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American Express ‘Card Not Present’ Phishing Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen


Email purporting to be from American Express claims that the recipient’s account was used to make a purchase, but the card was not presented during the transaction. The message suggests that the recipient click a link if he or she does not recognize the transaction. 

Brief Analysis

The email is not from American Express. It is a phishing scam designed to panic people into giving their credit card details and other personal information to cybercriminals.


Subject: Account Alert: Card Not Present Transaction

Your account was used to make a purchase, however the Card was not presented to complete the transaction. This is usually the case with purchases made online or over the phone. If you do not recognize this transaction, please click here or visit our website at [Link removed].

Transaction Date:
Thu, Dec 05, 2013
Purchase Amount:
Merchant Name:


American Express Card Not Present Scam Email


Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which claims to be from credit card provider American Express, a “card not present” transaction has been made via the recipient’s account. The message notes that this is usually the case when purchases are made online, but suggests that the user click a link to visit the American Express website if he or she does not recognize the transaction.

The email includes details of a supposed transaction via the Apple Web Store for a hefty $7,800.82.

However, the message is not from American Express and the transaction details listed are not real.  The email is designed to panic recipients into clicking the link without due caution. When faced with what they believe may be a fraudulent transaction for several thousand dollars, some recipients of the message are likely to hastily click the link in the hope of tracking down details of the transaction. 
But, alas, the link does not go to the genuine American Express website.  Instead, it opens a fake site designed to closely mirror the appearance of the real AmEx site.  Once on the fake site, victims will be asked to provide credit card details and other personal and financial information. All of the details submitted will be harvested by criminals and used to commit credit fraud and identity theft.

As with other financial entities, American Express customers are regularly targeted in such phishing campaigns. Be wary of any email from your bank or credit card provider that tries to entice you to click a link or open an attached file.

Phishing continues to be one of the most common types of Internet-based fraud.

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,