Nothing's more frustrating than thinking you're about to get money when you really aren't. And a new Amazon refund email scam does just that — it tells people they're eligible for a refund that doesn't actually exist. If you ever come across a similar email in your inbox, whether or not it looks like it's from Amazon, there are a few precautions you should take right away.
There are some pretty immediate red flags for most users, to be sure. For reference, here's what one such email obtained by Bustle says:
This is Alice with the Amazon Registries Team, I am happy to help you today!
We have your $175.02 *refund with us for accumulation of overcharge shipping fee, please confirm we have your right payment information and we will ensure that you're reimbursed for this fee(s) within one or two business days depending on your financial institution.
First of all, if you didn't buy anything recently for the very specific price of the refund, then that should immediately set off an alarm. Additionally, this particular email seems to have come from an AOL email address, even though it claims to come from Amazon. Again, not a good sign.
It's unclear how many customers have received the emails, but one user tweeted to Amazon, "I just received an email alleging you have a refund of $175 for me. Can you please confirm this? I don't recall ordering anything."
In response to that tweet, the Amazon Help account encouraged the user to check out the company's help page, which clarifies whether you're receiving a scam email or a real one. Bustle has reached out to Amazon for additional comment.
The page reads in part,
If you received correspondence regarding an order you didn't place, it likely wasn't from Amazon.com. Send the email as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are reporting a suspicious URL, put it in the body of the email and send it to email@example.com.
Here's the link that explains further how you can notify Amazon if you think you're being scammed. So if you have received the $175 refund "offer" from Amazon, you should report the email so that the company can squash any confusion.
Amazon's security page further clarifies ways in which you can spot a fake scam email that claims to be from Amazon:
Amazon will never send you an unsolicited email that asks you to provide sensitive personal information like your social security number, tax ID, bank account number, credit card information, ID questions like your mother's maiden name or your password. If you receive a suspicious email, report it immediately.
If you did click the link on this email scam, or any other phishing scam, there are some steps you can take to ensure your personal information stays private and secure. According to the InfoSec Institute, which offers employee security awareness training, you should take these steps: first, immediately disconnect your computer from any wifi or internet connection. Then, use any virus scanning software you have, if possible. After that, you should change your username and password combo for all of the accounts you have which contain personal information.
Fake email scams happen. And until they're fully eradicated (if ever), the best thing you can do is double check the details in any email, and choose not even to open an email that looks questionable. Trusting your instincts will take you far — and you can always call the company that claims to be emailing you to double check if that information is legit.