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American Express ‘Primary Cardmember Message’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, which purports to be from credit card provider American Express, errors were encountered during a recent security analysis. 

The email, which has the subject line, “A concern that requires your action”, and is addressed to the “Primary Cardmember” claims that you need to confirm your account information by opening an attached file.

However, the email is not from American Express. Instead, it is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.

If you open the attached file, a fake account update form will load in your browser. The bogus form includes the American Express logo and secondary links to create the illusion that it is genuine.

The form asks you to supply account passwords, credit card details, name and contact details, and a host of other identifying information.  After submitting the bogus form, you will be automatically redirected to the genuine AMEX website.

But, alas, all of the information you supplied will be sent to online criminals and may be used to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.

Note that no legitimate bank or credit provider is ever likely to send you an unsolicited email demanding that you submit sensitive personal information via an unsecure attached file.

It is always safest to login to your online accounts by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via a trusted app rather than by opening an attached file or clicking a link.

Phishing scammers have repeatedly targetted American Express customers in recent years. And, very similar scam emails have targetted customers of many other banks and credit card providers all around the world.

Be wary of any email or text message that claims that there is a problem with your bank or credit card account and you must click a link or open an attachment to deal with the problem.

American Express has information about how to report such fraud attempts on its website.  

An example of the scam email:

Primary Cardmember MessageFor your security:

We are writing to let you know that there is a recent security report for your American Express(R) Account(s). At the time of report analysis, errors were encountered.In view of this, We mandate that you confirm your on-file records with us.

YOU ARE TO

A safe attached fillable Web form is sent with this message.

• See Attached Form, Download and Open to Continue.
Thank you for your continued Cardmembership.

American Express Customer Service Card



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