We want to make sure you are aware of common scams that may include asking for payment using Amazon Gift Cards or gift card brands sold on Amazon. While the specifics of the scams vary, scammers generally follow a common pattern: they connect with a victim by phone, email, through social media, or online; they create a sense of urgency (for example: by offering a great price or mentioning a personal hardship or emergency); they ask for payment using gift cards; and they instruct the victim to purchase gift cards online or at a nearby store. The scammer then demands or instructs the victim to provide the claim code on the gift card by phone, text message, or email – and then disappears. Here are a few reminders to help stay safe online:
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To learn more about common gift card scams, visit FTC.gov/giftcards. To file a complaint, visit https://ftccomplaintassistant.gov, call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, D.C. 20580
If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, or you want to find information on where to report in locations outside the United States, visit http://www.econsumer.gov.
If you believe you have fallen victim to or been exposed to a scam, contact us to connect with a member of our Customer Protection Review team.
Please note, in order for us to best assist you, we require that you sign-in to your Amazon account, or sign-up for an Amazon account if you do not have one already.
COVID-19 Scams You receive an unexpected/unsolicited email or text message from your boss, pastor, professor or a leader in an organization you are involved in requesting that you purchase Amazon Gift Cards and send the cards or the claim codes to a specific person to assist in COVID-19 treatments or efforts. We suggest you immediately try to contact the person requesting the Gift Cards directly using a phone number/email that you know is theirs. Always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and demands money quickly.
Social Security or Identity Theft Scams You receive an unexpected phone call or unsolicited email about a “problem” with your Social Security number, account, or benefits that you need to resolve immediately, or you will face arrest or other legal action. Or, the scammer says you have to make a payment to receive assistance for an identity theft issue or in exchange for a Social Security benefit increase. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration—or any another government agency—and they want you to pay a fine or fee using gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers, cash, or internet currency, it is a scam. Hang up and report it to the Social Security Office of the Inspector General online at https://oig.ssa.gov
Job offer scams You receive an unexpected phone call suggesting you apply for an Amazon job where you can work from home. You may be told that you can work your own hours, and make thousands of dollars a month. Once the scammer informs you that you’ve received a job offer, they may request that you pay a start-up fee or purchase a starter kit with Amazon.com Gift Cards. We recommend that you do not respond to employment opportunities from cold-callers, over email, or on websites claiming to be affiliated with Amazon. Any Amazon job opportunities will be posted on Amazon.com/jobs, and will not require you to purchase equipment or pay any initiation fees.
Fake Online Listings Scam You find an item advertised online such as concert or event tickets, a vehicle, pet, or rental property and are instructed to make a payment using Amazon.com or other branded gift cards sold on Amazon, and provide your claim codes via email or phone. The item is often priced far below market value and the seller may claim they need to sell the item quickly because of a life event that creates a sense of urgency, such as moving, divorce, death of a loved one, or military deployment. The scammer also may claim that following a payment for the goods, you will receive the item and may even send a fake receipt. Note: A legitimate transaction with an Amazon.com seller can only be completed through our checkout page and will never occur off Amazon.com. Always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and demands money quickly; no legitimate seller would require you to pay for the item in gift cards. Amazon gift cards should never be used as payment for goods or services purchased off Amazon.com.
Boss Scams You receive an unexpected/unsolicited email or text message from your boss or a leader in an organization you are involved in requesting that you purchase Amazon Gift Cards and send the cards or the claim codes to that person. Typically, the message will say that the gift cards will be used for some purpose within the company (e.g., employee incentives, client appreciation, charitable donations). The scammer may claim they are out of town, in a conference call, or otherwise engaged and that is why they need you to make the purchase for them. We suggest you immediately try to contact your boss or the leaders of your organization directly using a phone number/email that you know is theirs. Always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and demands money quickly.
Unsolicited phone call claiming to be Amazon Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they’re someone who can be trusted. The practice is called “caller ID spoofing,” and scammers can fake anyone’s phone number. You may receive an unsolicited call from someone stating they are a member of Amazon Customer Service. They may say your account is frozen and you need to purchase Amazon.com or other branded gift cards and provide the claim codes over the phone in order to remove the freeze on your account. Other things they might ask for are your Amazon password, full credit card ID or bank account number. Amazon will never call you to ask you to purchase gift cards to unlock your account or ask you to provide sensitive personal information like your social security number, tax ID, bank account number, credit card information, or Amazon account related information like your mother's maiden name or your password.
Family emergency scams You receive an unexpected phone call or unsolicited email from an individual claiming to be a lawyer, law enforcement agent, hospital employee, or other representative for a family member in distress who needs your immediate financial help. Some callers may even try to impersonate your family member or friend. You may be instructed to purchase Amazon gift cards or another gift card brand sold on Amazon to resolve the situation.
We suggest trying to immediately contact your family member directly using a phone number that you know is theirs, or contact another relative who can assist you. Always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and demands money quickly.
Unpaid debt and tax scams You receive an unexpected phone call or unsolicited email to make a payment for taxes, fines, bail money, utility bills, or other unexpected fees. The scammer may claim you owe a past due amount as a result of miscalculation of your taxes; or the scammer may claim that you are owed a tax refund, prize, or rebate but must first make a payment for administrative fees with a gift card. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, you should never give out personal information. Report the call to the IRS using their "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" web page or by calling the IRS at 800-366-4484.
Email or Text Scams If you receive an email or text indicating that you have been given an Amazon gift card, take steps to verify that it is from Amazon. Customers can send gift cards via text message. A text message gift card from Amazon will be from this number: 455-72.
Here is an example of how a text message will appear:
From: Jane Doe - Happy Birthday to you! - https://www.amazon.com/g/EXAMPLECLAIMCODE
Also see additional information on verifying communications that indicate they come from Amazon on this page.
Fake Survey Scams You come across a website that claims to offer Amazon Gift Cards in exchange for multiple survey responses and asks for personal information such as your credit card number, social security account information, or banking information. While some third party entities are authorized to distribute Amazon gift cards in exchange for survey responses, these surveys will never ask you for this type of personal information. Always be suspicious of websites you are not familiar with that contact you for survey responses. Unfortunately, the websites behind these surveys work to obtain customer information for the purposes of identity theft, and are unable to provide gift cards. Legitimate distributors will never ask you for personal information, they will focus on your experience with their product or service and collect only the minimal information needed to provide you with your card, typically your email address.