How Do Amazon Scams Work?

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Scams are as old as commerce itself, and the online marketplace is no exception. With the rise of online shopping, particularly on platforms like Amazon, scams have become increasingly sophisticated and widespread. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of Amazon scams, exploring how they work, the common types being reported, and how you can protect yourself from falling victim to these fraudulent activities.


Amazon scams work by tricking users into providing sensitive information or making payments outside of the Amazon platform. Scammers often impersonate Amazon representatives, create a sense of urgency, or play on the emotions of their victims to convince them to part with their money or personal information. They use tactics such as phishing, off-platform payment requests, fake subscriptions, gift card scams, and brushing scams. Protect yourself by being cautious of unsolicited communications, verifying the legitimacy of websites and apps, using secure transactions, protecting your personal information, and reporting suspected scams to Amazon.

Common Types of Amazon Scams

Amazon scams can take many forms, but some are more common than others. These are the ones you’re most likely to encounter:

  1. Phishing scams: These scams involve scammers sending emails, phone calls, texts, or social media messages pretending to be from Amazon, attempting to trick users into providing sensitive information.
  2. Off-platform payment scams: In these scams, fraudsters convince buyers to make payments outside of the Amazon platform, often with the promise of discounts or other incentives.
  3. Amazon Prime Video scams: Scammers trick users into providing payment information for a fake Amazon Prime Video subscription.
  4. Amazon gift card scams: In these scams, fraudsters convince victims to purchase Amazon gift cards and provide the claim codes as payment for goods or services, which are never delivered.
  5. Brushing scams: Scammers send unsolicited packages to random recipients and use their information to post fake positive reviews for their products on Amazon.

How Scammers Operate

Scammers use a variety of tactics to defraud their victims. These tactics often involve psychological manipulation, exploiting human emotions and trust. Here are some of the most common tactics used by scammers:

  1. Impersonation: Scammers often pretend to be someone else, such as a representative of a well-known company like Amazon, to gain the trust of their target.
  2. Faking emergencies: Scammers create a sense of urgency by pretending there is an emergency that requires immediate action, such as a payment or providing personal information.
  3. Emotional manipulation: Scammers play on the emotions of their victims, exploiting their vulnerabilities, such as financial hardship, fear, or confusion.
  4. Phishing: Scammers use emails, text messages, or phone calls to trick victims into providing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information.

How to Protect Yourself

Amazon is making continuous efforts to combat scams and protect its customers. However, customers also need to be proactive in protecting themselves. Here are some tips:

  1. Be cautious of unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls: Do not open emails from unknown senders, and avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious messages.
  2. Verify the legitimacy of websites and apps: Be careful with links and website addresses that may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use slight variations in spelling or logos to deceive users.
  3. Use secure and traceable transactions: Avoid paying by wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card, or other non-traditional payment methods that cannot be traced.
  4. Protect your personal information: Do not share sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, bank account details, or credit card information, with unknown individuals or organizations.
  5. Report suspected scams: If you believe you have encountered a scam, report it to Amazon immediately.


While Amazon scams are a significant concern, understanding how they work and how to protect yourself can significantly reduce your chances of falling victim. Stay vigilant, be aware of common scam tactics, and remember the old adage: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of scam where fraudsters attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. This is often done through email, text messages, or phone calls.

What are the signs of a phishing email?

Some common signs of a phishing email include: poor grammar and spelling, a generic greeting, a false sense of urgency, and requests for personal information. The email might also contain suspicious links or attachments, and the sender’s email address may not match the name of the company they’re claiming to represent.

How does Amazon combat scams?

Amazon uses a combination of automated systems and a dedicated team of investigators to identify and prevent fraudulent activity. They also provide resources and tools to educate customers about scams and how to report them.

What should I do if I receive a suspicious email claiming to be from Amazon?

If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from Amazon, do not click on any links or download any attachments. Instead, forward the email to Amazon’s anti-phishing team at [email protected].

What is a brushing scam?

A brushing scam is a fraudulent practice where sellers send unsolicited items to individuals and then post fake customer reviews to boost sales. The recipients of these items are usually selected at random.

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