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Insider trick to get help from Amazon when you need it – and not get scammed

If you’ve ever tried to contact Amazon’s customer service, you know how tricky it can be. The company doesn’t do a great job of promoting its phone number, so you end up clicking from page to page trying to find it.

Instead of dealing with this frustration, many people try to Google it. Bad idea! As we’ve seen in the past, doing an online search for things like customer service numbers or tech support can lead you down a bad path. Tap or click here to learn how tech support searches can lead to scams.

Unfortunately, it’s still happening. Scammers are targeting people who search for Amazon customer service and other helpful numbers and sites. Here are some details about what’s going on and how to safely get help from Amazon when you need it.

Not everything is what it appears to be

So, here’s what’s happening. When people do a Google search to find Amazon’s customer service number, what’s actually showing up in some results are malicious ads that promote fake phone numbers and spoofed websites.

If you call one of the fake numbers, an impostor will answer and ask for your credit card or banking information. Once they have this info they can cause all kinds of problems for you, like stealing money directly from your account or identity theft.

Or, if you click on a malicious link it could infect your device with malware or other scams. That’s why it’s a bad idea to do online searches for things like customer service or tech support.

RELATED: 6 sophisticated scams fooling even the savviest internet users

Fake phone numbers and spoofed sites that appear in these types of ads are known as “malvertising.” Malvertising is when fraudulent ads contain malicious links that lead to serious problems like malware.

How to safely contact Amazon

The best way to avoid falling victim to these types of scams is to make sure you’re calling the actual phone number to any company you’re trying to reach — and it’s not just an Amazon problem, cybercriminals spoof other companies, too.

If you need to contact your credit card company or bank, use the phone numbers found on the backs of your credit or debit cards. You know those numbers are official.

Need Amazon’s help?

If you need to speak with an Amazon representative, your first step is to speak with them in an online chat. To do that, log in to your Amazon account, then tap or click here.

Once you’re on that Amazon page, click the button labeled Start chatting now.

A chat window will open and you can start chatting. When you first begin, you won’t be speaking with a human, it’s a bot; however, if the bot isn’t able to fix your problem, you will be connected to someone who can.

RELATED: Scam alert! This fake phone call is very convincing

If you’re not comfortable with an online chat and need to call Amazon, you can. Here are the official numbers you can try: 888-280-4331 and 888-280-3321.

Scammers are currently targeting Amazon customers but they can change it up at any time. That’s why we recommend finding customer service numbers on official websites instead of doing online searches.

And make sure to type official web addresses into your browser instead of following links from searches. That way you know you’re visiting a real site and not a spoofed one operated by thieves.

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