Unexpected Cash: Is your Amazon Credit Phishy?

March 27, 2014

Amazon customers woke up this week to emails that one would normally expect to be phishy: notifications that a credit had been deposited back onto their accounts.  People who purchased ebooks from the e-commerce giant for their Kindles were given a credit of $3.17 per New York Times bestseller and $0.73 for other books.  The case claimed that five major publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin – as well as Apple colluded to artificially inflate the price of ebooks.  Only the publishers have agreed to a settle, while Apple continues to fight the case.  While Amazon is distributing the settlement money, the company is maintaining that it is “not a party to the lawsuit,” meaning that Amazon itself was not sued.

How can you know if you are subject to receive a credit?  If you bought a Kindle book from any of the five publishers between April 1st, 2010 and May 21st 2012, the credit will appear automatically and will be eligible toward new book purchases from any Amazon publisher.  If you believe you may have missed an email from Amazon regarding your potential credit, login to your Amazon account and check your balance.

BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties is urging consumers to be wary during this time; as is the case with any high-profile marketplace transaction, consumers are subject to receiving phishing emails purporting to come from Amazon.  The following are red flags that your “credit” may be a scam:

  • Look for errors:  Phishing emails are often laden with grammatical and spelling errors.  See something that doesn’t look or sound right? Press delete.
  • Suspicious links:  Phishing emails will often contain links disguised as one URL, but direct to another.  How can you spot a phishy link?  Using your mouse icon, hover over the link in the email; this will show the true destination of a link.  Clicking on a link in a phishing email will often download malware on your computer and steal personal information.
  • Request for personal information:  When an email asks you to submit any personally identifying information (such as your social security number, bank account or credit card information, etc.), it is a big red flag of a scam.  Never click on a link or reply to an email and provide this information.

Remember, if you are eligible to receive an Amazon credit, you do not have to click on a link, call a number, or open an attachment to receive it – your account will be automatically credited.  Have a question about whether the email you received is legitimate?  Call us at 858-496-2131!

Below is a sample of the Amazon email being sent to customers eligible for a credit.