The Amazon Gift Card Scam: What It Is and How to Protect Yourself From It

Learn how to protect yourself from this dangerous Amazon scam

The Amazon gift card scam is one of the most common gift card scams. To help you avoid this scam, it's critical to understand what it looks like and learn tips for protecting yourself online.

What Is the Amazon Gift Card Scam?

There are various types of scams that scammers attempt using Amazon gift cards. Let's discuss a few of the most common.

Purchasing an eGift card on Amazon

Online Listing Scam

Scammers may post a fake ad listing online or create a fake website advertising a car or another item for sale. To purchase the item, the scammer will request you send them Amazon gift cards as payment. Or, they may ask for the codes from the card to be sent to them via email. This is very similar to the eBay gift card scam and Walmart gift card scam.

The scammer will typically tempt you with a low offer or say they must sell the item quickly due to a life event such as moving across the country.

Phishing Email Scam

Scammers may attempt to send you an email posing as a well-known company or even your boss, also known as phishing. These phishing emails will ask you to purchase gift cards for various reasons. For example, they may act as your boss and request you purchase gift cards because they're unable to do so.

Or, they might pose as another company, also known as spoofing, and request gift cards to renew a subscription or pay for troubleshooting support.

Phone Call Scam

You may receive a phone call from a scammer claiming to be from Amazon. The scammer may tell you that your Amazon account is frozen and they need you to purchase gift cards to regain access.

Amazon Job Offer Scam

A scammer may call you and tell you that you've been offered a job with Amazon. The catch is you must pay for a starter kit or pay a start-up fee with Amazon gift cards.

How Does the Amazon Gift Card Scam Work?

Scammers will use any method necessary, whether it be a phone call or an email, to contact you. From there, they will attempt to appeal to your emotions to get you to fall for their scam.

For example, they may explain you must act fast or else you'll lose your account, lose the deal, or even run the risk of legal trouble.

Typically, scammers will ask you to purchase the gift cards and send them the codes from the back via email or over the phone. Once they have the codes, they'll drain the balance of the card immediately, running away with your cash.

How Do Gift Card Scammers Find Victims?

Anyone with a phone number or email address is susceptible to an Amazon gift card scam. Scammers purchase email addresses and phone numbers from large databases, preying on anyone who will open the email or answer the call.

How Do I Avoid Getting Involved In This Scam?

If you receive an email from someone you don't know, delete it. If you receive an email from someone such as your boss or friend and they request gift cards, reach out to them directly to confirm their request. Never assume anything online is true, as it may be an online scam.

Additionally, don't answer phone calls from numbers you don't recognize. If it's important, they'll leave a voicemail.

Remember, it's illegal for companies to ask for payment via gift card for employment or support. This is an immediate red flag.

I'm Already a Victim. What Should I Do?

If you suspect you've fallen victim to an Amazon gift card scam, you must act fast.

  • Report the scam to Amazon: Make sure you report the scam to Amazon as soon as you realize you've become a victim. You can also call Amazon directly at 1-888-280-4331.
  • Report the scam to the FTC: Reporting the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission can help protect others from becoming victims, too.
  • Alert the IC3: Report the scam to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. They'll work on your behalf to notify the correct entities such as federal, state, and local law enforcement, if applicable.
  • Consider changing your Amazon account information: If you clicked a suspicious email or gave away your Amazon account information during the transaction, immediately change your Amazon password to protect your information.

How Do I Avoid Being Targeted For The Amazon Gift Card Scam?

While anyone with a phone number or email is susceptible to these scams, there are some easy ways to protect yourself. First, don't publish your email address or phone number publicly on social media, in forums, or anywhere online.

Beyond that, delete and report suspicious emails in your inbox without opening them and don't answer phone numbers you don't recognize. It's also a great idea to block suspicious numbers so they're unable to reach you at all.