Scam alert: Amazon gift card COVID-19 email requests


A new twist on an old scam has emerged, in which fraudsters are using the pandemic as the perfect excuse to trick people into buying them Amazon gift cards.

We’ve already exposed the fake texts and calls about the COVID-19 vaccine, sent by criminals attempting to steal personal data and card detail, but now we’ve seen fraudsters hacking into email accounts and using coronavirus isolation as a hook to target victims.

We often hear from scam victims who received a seemingly innocent email from a friend, relative or work colleague only to discover that they were communicating with a fraudster all along. 

Once an email account is hacked, criminals will try every trick in the book to make money, including sending emails to their contacts list. 

A common tactic is to ask them to buy an Amazon gift card (more often than not, as a present for a “niece”) offering a spurious reason as to why they can’t purchase this themselves – and the pandemic has given scammers the perfect excuse.

How the gift card scam works

As the recipients are likely to trust the address of the sender, they assume the request is genuine and kindly agree to purchase the gift cards. 

Now the scammer can simply ask you to share the serial numbers so that they can cash them in. 

Though the Amazon gift card scam is the one most commonly reported to Which? be cautious of any message asking you to make a purchase or divulge personal data.

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Source: Scam alert: Amazon gift card COVID-19 email requests [18 January 2021]

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