Amazon Anniversary Scam & How to Avoid It
For a while now, a fake viral message has been going around on messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. These messages claim that it’s Amazon’s 30th anniversary and, to commemorate, the e-commerce giant is giving away amazing gifts like the Huawei Mate 40 Pro 5G!
This isn’t anything new. Similar anniversary scams pop up from time to time, often impersonating Amazon. We’ve also seen the Amazon 27th anniversary scam and the Amazon 26th anniversary scam.
We can confidently expect the same or similar scams to resurface again every July 5th (Amazon’s anniversary date). Be ready for the next one! Below, we’ll cover how to spot the scam and what to do if you encounter or fall for one.
Is the “Amazon anniversary gift” real or a scam?
The Amazon Anniversary gift is a phony viral message popular on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. In this scam, victims are lead to a fake Amazon anniversary celebration page and tricked into believing they won a gift. Do not click on the link as this is not real. It’s a scam.
For starters, Amazon is not turning 30 in 2023. The company was founded on July 5, 1994. Unfortunately, Amazon is not giving free gifts to random users for its 30th anniversary (or 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th anniversaries). If you get a message on WhatsApp or another messaging or social media app promising this, ignore it.
If users click on the links in these messages, they will end up on dangerous websites designed to look like Amazon and steal their sensitive information. This could lead to more scams, hacking attempts, and identity theft.
How to spot the scam
While there may be several variations of the Amazon anniversary scam making the rounds, there are some components that are usually present in all of them:
- The use of messaging apps or social media
- A promise of free gifts
- A sense of urgency
- A link
- A survey
Here’s what the Amazon anniversary scam may look like in action:
1) A suspicious message
You receive a message on WhatsApp (or Messenger, Instagram, Telegram, or other social media platforms) announcing the upcoming anniversary of Amazon. The message will usually mention free gifts and contain a link.
2) A quick survey
If you follow the link, you’ll reach a website that looks like an Amazon page. There, you’ll usually be greeted by a congratulatory text explaining that Amazon is giving away hundreds of gifts, such as the Huawei Mate 40 Pro 5G. All you have to do is complete a short survey to claim the prize. But hurry! The offer is valid only until supplies last!
This survey usually contains four questions about your age, gender, satisfaction with Amazon services, and your smartphone platform of choice.
3) Gift boxes that keep giving
Once you submit your survey responses, you’ll be presented with several gift boxes. You’ll usually get 3 chances to pick. If you choose right, you’ll win an amazing gift.
Of course, you will choose the correct box on one of your tries. As soon as you do, you’ll be prompted to share the message with 20 friends or five WhatsApp groups. This ensures that more people will see the scam, leading to more victims.
4) The “reward”
Finally, you can claim your “reward,” but to do so, you’ll have to download a special app where you can enter your address. Makes perfect sense, right?
Unfortunately, this app will most likely install malware on your device. It can then be used to steal your personal information, hack your devices and accounts, and steal your identity.
What to do if you see the Amazon anniversary scam
If you run into anything that resembles what we described above, the answer is simple. Don’t follow the link and report the number or flag the post advertising the scam.
If you still aren’t sure whether what you’re looking at is a scam:
- Check the official Amazon website (not via any links) to see if there is a legitimate promotion taking place. Anything not listed on the website is definitely a scam.
- Avoid clicking links and opening attachments. Even if a link appears legitimate, it may be a clever trick that disguises a malicious URL. Some of these attacks may even come from close friends or relatives that have been hacked or tricked into sharing the links.
- Check links using the ScamAdviser search bar if you can’t avoid following a link. This tool will let you know if the links or URLs are safe.
What to do if you fell victim to an Amazon anniversary scam
Sometimes, really convincing (and attractive) scams can get the best of us. If you’ve fallen for the Amazon anniversary scam, here’s what you should do next:
Change your login credentials
Accounts such as your social media and online or mobile banking may be compromised. You should change the passwords immediately and update security measures such as Multi-Factor Authentication.
Next, you’ll want to report the scam. There are various places you can do this. We recommend filing a report with all.
- The messaging or social media platform. Whether you received the scam message on WhatsApp, Messenger, or somewhere else, you can report or flag the message or post.
- Your local police. Contact or visit the fraud division of your local police department (do not call 911) to file a report. They can help track down the criminals that scammed you.
- The Federal Trade Commission. File a report with the FTC so that they can start an official investigation and bring a case against the scammers.
- The Better Business Bureau. To inform other consumers and make it harder for the scammers to continue their work, file a complaint with the BBB.
Monitor your credit activity
These scammers may have gained access to your bank accounts and credit card details. Monitor your transactions and credit card statements closely for suspicious activity.
If you do notice anything out of the ordinary, we recommend you contact your bank directly to replace compromised cards, change PINs, and reinforce your account security.
By gaining access to some personal information, criminals can often obtain even more. We recommend you also keep an eye on your Social Security activity and get an FTC recovery plan if you suspect you have become a victim of identity theft.
Clean up your digital footprint
The average person generates 1.7 MB of data every second. Cybercriminals like the ones responsible for the Amazon anniversary scam rely on this data to operate. They need information like your contact details to reach you, the apps and accounts you use to target you, and passwords and Social Security numbers for the worst crimes. Cleaning up your digital footprint can make a big difference.
To protect yourself from scams, identity theft, and general invasion of privacy, we recommend you remove as much of your data from the internet as possible. You can check our guide for detailed instructions on how to do this.
Also, take some time to optimize the privacy settings of your social media accounts. Follow these guides:
- How to make your TikTok account private
- How to make your Pinterest account private
- How to make your Twitter (X) account private
- How to make Instagram private
- How to make Facebook private
Do you want to know about more Amazon scams to be aware of? Check out these guides: