How to spot a fake gift card purchase alert

It’s in the news frequently. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies fall for it every day. It’s also nearly impossible to put an end to it once and for all. What is it? Email scams and everyone is a potential target. Criminals are aware that news of their exploits are more pervasive as ever, and they seek to prey on the fear of consumers to bypass scrutiny. Will you become their next victim?

In a recent email scam, a fraudster seeks to lure a recipient into thinking his or her account has been hacked. They hope to instill fear of loss in a target, prompting a wave of panic that will hopefully dull a potential victim’s analytical capabilities. If the scammers are successful in lowering a target’s guard, scoundrels will have an easier time launching a harmful attack against the email recipient.

Here’s an actual fraudulent email received from a scammer. In it, the sender hopes to prompt the recipient into clicking an embedded link.

Amazon gift card scam 2 copy

The first thing to do if you receive an email such as this is not to panic. Scammers feast on fear. By refusing to panic, you have the best chance at making the most informed decision regarding the email as possible. You also transform a scammer’s potential feast into famine.

Next, analyze the email for signs it’s a scam. This particular email has no personally identifiable information whatsoever. It contains no user name, account number, or type of credit card used to purchase the “gift card.” It also places a dollar symbol after the amount in the opening paragraph. That’s common in some foreign countries, but not the United States.

If you want to confirm beyond the shadow of a doubt that the email is not genuine, open a fresh page on your web browser and manually type in Never trust links provided in an email. Once you’re on the official Amazon site, check your recent transactions to see if the gift card purchase is there. Contact the company immediately if you suspect an unauthorized individual has accessed your account.

After confirming that the email is not genuine, send it to [email protected] so the company can take action to stop it.

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