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BBB: Beware of e-mail scams using the Amazon.com name

  • Special to The Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at 7:26 a.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at 7:30 a.m.

The phishing season never ends when it comes to Amazon.com customers. The giant online retailer reported sales of $12.8 billion in the second quarter of 2012. No figures are available for how much scammers have made using the Amazon name, but even if they had only a fraction of successful phishing attempts for the huge number of e-mails sent out, that would be an impressive amount.

The fraudsters who disguise themselves as Amazon representatives in e-mails are numerous and persistent. A number of these scamming attempts have been reported recently in Kansas. Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston notified consumers of successful scamming attempts in the area last week.

The latest version of the Amazon scam is a fake order confirmation which shows that the viewer’s account was used to purchase an HD TV or similar item, and that the merchandise was being shipped to a different address. It is designed to alarm consumers into believing their account has been hacked and someone is using it to buy merchandise.

The “order confirmation” has links for readers to click on so that they can correct the problem. The links may have labels like “Your Order” or “Merchant Contact Form.” Beware. Links like these in phishing e-mails contain malicious viruses for capturing passwords and private information from the computer or device being used. Do not click on the links.

Amazon states on its website that it will never send unsolicited e-mail attachments.

It further reminds customers to never click on any links in a suspicious e-mail, even if the e-mail doesn’t contain an attachment. The quickest and easiest way to check on your account is to go to the official website and click on “Your Account.” Remember to get to the official website by going to your Web browser and typing in www.amazon.com. There you can visit “Your Orders” to see if there is an order that matches the one mentioned in the e-mail.

If you receive fake e-mails, report them to the business whose name has been hijacked. This helps them warn other consumers of fraud attempts.

Scammers are getting more sophisticated with their fake e-mails, using graphics and type fonts that look exactly like real e-mails from real companies. A careful reading can sometimes reveal telltale misspellings in the body of the e-mail or clues in the return Web address that the e-mail is not genuine.

The Better Business Bureau wants to know about any experiences or concerns you may have with phishing e-mails. Contact us by calling 800-856-2417 or visit our website at www.kansasplains.bbb.org.

Roberta Namee works for the Better Business Bureau of Kansas.

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