Imagine the situation. One day without warning, Amazon reaches out by phone. It could be confirming an order, renewing a subscription, or checking for account security. Then, they mention some charges you don’t remember ever allowing.
“If you recognize this transaction, hold on the line. If you want to cancel, press the following numbers.”
If they charged you for services you don’t remember buying, would you cancel? Of course. People who got this robocall would press the number to cancel it. The catch is, there wasn’t any transaction.
If you checked your account as you talked on the phone, you wouldn’t find the orders they mention. Would you still cancel only to be sure?
But buyers didn’t realize they were dealing with imposters rather than Amazon Support. As soon as you “cancel,” you start getting mystery charges on your phone.
It may not seem like much. But as it compounds over time, you start worrying about why it happened, and how to cancel those seemingly unstoppable recurring payments. Nobody expected that, by pressing one number, one could get scammed.
What Are Amazon Phone Scams?
The first question to make when talking with Amazon on the phone is: Why are you talking on the phone?
Amazon may call after you request customer support, but rarely without notice. Here are some suspicious calls that seem to come from Amazon:
- Press X button to cancel your Amazon Prime renewal
- Follow this link to resolve your account problem.
- You have to verify whether you made an order you didn’t.
- They inform you about suspicious activity on your account. You need to provide all your account data for security reasons.
- Support asks to buy a $100 Amazon Giftcard. It will generate a “code to process the transaction”/solve the account problem. They promise a refund later.
Amazon phone scams get you in touch with support imposters with no intention of helping you. After following a few instructions, they may take control of your account and steal some money.
Now, how can you tell legit from scam calls? A perhaps better question is: what calls are not scams? Short answer: almost none. This retail giant doesn’t use the phone as a communication channel. How to expect customer support to call millions of customers every time they buy?
Support doesn’t call you: Amazon only responds to incoming calls. Beginner phone scammers will reach out intrusively.
Watch Out For This Confidence Trick
Have you ever been in this situation? You faced a last-minute problem with your account. Email autoresponders don’t help to solve the problem, and you’re desperate to talk to a real person ASAP.
So you start searching for email addresses and phone numbers. Nothing. For some reason, Amazon doesn’t share that information (they have a different contact system).
If you search on Google, however, you may find some websites mentioning the contact data. If you go to social media, you may also find people talking about toll-free Amazon numbers. Because you can’t get the information anywhere else, you take it.
That’s how expert imposters work. They make you reach out to them, not the other way around. They are the ones who share (fake) contact data on the web to get to you.
The confidence trick makes you believe you’re talking to Support, so you’ll follow all their instructions. After the data extortion, it may end like:
“Rest assured. We’re already working on the problem and expect to resolve it shortly.” (Keep calm while we take advantage of you)
What if you talked to real Amazon support? Would they ask you for your credit card? Would they need your login password and 2FA code? Would they move the case outside the platform?
How To Tell Fraudulent From Legit Amazon Calls?
A real employee will be honest when he can’t do something and needs to escalate the case.
Although these answers may frustrate customers, it’s the real way Support operates. They need time to investigate your case and show it to the right department.
Scammers, on the other hand, make you believe they can solve any problem instantly, like magic (you provide data/money, of course).
Here are four things scammers love doing that Amazon never does:
#1 They move the case outside of Amazon
On the phone, they may tell you to visit this shortened link: something like “support.me.”
“It’s a custom link for your account that leads to a website associated with Amazon.”
Outside of Amazon, your account is defenseless. They can tell you anything they want you to do because they have control.
They also show you what they want you to see. If the scammer claimed you have a pending order, a cloned Amazon website would display it. Since you never made that order, the real site won’t show anything you see on the cloned site.
From here, the fake agent may ask you to enter some information or make a purchase.
#2 You don’t remember buying it
- You have to renew your Prime subscription, but you didn’t have one in the first place.
- You have to confirm a large order, but you don’t remember buying that.
Mind that, if the case moves to another website, the scammer can show you anything. He would make it look real.
What if you find the mistake on the actual Amazon site? Is it possible to process an order you didn’t make? If you find that situation, the problem may be more concerning than you think.
#3 You have to confirm the order by phone
Whether you recognize the order or not, Amazon won’t call you to confirm the transaction. Instead, you get all the information in your account and email inbox.
Nobody in Amazon should have your number other than the person who delivers the package, which is optional. Assume that most calls you get from Amazon come from an imposter.
Are you worried about an order you don’t recognize? We should be more concerned about how they got your phone number.
#4 Get free services by following the steps today
No Amazon scam would be complete without advance fee fraud. Whether it’s winning or avoiding losing, this confidence trick still cons the most experienced buyers.
For example, you do everything customer support tells you because they’re Amazon: they know what to do. If you don’t recognize a transaction, you follow the steps to avoid getting charged.
The fraudulent agent just wants your login information. They may use other hooks:
- Get free Amazon Prime for six months.
- Get a gift card for helping Amazon with a survey.
- As an FBA seller, follow the steps to receive unclaimed money Amazon owes you.
Amazon won’t be offering free services, especially by phone salespeople.
Types Of Amazon Phone Scams
It’s safe to assume Amazon won’t ever reach out by phone. But even if they did, you wouldn’t know whether it’s real until you reply. Most scammers use spoofing to hide/manipulate their location and displayed number. Thus, a call from Washington DC may come from anywhere in the world.
Identity thieves have a problem: they can’t email victims without looking intrusive. But today’s phone scams may do the confidence trick:
Let’s say you find a fake Amazon number online. You call a stranger and start talking about your account problem. After a while, the “agent” will admit they don’t know how to solve it, or they will get back to you within 24h.
It doesn’t matter what happens in the call, because they promise to follow up by email. Now that you’re expecting a response, you open yourself to email scams like phishing.
Here’s confidence trick logic: you called the person, and they tried to help you. Because your first impression was good and they didn’t try to scam you (yet), you choose to trust them since then.
#2 Active Amazon Prime Subscription
With over a hundred million Prime members, con men can easily pull Prime scams and, by chance, find someone who has that subscription.
So you get a robocall asking to renew your subscription. You can also cancel it if you don’t recognize the transaction. In any case, you need to press a number if you want to speak to the account manager.
The con man would call thousands of numbers a day and then talk with those who answered the robocall. The trick could cost the victims their whole bank accounts.
#3 False identity theft
Would you doubt someone who’s trying to protect you from scams? That’s how identity thieves get your information: they all start with the security excuse.
A fake account manager calls your number because your account has been compromised. For such an urgent matter, the intrusive call immediately makes sense. You see it as a security warning.
The con man will start guiding you with the steps to protect your account from a hypothetical identity thief. Visit this site, check for this information, and enter this data. You just helped the scammer get into your account!
After all, nobody knows the most about identity theft protection than an identity thief.
#4 Identity Theft
All this scam requires is to disguise as customer support. You trick the customer’s confidence and ask them for sensitive information.
“We need your security information so that we can solve your problem.”
Most buyers won’t have a problem with that because Amazon guarantees data protection and privacy on their Terms and Conditions. But as you can imagine, scammers don’t care about moral principles.
Although real employees could steal your money, it happens with impostors more often. The problem is, once you’re in that call, there’s no way to recognize the scam.
The only safe way to provide your data is via Amazon Support links from your account. Not contact data shared online.
#5 Urgent Call
In this trick, scammers will try to get you on the phone and connect you to an expensive line. To do so, they need you to call first, which they achieve by sending you warnings via different channels.
- You find an email mentioning your account security is at risk.
- You get an SMS to confirm a service you didn’t buy. It includes a phone which you can call to cancel the transaction.
- You get a robocall that connects you to a “manager” once you press some numbers.
Ironically, you don’t know what the urgent problem is. Security problems? Subscription renewals? Unauthorized orders? When you visit your account, everything looks fine: the problem doesn’t exist other than in the message.
If you choose to call, check the number first on Google. You may find surprising news: “this number isn’t Amazon. They’ll charge you dollars per minute.”
If the actual Amazon warned about a real problem, they would keep sending it until you see it and take action. But if you don’t reply to a fraudulent message, you rarely get any other warnings. The scammer assumes you won’t answer and give up.
#6 Call Forwarding
Once you’re on the phone, the scammer will make up some excuse to make you enter a code on your phone.
“We require you to enter this star code to solve the account problem.”
“We can’t help you in your case. If you type *72, it will connect you with the highest support team, which is directly managed by Jeff Bezos.”
“Enter this star code to get a refund for your subscription instantly.”
So they tell you to call a certain number with *72. But you may not know that the code activates call forwarding with your phone. That “*72” phone is usually a long distance number that charges you higher rates.
Once you enter the code, that number can call anywhere anytime. That number may call the scammer and talk for as long as they want for free while you pay for it. You’ve forwarded the collect call, and now they can steal your phone calls.
How To Prevent Amazon Phone Scams
When was the last time you received a real call from Amazon? It probably happened because you requested the OTP code, or you added your phone when messaging customer support. If we exclude those cases, the answer is Never.
Although you may have a Prime Subscription, that doesn’t mean Amazon has your phone if you didn’t share it. It means someone else has it, an impostor/identity thief.
What should you do when receiving these calls?
As soon as you recognize the scam, instead of replying negatively, don’t respond to it. Scammers value contacts that respond to their messages, meaning they may try to scam you on another occasion.
You won’t get scammed by answering the phone. But the con man may sell your number to others because he now knows you’ll reply. If you never interact, they can’t do anything.
What if you’re curious about what the matter is? The best you can do is:
- Contact Support via your account page. Ask them if they recognize the call and number.
- Check your Amazon account. Any information they share on the phone call should already appear on the site.
- Don’t hang on the phone. Tell them via SMS to contact you via email.
The last trick helps you test whether they are actual Support. If the agent has your number, they should know your email. Otherwise, it’s a scammer calling at random numbers.
#2 Get back with the contact information you trust
The safest way to communicate is to be the one who calls them. Amazon won’t call you unless you request it (haven’t we repeated that enough?).
The next time you get a suspicious call from “Amazon,” ignore it. Instead, go to your account, click on Help, and message Customer Support immediately:
“Hello, Customer Service,
I’ve just received a phone call from Amazon (this number: X). Do you recognize the phone number?
If it was you, could you explain what the call is about? Could you call again?
If you don’t recognize it, could you do a quick check-up to make sure there’s nothing wrong with this account?
#3 Double-check as you speak on the phone
Scammers call when you least expect it. Often when you receive the call, you’re busy with other matters, so you can’t give it the deserved attention. Distractions can make you miss the details, causing costly mistakes.
If they only call once, send Customer Support a message like the previous template. If they keep calling throughout the day, choose a moment where you’re at home. Login to your account on your computer/phone, so you can verify what they’re saying.
You may ask:
“What’s the problem with Amazon Prime? My account shows my subscription is active. No actions needed.”
“The unauthorized order you mention doesn’t appear anywhere in my history. It didn’t happen.”
Scammers don’t expect you to check their statements as they talk. If something they say doesn’t match— and they can’t justify it— it’s a scam.
#4 Improve your data privacy
Why are they calling you in the first place? Your only problem is, someone has your number and is trying to con you. If they didn’t have your phone number, you wouldn’t be at risk of fraud.
These days, people have ten different ways to contact you. To avoid unwanted messages, restrict to two or three channels. Choose the phone only for friends and family: Choose emails and another platform for everything else. Phone calls are too intrusive to share your number with people you don’t trust.
What if people already have your number? It may be time to filter those contacts. If you don’t reply and block scammers, they won’t call again.
You only get a few calls from Amazon: customer support and OTP code verification. Both cases only happen after you ask for a phone call. If you get the first one without warning, it’s an impostor. But if you get the 2FA call without requesting it, it means someone else is trying to enter your account.