We want to help consumers avoid impersonation scams this holiday season. These happen when a scammer pretends to be a trusted company and reaches out to try to get access to sensitive information like social security numbers, bank information, or Amazon account details.
This year, we found that fake order confirmations accounted for more than 50% of the Amazon impersonation scams reported by our customers. These unsolicited communications often refer to a purchase (that you didn’t make) and ask you to act urgently to confirm the purchase. When you try to cancel the fake order by clicking a link or calling the supposed “customer service” number, scammers then try to steal your personal or financial information. We invest significant resources to protect consumers and stores from these scammers.
“Scammers who attempt to impersonate Amazon put consumers at risk,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of Selling Partner Services. “Although these scams take place outside our store, we will continue to invest in protecting consumers and educating the public on how to avoid scams.”
First, we want you to know when you are communicating with Amazon that it is really us. Earlier this year, we implemented industry-leading email verification technology across more than 20 countries - including UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain - to make it easier for customers to identify phishing emails and harder for scammers to commit fraud.
Customers using Gmail, Yahoo!, and other common email providers can be confident an email is coming from Amazon because they will see the Amazon smile logo icon in their inbox. We also provide resources on how to tell whether an email, phone call, text message, or webpage is really from Amazon.
Second, we continue to work to hold bad actors accountable. In 2022 so far, we have initiated takedowns of more than 20,000 phishing websites and 10,000 phone numbers being used as part of impersonation schemes. We also have referred more than 100 bad actors across the globe to local law enforcement authorities, and we will continue to support their efforts in ensuring these scammers are held accountable.
Third, we work to help educate consumers on how to avoid scams. While bad actors will continue to try to evade detection, there are helpful tips that all of us can use to avoid impersonation scams.
Stay safe from impersonation scams with these six tips.
We encourage our consumers to use these tips when shopping this holiday season:
1. Verify purchases on Amazon.
If you receive a message about the purchase of a product or service, do not respond to the message or click on any link in the message; instead, log into your Amazon account or use the Amazon mobile app and confirm that it is really in your purchase history before taking any action.
2. Trust Amazon’s app and website.
We will not ask for payment over the phone or email–only in our mobile app, on our website, or in one of our physical stores. We will not call and ask you to make a payment or bank transfer on another website.
3. Be wary of false urgency.
Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency to persuade you to do what they’re asking.
4. Don’t be pressured into buying a gift card.
We will never ask you to purchase a gift card, and no legitimate sale or transaction will require you to pay with gift cards.
5. Contact us.
If you’re ever unsure, it’s safest to stop engaging with the potential scammer and contact us directly through the Amazon app or website. Do not call numbers sent over text or email, or found in online search results. Remember Amazon will not ask you to download or install any software to connect with customer service nor will we request payment for any customer service support.
6. Report something suspicious.
If you receive correspondence that you think may not be from Amazon, please report it immediately. Customers can use the Amazon self-service tool to report something suspicious in just a few quick steps. If you are not a customer, you can still report a suspicious message to us at email@example.com.
These reports give us information to identify bad actors and take action against them, helping us stop scams before they happen.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, which is a part of GCHQ, also provides free advice to the public on how to stay secure online through its Cyber Aware campaign, which encourages the use of a strong and different password for your email using 3 random words, and to turn on 2-step verification on your email.
Paul Maddinson, NCSC Director of National Resilience and Strategy said: "Consumers will be looking for savings during the Black Friday sales, and we want them to do so safely and with confidence. Unfortunately criminals often try to exploit the excitement around Black Friday, so it’s important that shoppers are prepared with the best cyber security tips to keep them safe. By adopting our Cyber Aware advice to set up two-step verification and use three random words passwords, as well as following the NCSC’s online shopping guidance, we can all help stop the scammers.”
You are protected when you shop on Amazon.
We have a team of more than 12,000 people globally—including machine learning scientists, software developers, and expert investigators—dedicated to protecting our store and our customers from fraud and other forms of abuse. Always use Amazon’s official website and app when looking for deals, making a purchase, and reviewing your order history. We also stand behind every product in our store whether it is sold by Amazon or an independent small business with the A-to-z Guarantee.
This protection applies to products purchased in our stores worldwide. In the unlikely event that customers experience issues with timely delivery or condition of their purchase, we will make it right by refunding or replacing it.
We are committed to protecting consumers from scammers that seek to impersonate Amazon to take advantage of the trust customers place in us. We have zero tolerance for these criminals who pretend to be Amazon to commit fraud. We will continue to pursue bad actors and hold them accountable. We will also continue to work with credible organisations to educate consumers and empower them with the tools they need to protect themselves.