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It pays to be an Amazon Prime member. Perks include free two-day shipping, lower prices at Whole Foods starting soon—the list goes on and on.
Because in this one instance, you won’t want to take advantage of the “bonus” they’re offering.
The email is promising you a $50 bonus from Amazon in the form of a voucher, which sounds awesome of course. But it’s a little too good to be true, unfortunately.
The email appears to be innocent enough when it hits your inbox, but according to consumer technology expert Kim Komando who received the email herself, the link provided in the email will take you to a website that looks like Amazon, but isn’t.
(Not an Amazon Prime member yet? You’re missing out. You can sign up here.)
From there, it’ll prompt that you enter your login credentials, which would give the scammers access to your Amazon Prime account, so you’ll definitely want to avoid clicking on this link (or even opening the email, if it’s not already too late!).
There’s also the potential risk of malware or ransomware, which can encrypt sensitive files on your device, for your computer.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Amazon customers have been targeted. It happened fairly recently in Dec. 2016, and the $50 bonus angle has even made the rounds before, too, according to Amazon users online.
You need to watch your hackers @amazon I received an email 2day for a $50 bonus award as a "thank you" it's more like BOGUS, not bonus!
— Sherri Maddick (@sherrisjoy) October 13, 2016
But, thankfully, there are ways you can confirm whether an email was actually sent from Amazon in the first place.
What To Look Out For In Phishing Emails:
According to the company, if you see any of these things, the email is suspicious.
1. An order confirmation for an item you didn’t purchase or an attachment to an order confirmation (Double check this information under the “Your Orders” section)
2. Requests for your Amazon.com username and/or password, or other personal information
3. Requests to update payment information (you can check information under “Your Account“)
4. Links to websites that look like Amazon.com, but aren’t Amazon
5. Attachments or prompts to install software on your computer
6. Typos or grammatical errors
7. Forged e-mail addresses to make it look like the e-mail is coming from Amazon.com
8. The “from” line of the e-mail contains an Internet Service Provider (ISP) other than @amazon.com
Keep your computer and your information safe using these guidelines. Amazon asks that you send any potentially suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org with the email in question as an attachment. If you are reporting a suspicious URL, put it in the body of the email.
Beware Just Launched Sellers
Also this month we learned, thanks to an investigation by BuzzFeed, that tons of fake sellers are infiltrating Amazon.
They use Amazon’s own policies against trusting customers, according to an article in Forbes. They post fraudulent products or listings for ones they never intend to ship. Then, the fake sellers give buyers a delivery date promise for between three and four weeks.
Why then? Because Amazon has a two-week pay cycle, meaning sellers get paid before a product even has to arrive to the buyer. So, once the buyer complains about an item (or lack of one), the seller still gets the money.
One way to avoid falling prey to the schemes is to pay close attention to a seller’s reviews.
If a seller is listed as “just launched,” they don’t have many reviews. And if they’re offering a deal that seems to be too good to true, that’s because it probably is.
Ditto if a seller has reviews that claim the buyer never received their items. Better safe than sorry.
Although many people are finding themselves victims of the scams, in the end, customers usually get their money back through Amazon’s A-to-Z guarantee.
“We take swift action if we detect such actions from any source. We encourage any customer not fully satisfied with their order to file an A-to-Z claim or contact customer service,” Amazon’s media relations department told Forbes.
Still, of course you’d like to avoid buying from an illegitimate seller in the first place. Plus, if you needed that specific item ASAP and it doesn’t show up, you’ll have to start the search process all over again.