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Amazon Account Review Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Emails purporting to be from Amazon.co.uk claim that, due to a recent review, access to the recipient’s account has been limited until more account information is supplied via an attached form. Some versions ask users to click a link to access the form rather than open an attached file.

Brief Analysis

The emails are not from Amazon. Instead, they are phishing scams designed to steal sensitive personal and financial information from Amazon account holders. Information entered on the bogus forms will be sent to cybercriminals.

Example

Subject: Amazon Important Case

Dear Customer,

Your Amazon account including order(#206-520728-332921) has been placed on hold as we require further verification to allow us to process your order in a timely and securemanner.

We are unable to verify your address as your card issuerhas declined your payment, as a result your amazon account has beentemporarily locked until you complete the folowing verification checks.

Please Click Here to confirm your account.

YourAmazon account and order will remain locked until we can verify thisinformation. Failure to verify your account within 7 days will result inyour account being permanently closed.

Kind reg ards,

Sandra Lee
Account Specialist

 

Detailed Analysis

This message, which purports to be from the UK branch of giant online store Amazon, claims that access to the recipient’s Amazon account has been limited. According to the message, the user is required to provide more information due to a recent account review.

The message claims that the user can restore account access by filling in a verification form contained in an attached file. A later version claims that the recipient’s Amazon account has been placed on hold and will be closed unless he or she clicks a link to “confirm” the account.
However, the emails are not from Amazon. In fact, they are phishing scams designed to trick people into submitting personal and financial information to Internet criminals. Clicking the attachment or clicking the link opens a bogus form in the user’s web browser like the one displayed below:

Amazon Account Phishing Email

The bogus form asks for credit card details along with name, address and contact information. The form is designed to resemble a genuine Amazon web page.

If a victim fills in the form and clicks the “Continue” button, all of the requested information can be sent to cybercriminals. Armed with this stolen information, these criminals can then use the victim’s credit card for fraudulent transactions and possibly steal his or her identity. They may also onsell the stolen details to other criminals via online black markets.

Once the bogus form has been submitted, victims are automatically redirected to the genuine Amazon website. Thus, they may remain unaware that they have handed their personal details to criminals until fraudulent transactions and other evidence of identity theft subsequently comes to their attention.

Amazon will never ask customers to provide personal and financial information via an unsolicited email. And the company would certainly never expect customers to provide personal information via an unsecure HTML email attachment.

Any unsolicited email that asks you to provide personal or financial information either by following a link to a website or by opening an email attachment should be treated with due caution. No legitimate company or financial institution is ever likely to request private details from customers using such methods. 

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer