All is going good and well until a scam blights your shopping experience. With a reputable site such as Amazon, we are less likely to expect a scam in the first place. Nonetheless, opportunistic sadists have found many a creative way to make you part ways with your money. Keep on reading below for the most common ruses these charlatans employ to hoodwink you amidst your happy shopping experiences.
Let’s start with the most serious first. Phishing scams are terrible if you fall for them. And many do. Scammers will put loads of effort into tricking you to give them your information. Phishing scams, if you haven’t heard of them, are fake emails or texts purportedly sent to you from Amazon. These will usually include a link to the Amazon website (which are fakes built by the scammer) where they will prompt you to provide confidential information such as your password and answers to your security questions. To avoid phishing, always log into your Amazon account from your own web browser, never a link, look closely at the emails/ texts to see if they are real or fake and proceed without rushing into anything. If you have already fallen prey to a phishing scam, change your account details immediately, especially those that you have provided to the scammer, and inform Amazon of the phishing attempt.
Customer Support Scam
Fake customer support is unfortunately a scam that is fairly common. Exactly what it says on the tin, scammers will pretend to call you regarding non-existent problems with your Amazon account. They will likely have some information on you, such as your email, your recently purchased items (your reviews and ratings are public), or other bits of information. They will use this information to convince you that they are legitimately customer support, and attempt to coax more information out of you that they don’t know. Keep vigilant of anybody asking you for payment details over the phone, and never give out this information. Amazon would never ask for this information over the email or over the phone, so regard anybody who requests sensitive information with suspicion.
Alternative Platform Scams
Amazon is great for sellers marketing their product, and their customer protection policy is good for buyers too, ensuring a safe platform to buy and sell most anything. Anybody who asks you to complete the purchase on another platform therefore, has no reason to do so. Unless of course, they plan to do something illegal. Often, sellers will attempt to sell the product to you at a discount if you pay them outside of the Amazon website. If you do so, Amazon will not be responsible for any damaged or missing products, nor be able to give you a refund on your purchase. It is best to avoid these requests for using alternative platforms/ direct money transfer completely.
This one is very on the nose. They even use pictures of the genuine product sometimes, and only after delivery do you realise that what you saw is not what you got. Usually these items may be non-returnable and you will be stuck with something you don’t want and a lighter wallet besides. To look out for these products, look at the prices closely. Anything too cheap is likely to be a counterfeit, or not as sturdy/good-looking as advertised. Check other sellers’ prices for the same item to compare. Another good option is to check the Amazon reviews. But these too, require a critical eye…
Fake products may sometimes come hand in hand with fake reviews. Either the product is a counterfeit, or has received it’s fair share of low-rated reviews. The seller has thought it necessary to employ others to leave good reviews to drown out the bad. It should be second nature to sort the reviews from lowest to highest, cynical though it is. Watch out for repeated sentences over multiple reviews, good reviews left on even one-star ratings, and reviews that sound too vague or have questionable grammar. Watch out too for a deluge of good reviews left over a short period of time.
Regardless of your experience on Amazon, be sure to contact Amazon customer support as soon as you run into any trouble, and report any questionable activity, products and reviews that crosses your eye to make the Amazon marketplace a safer online space.