Rachel Bashford
Rachel Bashford
Consumer Expert

Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 as an exclusive annual online event in July for Prime members to access discounted products. But along with these opportunities for bargains, fraudsters have also found ways to dupe consumers with Amazon scams. This shows that while online shopping events offer great deals, they also come with certain risks.

As of June 2024, there are over 78,730 online reviews, with a 3-star rating about Amazon on the PissedConsumer platform. Almost 8,500 of them about Amazon Prime.

Key Insights

  • In 2023, Prime Day sales reached $12 billion, which is the most successful shopping event in Amazon’s history. 
  • Shoppers should be aware that there are fake retail sites impersonating Amazon, with 897 fake Amazon sites active on Prime Day 2022. 
  • Delivery scams, phishing emails, and gift card scams are common examples of fraud on Amazon Prime Day. 

Watch Out for These Amazon Prime Day Signs of Fraud

Amazon Prime Day scams take various forms, and fraudsters use different tactics. However, some common features can help you identify fraud. 

To protect yourself while shopping on Amazon, watch out for these telltale scam signs:

  • Money requests

If someone asks you to pay money over email or phone to resolve a customer issue, think twice, as Amazon reports they never ask for money like this. 

  • Gift cards

You may be asked to pay someone entirely on a gift card. This is a red flag as gift cards are easy to redeem and hard to trace, making them a favorite tool of scammers. Amazon won’t ask you to pay on a gift card.

  • Urgent messages

Scammers pressurize shoppers with limited time frames or a loss of money. They may ask you to click links to share personal information, which Amazon would not. 

If you encounter a problem, you should first contact Amazon customer service. Don’t be afraid to ask any Amazon questions you have as it can help in better understanding your issue and offering necessary steps to resolve it.

Common Types of Amazon Prime Day Scams and Ways to Avoid Them

Now that you know about the telltale signs of scams, ensure you will not become one of the exploited buyers. 

Here are some common examples of Amazon Prime Day scams and how to avoid them.

Prime Membership Scam

Prime membership scams are used to steal Amazon members' personal and financial information. In such fraudulent schemes, scammers pose as representatives of Amazon Prime services with the help of fake emails, messages, or websites meant to deceive victims into clicking on malicious links or providing sensitive data.

For instance, one Reddit user faced this type of scam. They received a fake email, claiming their membership had expired. Scammers tried to convince a consumer to get a free subscription in one click.

Prime Membership Scam - RedditSource: reddit.com

In this email, fraudsters misspelled the word “Amazon” and printed it as “Amazn.” It also contains a Prime video logo instead of the regular Prime logo. Finally, you should be careful with the tempting promises of “free subscription approval,” especially if you have already subscribed to the service. Besides, as the reviewer writes in the post, it has false information about the expiration: “my actual subscription actually expires in like February, and it auto-renews.”

How to avoid: Always verify the source of any communication, steer clear of suspicious links, and if you have any concerns, reach out to the service directly through official channels.

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that look like they are from Amazon but are designed to get you to share personal information. This could be telling you your account is locked and to click on a link and share your personal data, like below:

Phishing Emails on Amazon Prime Day - FacebookSource: Facebook.com

How to avoid: A good rule of thumb is that Amazon will never ask for personal information over email.

Lookalike Websites

In the run-up to Amazon Prime Day, scammers create fake Amazon websites to attract you away from the authentic site. Here is an example:

Lookalike Websites on Amazon Prime DaySource: Trend Micro

How to avoid: These sites look very similar to Amazon, but check the URL, as this will help you identify a fake. The real URL is www.amazon.com, so anything even slightly different should be avoided. 

Too-Good-To-Be-True Deals

Fake Amazon sites tempt you with attractive bargains. Typically, they ask you to share your personal information so they can steal your card details or account information. 

How to avoid: It can be hard to resist an unbelievable deal, but comparing prices with trusted retailers could stop you from falling victim to such a scam. Stay safe by double-checking website URLs and looking for security indicators. 

Fake Sale

A fake Amazon sale involves scammers taking over product listings and altering details to promote a heavily discounted item. This tricks buyers into thinking they are getting a deal, such as reviewer #4783306:

Looking at Prime days deals and the kitchen set says original set price was $60.99 and it will be 40% off. When I click on the item it says its $209.99.

How to avoid: Be wary of unrealistic prices, especially when it comes to trendy items. Check the seller’s reviews and see if there are differences between the listing and the original product description. 

Unsolicited Calls

If you get a call claiming to be from an Amazon adviser asking you to share personal information or credit card details, this is unlikely to be real. Previous fraud attempts have included asking people to download software that the fraudsters will use to access your bank account. 

In review #5859789, a customer claimed they received an unsolicited call from Amazon, asking for money:

Received a call from someone from Amazon asking about a $1500.00 computer purchase going to New York. I didn't order it and she hung up on me.

How to avoid: Scammers may try to get you to confirm an order that you never placed to gain access to your information. Remember to avoid sharing any sensitive data over the phone or by email, as this is not how Amazon operates. 

Fake Order Confirmations

You receive an Amazon order confirmation, but if it doesn’t come from the amazon.com domain, then it’s definitely fake. A fake order confirmation will ask you to click a ‘track your package’ link, which could hoodwink you into sharing your personal details, like below:

Fake Order Confirmations on Amazon Prime Day - RedditSource: reddit.com

How to avoid: Never click on suspicious links, and check the domain of the site. It’s unlikely to be from Amazon, as they don’t usually contact you this way. 

Counterfeit Products

Fake sellers are undercutting authentic retailers on Amazon by pretending to sell a real product, but instead, buyers receive a lower quality item or dud. 

One of our reviewers allegedly stumbled across a fake herbs shop. In review #5743658 they claimed: 

...Those seller are not authorized seller of theVitaliZen Brand. They are selling low quality fake products from india. Please remove the unauthorized seller.

While another one bought a fake perfume as per their review #5558930:

I want to get my money back but the policy cant return…help to get my money coz I work hard to pay for the product I dont deserve the fake channel...

How to avoid: Check who is selling the product – this can be found under the ‘in stock’ statement on a product listing. Check the seller’s background to ensure they are genuine. 

Fake Reviews

Scammers know that Amazon reviews can give them a brand presence, and producing fake reviews is big business. Such fraudulent reviews trick unsuspecting buyers into believing an inferior item they got interest in is worth their money, which undermines the trustworthiness of the platform.

How to avoid: Check a product on multiple channels to make sure it’s worth buying, as this can help you avoid being scammed. In addition, switch reviews to ‘most recent’ to see what the latest buyers say about the brand. What is more, fake reviews are generally 5-star, so look for those in the middle to gain an accurate picture. 

Social Media Ads

Amazon scammers are using social media ads to capture the attention of potential victims and get them to share details. These can be used to create fake reviews of their counterfeit goods, like the example below:

Social Media Ads on Amazon Prime Day - RedditSource: reddit.com

How to avoid: It’s always a good policy to think twice before sharing any information with social media contacts, even if you think they are genuinely linked to Amazon. The company would never contact you over social media. 

How to Report Amazon Prime Scams

If you have been a victim of an Amazon Prime scam, you can and should always report it to get justice. To improve your situation, share your consumer issues to gain some helpful advice. 

Firstly, contact Amazon to report a scam to their customer service and let them know if you have shared your account information. Secondly, if you have responded to a phishing email, you can forward it to Amazon to investigate the issue further. 

Stay Ahead of Amazon Prime Day Scams

Losing money or not getting the product you want can be frustrating. You can feel alone and in need of advice. Sharing your experiences by writing a review can help you find a solution as well as help others avoid the same pitfalls. 


Legal disclaimers:

  1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.
  2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.

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