Amazon Files Lawsuit Over Scam Text Messages

Cracking down on an affiliate marketing scheme

Amazon announced a lawsuit against spammers on Tuesday, cracking down on scam text messages claiming to be from the online retailer. 

According to Amazon’s official complaint obtained by The Verge, the scammers actively use Amazon’s trademarks and brand to deceive victims through text message survey links. Those who click the link are offered the chance to claim a "reward." However, the reward link takes victims to an advertiser’s website, where they can purchase products with no relation to Amazon. 

Amazon shopping logo

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Amazon said in the complaint that the defendants are liable to the tech giant for trademark infringement, false designation of origin and association, and false advertising.

"Amazon works hard to build a great, trusted experience for our customers and sellers. These bad actors are misusing our brand to deceive the public and we will hold them accountable," Kathy Sheehan, vice president of business conduct & ethics at Amazon, said in the announcement about the lawsuit

"We also want to remind consumers to be vigilant and learn how to recognize the signs of a scam so they are protected, no matter where they shop."

Right now, Amazon does not know exactly who the individuals or entities are that are sending these scam messages. The company is suing 50 "John Does," which The Verge reports could result in a subpoena to unmask their unknown identities. 

While the lawsuit focuses on Amazon and its frustrations with entities using its likeness, the complaint does not mention anything about the victims...

The complaint states that Amazon wants the unknown defendants to pay the company all profits earned from the scam, as well as its actual and treble damages.

While the lawsuit focuses on Amazon and its frustrations with entities using its likeness, the complaint does not mention anything about the victims who received these text messages or were duped into buying a fake Amazon product. For people who received these text messages, it's more of a nuisance than their information being compromised.

Amazon said that in general, with these cases, it’s not about information, but the links that take consumers to fake-branded non-Amazon sites, mostly to drive traffic to other sites that sell products.

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