Amazon Locked Account Scam & How to Avoid It
You’ve got Amazon orders on the way, or some shopping to do. You’ve probably got an epic wish list, built up over the years. The last thing you need is to lose access to your Amazon account.
Reading that there are problems with your billing information or that someone logged into your account from Russia, Cameroon, or somewhere else you’ve never been is likely to push your blood pressure even higher. The natural reaction is to click on the link in front of you and start figuring out what’s going on.
But that’s exactly what these scammers are banking on. Read on to learn how to spot the Amazon locked account scam, how to react when one of these emails hits your inbox, and what to do if you’ve already fallen for this scam.
Is the account locked Amazon email a scam?
If you’ve received an email from a suspicious email address informing you that your Amazon account has been or is about to be locked, then yes, it’s a scam. These phishing emails create a sense of urgency to get you to click on the links they contain and give up your personal information.
This personal information can include your Amazon login details, your contact information, and your credit card details. A scammer can use this information to hijack your account, charge purchases to your credit cards, or even steal your identity.
How to spot the scam
The Amazon locked account scam is usually very easy to spot. It always begins with an email informing you that your account is or is about to be locked. Here are some real examples:
None of these emails addresses the recipient by name, but that doesn’t mean they can’t. Often, scammers get your full name along with your email address, so they may well start their phishing email with your name. Don’t let this, or any other personal information they know about you, fool you.
Here are some common features of fake Amazon locked account emails:
- Links that don’t go to URLs belonging to the amazon.com domain (hover your mouse over a button or link to see where it leads)
- A sender email that isn’t from the amazon.com domain (this can be spoofed, so don’t trust it even if it is from the amazon.com domain)
- Poor spelling and grammar—not always, but very often
- A sense of urgency—pressure to act quickly is a hallmark of many scams
- Encouragement to click on buttons and links rather than visit the Amazon website.
If you spot these features in an Amazon email, it’s a scam. Even if something just seems off to you, give the email a wide berth. Scammers can be extremely sophisticated. Also, know that Amazon won’t send you important messages by email alone—if they do email you, the same information will be available on the Amazon page after you’ve logged in.
What to do if you come across an account locked Amazon email
If you receive an Amazon locked account scam email, don’t:
- click on any links
- download or open any attachments
- reply to the email.
Instead, the easiest thing you can do is report the email as a phishing attempt (if your email provider offers this feature) or mark it as spam. If either of the above actions doesn’t automatically move the email to your trash folder, do so manually.
Any interaction you enter into with the email’s sender can only end badly for you. For one thing, by responding to them, you let them know that your email is active and in use. They can then add you to various scam lists or sell your now confirmed information to data brokers.
If you can’t shake the feeling that maybe, just maybe, you’re looking at a legitimate Amazon email, then go directly to www.amazon.com (by typing the address into the URL bar of your browser), log in to your account, and check for any notifications there.
What to do if you fell victim to an Amazon locked account scam
All is not lost if you’ve already fallen for an account locked Amazon email scam and clicked on a link or, worse still, logged into a phishing site. Here’s what you should do next:
Change your Amazon password
If you typed your Amazon password and username into any sites linked to the email you received or logged into your account on the real Amazon site after clicking on any links or attachments, you’ll need to change your Amazon password ASAP.
Do this by navigating to www.amazon.com on another device. Links and attachments in the scam email could have executed or installed malware on the device on which you opened the email. This only applies if you clicked on something.
Protect your finances
If you entered any credit card information or other payment details into a phishing site, then take steps to protect your finances. Contact your bank and explain what happened. Keep an eye on your transaction history and credit card statements.
Scan your device
Whether using a computer with Windows or macOS or a phone with Android or iOS, download reputable antivirus software and run a scan for malware. Linux users should be relatively safe, but should also scan their systems if in any doubt.
Report the scam
Reporting the Amazon locked account scam might help you and it’ll certainly make it more difficult for the scammers to find more victims in the future. Here are two great places to start:
- Amazon’s reporting page: start here and follow the appropriate links to walk through the process step-by-step.
- The Better Business Bureau: file a complaint with the BBB to raise awareness about this scam and warn others.
Begin the identity recovery process
If you gave up enough personal data to worry about identity theft, then do the above but also visit the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft portal. You’ll find guidance there on what steps to take next.
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