller sounds convincing, you should never share your Amazon account password or two-factor authentication (2FA) codes with someone else. Instead, hang up, and contact Amazon directly.

    💡 Related: The 7 Latest Amazon Scam Calls (and How To Avoid Them)

    3. “Mystery boxes” on Amazon with too-good-to-be-true deals

    Sketchy Amazon sellers sometimes offer “mystery box” listings with too-good-to-be-true deals on expensive items. But in almost all cases, you’ll only end up getting scammed. 

    In one example, YouTuber JayzTwoCents paid $110 for a “mystery box” that potentially contained a computer graphics card worth over $2,500. But what he actually received was a physically damaged and barely functioning second-hand graphics card from 2007 [*].

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Bogus sellers on Amazon list “mystery boxes” purporting to contain items valued much higher than the sale price.
    • There are typically several different pricing tiers, with claims that the more you pay, the “more chances” you have of getting the valuable item. 
    • But in most cases, what really arrives is a cheap, broken, or old item. And because you knowingly paid for the “mystery box,” you have no recourse to get your money back through Amazon.

    How to tell if it’s a scam (and what to do):

    If you see a listing for a “mystery box,” proceed with caution. Even if it looks legitimate, you shouldn’t trust the reviews on Amazon, as many of them could be fake. 

    Always double-check the legitimacy of sellers by researching them on third-party review sites like Trustpilot or Reddit.

    💡 Related: Was Your Amazon Package Stolen? Here’s What To Do

    4. Scammers claiming you’re owed a refund from Amazon

    One of the most common Amazon scams happening today involves scammers posing as Amazon representatives claiming you’re owed a refund for wrongful charges. 

    Example of a fake Amazon refund email
    Scammers send emails claiming you’re owed a refund from Amazon. Source: PTG

    An elderly couple in California thought they were transferring money to the “Amazon Refund Recovery Center," only to lose almost $700,000 [*]. 

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • An unsolicited text message or email urges you to get in touch about unauthorized purchases on your Amazon account or issues with a recent purchase.  
    • When you call the phone number, a phony Amazon representative explains that you are owed a refund due to fraud or an overcharge on a previous purchase. To fix the issue, you need to grant the caller remote access to your computer. 
    • If you comply, scammers can hack your financial accounts or lead you to a bogus website where they coerce you into making transactions. 

    How to tell if it’s a scam (and what to do):

    If someone claiming to be from Amazon contacts you about a refund, don’t click on links or call numbers in the email or message. Instead, visit Amazon’s official website or use the app on your device to log in and check your previous orders.

    💡 Related: Have I Been Hacked? How To Recognize & Recovery From a Hack

    5. Text messages claiming to be from Amazon

    Scammers love to target their victims with smishing — phishing scams sent over text messages. Last year alone, one in three people who reported a text-based impersonation scam said the fraudsters claimed they were from Amazon. [*

    Example of an Amazon scam text message
    Scammers pretend to be from Amazon and offer you free prizes or rewards. Source: The Verge

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • You receive a text message from someone claiming to be an Amazon representative. 
    • The person claims that you’ve won a prize, are qualified for low-interest credit, or need to resolve an issue with your payment information. 
    • If you call the phone number, the scammer will try to elicit your PII, which can be used for financial fraud or identity theft. Alternatively, you could click on links in the text, which initiate a malware download on your device. 

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    The best way to avoid this scam is by not replying to anyone via phone numbers or links provided in the initial text message. Instead, visit your Amazon account, and use the number provided in the ”Help” section to get in touch with a bonafide member of Amazon’s team.

    💡 Related: How To Identify a Fake Text Message Scam

    6. Amazon Prime Video scam websites

    Setting up Amazon Prime Video on your SmartTV isn’t that hard. But if it’s your first time, you could fall victim to an insidious Amazon scam. Tech YouTuber PleasantGreen explained how a gang based in India has been fleecing people with the Prime Video scam. 

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Scammers create fraudulent websites and ads targeting keywords like “set up Prime on TV.” 
    • Unsuspecting visitors click on the ads and land on bogus websites, which look like Amazon’s SmartTV setup page. After you enter the six-digit code on the TV, the website directs you to call a number. 
    • Once fraudsters get you on the phone, they trick you into sharing the two-factor authentication (2FA) code sent to your mobile device — giving them access to your Amazon account.
    • After they gain access, the fraudsters encourage you to upgrade to premium services. They will send a link to a PayPal invoice, from which they can steal your money and credit card details.

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    You should never share 2FA codes, including any one-time passwords (OTPs) from Amazon. The correct way to set up Amazon Prime on your SmartTV is by visiting Amazon's website. Avoid any third-party services or ads that pop up on Google.

    7. Imposters demanding payment with Amazon gift cards

    The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported that gift card payment loss almost tripled between 2017 and 2020 [*]. In many cases, cybercriminals demand Amazon gift cards as part of their scams.

    In one example, Amazon imposters tricked a Californian woman into buying over 30 gift cards, which cost her $16,000.[*]

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Scammers send a phishing email to lure you into a phone call. In the example above, the email included a fake invoice for expensive items.
    • Once you call the number, the scammer claims your Amazon account isn’t safe. You are instructed to make gift card payments, for which (you are told) you will be reimbursed later.
    • As the victim buys gift cards and shares the numbers on the back of each card, the fraudster takes the money — and vanishes without a trace.

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    No legitimate sale or transaction on Amazon requires you to pay specifically with gift cards. If anyone claiming to be from Amazon asks you to purchase gift cards or share gift card numbers, it’s a scam.

    💡 Related: What Are Steam Card Scams? How Can You Avoid Them?

    8. Fake websites that look like official Amazon pages

    If you land on a fake Amazon site — also known as a phishing URL— your personal and financial information could be at risk. These sites use domain names that are similar to “Amazon.com” with the goal of tricking you into giving up sensitive information. 

    Aura fake website warning
    Aura’s phishing protection feature can warn you if you’re entering a fake Amazon website. Learn more about how Aura keeps you safe →

    In the days leading up to Prime Day 2021, over 2,300 new domains were registered with a suspected intention of impersonating Amazon [*]. 

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Scammers set up duplicate websites that look like Amazon but have slight differences in the spelling of the URL address — for example, “Amazon-activity.com” or “Amazon.com.billing-inquiry.com.”
    • Then, they use fake ads and phishing emails to send shoppers to these malicious websites.
    • If you make a purchase or try to log in using your Amazon account information, you’ll give scammers access to your payment or Amazon account information.

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    All legitimate Amazon websites follow the same format: the URL includes a dot before "amazon.com" — for example, the Amazon Pay website URL is https://pay.amazon.com. 

    If you see any website links with a string of numbers or a different format, it's probably a phishing URL designed to scam you.

    Another red flag is that these bogus sites often include cut-price bargains in an attempt to trick visitors into making payments. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    💡 Related: How To Shop Online Safely (Without Getting Scammed)

    9. Fake invoices for Amazon purchases that you didn’t make

    When Brenda Duffy received an Amazon invoice for almost $2,700 worth of technology products, she could have lost a lot of money. Luckily, she spotted the red flags (as she had been targeted with a fake invoice before [*]).

    Fake text message claiming you'll be charged for an iPhone purchase on Amazon
    An example of an Amazon scam text claiming you’ll be charged for an iPhone that you didn’t order. Source: Scammer.info

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Threat actors send fake purchase notifications supposedly from Amazon to make you think you are being billed for expensive items. 
    • The fake invoice will include a phone number. The scammer’s goal is to make you panic and call the number. 
    • When you call, the scammers — playing on your fear — extort your personal details. If you query these requests, they’ll say it’s “for security reasons.”

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    Typos, grammatical errors, odd design, and formatting issues are signs that the notification could be from a fraudster. 

    If you’re in doubt, log in to your Amazon account using the app, and visit the “Orders” section. If you don’t see any order confirmation there, then you’re dealing with a fraudster. 

    💡 Related: Don’t Fall For These 7 Nasty Refund & Recovery Scams

    10. Amazon technical support scams

    In February 2022, a 72-year-old man fell prey to a technical support scam. After granting remote access to his computer, the crook made purchases on the man’s Amazon account, leading to $717 in fraudulent charges. Thankfully, Amazon was able to reimburse the victim [*].

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • You do an online search for tech support. In the example above, the California man needed help with his HP Printer.
    • Fraudulent websites are often advertised near the top of the search results, which can trick unsuspecting victims because the sites look legitimate. 
    • As with other Amazon scams, the site will encourage you to get in touch by calling a phone number. Once you do that, scammers can manipulate you into granting access to your computer, sharing personal information, or making payments to them.

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    One telltale sign of a scam call is if the person tries to pressure you into sharing account information, like your password or 2FA authentication code. You should never share these details with anyone. 

    Terminate the call, and contact Amazon directly by using the number on their official website. You can also use Amazon’s self-reporting tool to notify the company of any suspicious calls or emails.

    Aura leaked password scanner
    Did you accidentally give a scammer your passwords? Check to see if your accounts are at risk using Aura’s free leaked password scanner.

    11. Phishing emails that claim your Amazon account is frozen

    Scammers prey on your fears by sending phishing emails and texts that claim your Amazon account is locked. 

    An example of an Amazon scam text claiming your account will be terminated. Source: Reddit
    An example of an Amazon scam text claiming your account will be terminated. Source: Reddit

    But if you “verify” your account information, it goes straight to scammers. 

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Fraudsters send text messages warning people that their Amazon accounts are suspended or frozen because of suspicious activity. The messages include malicious links or phone numbers.
    • Victims either call the number or click on the link. Either way, they’ll open the door to a scammer. 
    • Clicking on the link may initiate a malware download on your device or direct you to a bogus website on which scammers attempt to steal your Amazon login credentials or banking information.

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    Amazon will never notify you of a locked or suspended account by sending a text message. Ignore any communications like this, and never respond directly or click on any links in the text or email. You can use Amazon's official app or website to safely confirm your account's status.

    💡 Related: How To Spot a Phishing Email (20 Examples)

    12. Deliveries of Amazon packages that you didn’t order

    Have you ever received unexpected packages from Amazon? You could be part of a brushing scam. Since August 2021, Mark Potter of Menlo Park has received over 100 items from Amazon that he never ordered [*].

    While getting free items may seem harmless at first, this scheme could be a sign that your data is at risk. 

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Third-party sellers on Amazon send mystery parcels without a return address to unsuspecting recipients. These boxes usually contain inexpensive items like screen protectors or Bluetooth speakers.
    • The sellers use these fake orders to write fake reviews (under your name) to improve their seller ratings, which helps them attract customers.
    • These unethical e-commerce businesses can then use their falsely propped-up store reputation to exploit other customers. 

    How to tell if it’s an Amazon scam (and what to do):

    If scammers have your address and can write reviews in your name, they could potentially use your personal information for other types of fraud. 

    Contact Amazon to report the incident, cancel any fake accounts in your name, and check if your real account has been compromised. It's also a good idea to change your passwords for Amazon and any other sensitive accounts, like your email and banking.

    💡 Related: Brushing Scam: Is This Free Amazon Package Legit?

    13. Fake Amazon job offer scams

    Scammers have started posing as Amazon recruiters to bait victims who are looking for jobs. In the last few years, the FBI received a 27% increase in reports of employment scams [*].

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Cybercriminals post false employment ads for jobs at Amazon, often offering great benefits like remote work and high pay.
    • After people apply, the scammers call potential applicants to discuss the “job offer.”
    • On the call, the scammers attempt to elicit bank account information or credit card details by telling applicants that they need to pay an upfront processing fee.

    How to tell if it’s a scam call (and what to do):

    If you want to apply to work at Amazon, you can find all job openings at Amazon.com/jobs. 

    Also, there is never any upfront fee to process your application or secure an interview. If anybody asks you to pay a fee during a job application process, it’s a scam. You can report the fraudulent job offer by sending an email to Recruiting-Fraud@amazon.com

    💡 Related: How To Identify Job Scams (Before You Lose Money)

    14. Amazon “write a review” scams

    Scammers target victims after major shopping periods, like Prime Day or Black Friday, with offers to “get paid to write Amazon reviews.” But these offers are just elaborate ways to trick you into visiting fake Amazon websites. 

    How these Amazon scams work:

    • Fraudsters send emails that offer money in return for writing product reviews on Amazon.
    • As with other phishing attempts, the emails include links that aim to lure potential victims to fraudulent websites that look like the real Amazon site.
    • If you fall for the scam, you might enter your username, password, or card payment information on the site — which exposes you to various types of identity theft.

    How to tell if it’s a scam call (and what to do):

    If you receive any monetary offer to write an Amazon review, ignore it, and don’t click on any links in the email. It doesn’t matter if the offer is for $50, $100, or more — it’s fraud. You won’t get the money, and you might get scammed.

    💡 Related: How To Protect Yourself From Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)

    Were You Scammed on Amazon? Here’s What To Do!

    If you think you’ve fallen for an Amazon scam, it’s crucial to take action fast. A quick response could stop you from losing thousands of dollars or having your identity stolen.

    What to do if you got scammed by an Amazon seller

    • End all contact with the suspected fraudsters immediately.
    • Report the incident by following Amazon’s guidance around suspicious activity.
    • File a police report with local law enforcement if the scam happened outside of Amazon’s platform.

    What to do if you gave personal information to an Amazon scammer

    • Visit IdentityTheft.gov to file an identity theft report with the FTC.
    • Change all passwords to your online accounts, especially high-value targets like your email, banking, and IRS tax accounts. 
    • Use Aura’s free Dark Web scanner to check if your private data has been compromised. 

    What to do if you sent money, cryptocurrency, or gift cards to an Amazon scammer

    Follow the FTC advice according to which payment method [*] you used to transfer funds to a scammer:

    • Credit or debit card. Contact the card issuer to tell them about the fraudulent transaction. Ask them to reverse the charges. 
    • Third-party wire transfer. Contact the company (e.g. Western Union, MoneyGram, Wise, etc.) and explain it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask them to reverse the charges. 
    • Gift card. Contact the gift card company to explain the card was used in a scam. Request a refund. Make sure to keep the gift card and receipt until the matter is resolved.
    • Money app. Report the fraudulent transaction to the money app (e.g. Zelle, Venmo, etc.). Ask them to reverse the charges. Also, if the app is linked to a debit card or credit card, notify the bank or credit card company. (For example, here's how to try and get your money back after being scammed on Cash App.)
    • Cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, these types of payments are usually not reversible. You can report the fraud to the company involved in the transfer and request a refund. While it's unlikely that you will get your money back, you can protect others from the same scammer.
    • Cash payments. If you think you sent cash to a scammer by direct mail, call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455. Explain the suspected fraud, and ask the postal service to intercept the package. 

    What to do if a scammer has access to your Amazon account

    • Immediately log in to your Amazon account and change your password.
    • Study your account settings and profile to check for any changes. Pay attention to your payment settings, linked cards, billing address, shipping address, and phone number.
    • Review your Amazon order history to check for any unfamiliar recent purchases. Make a note of anything suspicious. 
    • Click on “Archived Orders” as hackers sometimes try to hide fraudulent orders so that they will remain undetected for longer periods of time.
    • Call Amazon’s security department at (888) 282-2406 to let them know someone breached your account. Report any fraudulent orders, and request cancellations and refunds where applicable.
    • Follow up with your bank, credit card issuer, and other payment companies to report the fraud and check for any unauthorized changes or transactions.

    How to report scams to Amazon

    If you receive suspicious contact from anyone purporting to be from Amazon, report it immediately. The easiest way to report the scam is through Amazon’s website:

    • Log in to your account on Amazon’s mobile app or official website.
    • Visit Amazon’s Customer Service Official Site.
    • Navigate the “Help” page options to select Security and Privacy > Report Something Suspicious.
    • Select from the options, based on how you responded to the suspicious communication.
    • Make your report, providing as much information as possible. For example, if it's a phishing email, include the sender's name, address, and screenshots of the communications. 

    How To Protect Your Money, Accounts, and Identity When Shopping Online

    With so many Amazon scams to watch out for, you must be more careful when shopping online. 

    Here are nine tips to avoid Amazon scams:

    1. Use the official Amazon mobile app whenever possible. 
    2. Bookmark the official Amazon site on desktop computers to reduce the chances of mistyping the URL or clicking on the link to a bogus website.
    3. Insist on safe payment methods, namely credit (not debit) cards or PayPal. These services have safeguards against fraud.
    4. Avoid making payments outside of the Amazon platform. If anyone asks you to do this, end all contact immediately. 
    5. Always check shipping costs, fees, and terms before completing payments.
    6. Never click on links or call numbers in unsolicited emails or text messages. Instead, visit the Amazon website to get the correct contact information for customer support.
    7. Don’t immediately believe any claim someone makes about your Amazon account. For example, if someone tells you the account is frozen or sends you an unfamiliar invoice, don’t panic. Instead, log in to your account with the Amazon app and check your order history and notifications. 
    8. Never share any personal information or login credentials with people who claim to be Amazon representatives.
    9. Secure your devices from hackers with trusted antivirus software and a virtual private network (VPN).

    📌 Learn more about how Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution keeps you safe from hackers and scammers →

    The Bottom Line: Don’t Fall for These Audacious Amazon Scams

    Scammers take advantage of your trust in Amazon to steal your money, passwords, identity, and more. Stay one step ahead of fraudsters by learning how to recognize old and new Amazon scams making the rounds today. 

    And for added security, consider signing up for Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution. 

    Aura protects you from scammers, fraudsters, and hackers with #1-rated identity theft protection, 24/7 credit monitoring, powerful antivirus software, and a $1 million insurance policy for eligible losses due to identity theft. 

    Keep your family safe from Amazon scammers. Try Aura free for 14 days.

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    1. Financial identity theft and fraud
    2. Medical identity theft
    3. Child identity theft
    4. Elder fraud and estate identity theft
    5. “Friendly” or familial identity theft
    6. Employment identity theft
    7. Criminal identity theft
    8. Tax identity theft
    9. Unemployment and government benefits identity theft
    10. Synthetic identity theft
    11. Identity cloning
    12. Account takeovers (social media, email, etc.)
    13. Social Security number identity theft
    14. Biometric ID theft
    15. Crypto account takeovers