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Amazon text scam
© Oleksandr Voloshyn |
Security & privacy

Amazon scam: Don’t fall for this fake text! It’ll cost you

Scammers have no morals. That’s why they are out in full force around the holidays. Tap or click here for the top three scams to watch for this holiday season.

But there’s a new scheme to rip you off that you must be aware of. It’s based on online shopping, which millions of people are doing now.

Read on to see how this tricky ruse works and ways to avoid falling victim.

Here’s the backstory

Americans spend about $900 on Christmas gifts each year, and keeping an eye on your finances is essential for planning the months ahead. So, getting a text message about a high-value purchase you don’t remember making can cause panic.

Naturally, you’d want to sort out the error quickly, but that is the nature of a new scam making the rounds.

Here’s how the scam works. You’ll receive a text message informing you that your payment was successful for a relatively expensive item from Amazon. If you have questions about the purchase, a phone number is included in the text that you can call.

That’s where the real danger begins. The phone number connects you to a call center run by scammers. The fraudster on the line claims that you’ve made several purchases that you won’t recognize. To verify you are who you say you are, they ask you for personally identifying information. They might even ask for payment details.

If you hand this data over, the thieves have all they need to rip you off. TechRadar called the phone number and confirmed it was a scam. The fraudster had an elaborate script that said several orders were placed from a different state, and they needed to be connected with Amazon’s secure server to resolve the issue.

That’s when things got interesting. The scammer told the caller they needed to download an app to connect to the server. In reality, the app is remote desktop software that would give criminals complete access to your device.

Once they gain control of your gadget, they pillage any data they can get, including account login details, cryptocurrency wallets or banking information.

What you can do about it

When you get a text message about a purchase that you don’t remember making, it’s important to remain calm. Here are some things that you can do to stay safe:

  • Never click on a link in a text message if you don’t know the sender. If you have business with a company or government agency, ensure you visit the official website by navigating to the page in your browser instead of following a link.
  • When available, enable two-factor authentication. This is an extra step to protect your online accounts.
  • Some smishing scams use well-known retailers as a lure. If you didn’t buy anything from them, there is no reason why you should get a text. Ignore it and report the number as spam.
  • Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. This will help keep malware and malicious apps off your phone. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price!

Keep reading

Here’s how much Amazon will pay to collect more of your data

Protect yourself! Stalkers are using Amazon Alexa devices

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