What is the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam?

Anton P. | October 12, 2022

The Amazon unauthorized purchase scam tries to coerce online shoppers into disclosing personal information. Such phone calls, emails, and messages claim to originate from official Amazon customer support. However, they have no affiliation with Amazon, and their warnings of any fraudulent purchases are bogus.

Scammers claiming to be from Amazon explore multiple fraud schemes. Phony representatives can alert you about alleged shipping issues, password changes, or special discounts.

In most scam calls and messages, scammers hope to trigger a sense of urgency. It could relate to grabbing a sales deal or resolving the risks around locked accounts.

How does the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam look?

Amazon unauthorized purchase scam usually starts when victims receive phone calls or messages from alleged Amazon representatives. Con artists will push a scenario that someone has initiated a fraudulent purchase via victims’ accounts.

Let’s break down the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam into steps:

  1. Scammers contact you to warn you about a suspicious purchase on your Amazon account.
  2. The scam can also state the exact charge, ranging from $100 to thousands of dollars. Higher sums are likely a way to present the situation as more severe.
  3. Victims have reported receiving automated calls that require people to press 1 to talk to live operators.
  4. Emails can also distribute the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam via lookalike addresses (like [email protected]).
  5. If you respond to emails or switch to live operators, they will likely require your bank or Amazon account details.

Can unauthorized purchases occur via Amazon?

Unfortunately, unauthorized purchases via Amazon do happen, and victims have reported noticing such charges. On one occasion, criminals exploited stolen debit card details to purchase Amazon goods.

However, before trusting alleged Amazon customer service managers, check your Amazon or bank account. You should not discover charges for the amount claimed in the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam.

Fraud like the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam can significantly intensify during the busiest shopping seasons. Amazon Prime Day is also one occasion for scammers to become more active. So, it could be challenging to keep track of all charges.

Thus, be on the lookout for unknown charges by doing quick financial reviews. Some experts recommend doing this weekly to guarantee that all transactions are genuine.

Things to know about Amazon impersonators

You should be on alert for the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends hanging up on calls from alleged Amazon representatives. If you receive an email or SMS message, never click on links or files within them.

However, be it the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam or another vicious trick, it has several red flags.

  1. Amazon support never asks for passwords

Amazon representatives can call clients about various issues with their orders or fraudulent charges. However, even if they do, they will never require highly personal information.

Thus, if alleged customer support asks for credit card information or social security numbers, it is a scam. Official representatives will also never ask for login details to your Amazon account.

  1. The phone call or email does not come from official sources

The official Amazon customer support phone number is 1-888-280-4331. As for email, legitimate emails come from [email protected]. It is likely a scam if you receive calls or messages from other sources.

  1. Amazon requires additional payments

The Amazon unauthorized purchase scam could go after instant financial gain. Then, fake representatives require payments for certain services. It is common for fraudsters to ask for payments through P2P systems like Zelle or Cash App.

Payments through them are irreversible unless the charge happens without your knowledge. Thus, if you willingly transfer money to scammers, the chances for refunds are slim.

Remember that Amazon support will never require additional payments, especially strictly via P2P payment apps.

  1. Support asks for remote access to your computer

An Amazon scam can also involve fake representatives asking for remote access via TeamViewer or AnyDesk. Such assistance propositions are not genuine and gained entry to computers can get exploited in multiple ways.

One scenario means that criminals install malicious programs. In other cases, they could steal personal data by crawling your hard drive. Thus, never grant remote access to unknown entities, even if they claim affiliation with well-known services.

How to handle the Amazon unauthorized purchase scam?

If you receive a fraudulent phone call or message from alleged Amazon representatives, follow these steps:

  1. Do not reveal any information to scammers; never click on links or attached files.
  2. Block the sender, be it a phone number or email address, from ever contacting you again.
  3. Submit a report on the scam by forwarding it to [email protected].
  4. If you have suffered losses due to scams, contact Amazon, your bank provider, and, in some cases, law enforcement.

Other Amazon scams to look out for

The Amazon unauthorized purchase scam is one of the ways to swindle users out of money or personal information. However, many fake scenarios target Amazon clients. Knowing the potential lies can immediately indicate phishing or smishing attempts.

  • Fake Amazon lotteries, discounts, or gifts. Such scams usually require users to click on dubious links, allegedly allowing users to claim special deals. However, they could lead to fake login pages, harvesting Amazon account details. In other cases, malicious URLs could secretly inject malware into your device.
  • Fictional tech support notifications. Tech support scams are the ones that usually require remote access to computers. Never trust such operators, and contact Amazon support via official numbers.
  • Alleged problems with deliveries or payments. Email alerts could suggest mishaps with orders or payments. First, think if you have recently purchased anything. If yes, check the status of your order and consult Amazon support via live chat. However, refrain from trying to receive help from the initial email.
  • Fake account issues and suspicious activities. The Amazon unauthorized purchase scam belongs to fraud that falsely reports problems with your account. However, scammers can spin other stories, like suspicious login attempts or unauthorized password changes.
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Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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