Scammers have found a new way to steal information from online users. However, the old ways of sneaking around the internet in hopes of staying in the shadows are long gone. Now they just ask you. Not as themselves, but as one of the largest corporations in the world, Amazon.
The act of impersonating a business, organization, or even another user to steal personal information like Social Security numbers, credit card information, name, address, bank information, etc. is called phishing. Phishing is very illegal, although very effective. People tend to put a lot of trust into the companies they use regularly, and are not shy about sharing their information with them.
The latest phishing attempt is from a group of scammers that send out emails as Amazon, asking their “customers” to give them their account information, banking details, and personal information to “regain” their account, that has been supposedly locked.
When the user fills out the information in the email, and clicks “Update Now,” the user is then redirected to the legitimate Amazon website, thus solidifying the illusion that the email was from the company.
There a few things you can do to guard against these scammers.
- Keep an eye out for shortened links Scammers use shortened links to hide their fraudulent site links. Shortened links used by scammers are often bit.ly links.
- Watch for spelling and grammar mistakes. Many scammers behind phishing emails are not from English-speaking countries, and often their emails contain grammar mistakes, or words with major grammar errors.
- Deadlines are usually avoided by large companies. Large businesses do not like to put pressure on their customers. If an email is urging you to complete an action “in the next 24 hours” or “As soon as possible,” or threaten you with fines, they most likely are not legitimate claims.
- NEVER give your personal information over email. If a trusted company needs your information, make sure to go to the website yourself, in a new window, and enter the information in the main company site. Entering private or financial information in the body of an email is never a good idea, even to trusted sources.