It starts with an email from Amazon and likely ends with “You’ll need an Amazon Gift Card to pay.” In addition to Amazon Gift Cards,  iTunes, Walmart, and others gift cards are used for all types of email scams. Many unwilling consumers fall prey to expertly faked emails from “legitimate” sources. Fear is an effective phishing tactic when demanding payment with gift cards. Family and friend emergencies, overdue insurance, or utility bills are ripe for payout. The email demands the crisis will go away immediately if you pay up with an Amazon Gift Card. Others believed they were purchasing a car directly from Amazon (Amazon does not sell cars) and were required to pay with an Amazon Gift Cards?

It’s easy to see the phishing lure, but why would anyone bite? Scammers count on grabbing your heart and money through these emails. Amazon is now added to the list of companies like Nordstrom and CVS being targeted for their gift cards. Amazon posts information on their website alerting consumers to email scams. First and foremost, Amazon wants all consumers to remember: “Amazon.com Gift Cards can only be used on Amazon.com”. Take it to heart, and learn to spot scam emails involving Amazon gift cards.

  • Start at the beginning. Verify the URL address for an email claiming to be directly from Amazon. Hover your mouse over the URL address until the hyperlink address appears. No matter how legit a URL looks, a mismatched URL between the sender and Amazon is classic phishing. If it doesn’t match the URL, delete the email immediately.
  • Don’t purchase Amazon Gift Cards for payment on anything other than on Amazon.com.
  • Emails claiming to be from Amazon thanking you for your purchase. They may go on to say you’ll receive a $50 gift card for a review of your online purchase. Always type Amazon.com directly into your browser and go to “Your Orders” to verify. If the purchase isn’t there, beware.
  • Amazon asks you to consider the logic behind the gift card scam. Anyone pressuring you to pay up with Amazon Gift Cards just doesn’t make sense. Why would the IRS or any other entity that’s not Amazon accept payment with Amazon Gift Cards? Also, Amazon will never asks you to verify any account information and payment methods through emails.
Donovan B. Fox © Copyright 2017 SDFCU.org