Action Fraud has warned about a spike in cyber criminals targeting Amazon shoppers during its Black Friday sales. It tweeted a report yesterday, which revealed that criminals are sending spam emails claiming to be from Amazon. The subject line says there is some sort of problem with an order, including a hoax that says: "Your Amazon.com order cannot be shipped".
If you open the email, it tells you that there's an issue with processing your order, which means it cannot be sent out. It also claims that as a result of this 'issue' you can't access your account or place any additional orders until you have confirmed your information. It then provides a link which it says will take you to a form where you can complete your information.
All of this is, of course, false. It's a phishing scam. There's nothing wrong with your account, it has just sent our millions of emails in the hope that it will reach your inbox just after you have made a purchase from Amazon.
If you fall for the lie, click the link, and input your information, you are feeding all your account details direct to the scammers, and providing everything they need to hijack your Amazon account and go shopping. The form also asks for your credit card details, so they can then charge whatever they want to your credit card - on any website they fancy. They also have enough details to steal your identity.
If you receive an email like this, it's always best to work from the assumption it is fake. Ideally don't open the email at all, just report it to Amazon and delete it.
Amazon has said that as a general rule it will never send you an email asking you to reveal sensitive information. It won't, for example, ask for your Amazon password, your bank account number, credit card number or PIN. It won't ask for the answers to common security questions either - like your mother's maiden name.
There are occasionally issues where orders cannot be completed because the retailer has pulled the item, or where Amazon has tried to charge your card and the payment has been refused, so it will email you to alert you to a problem.
However, the way to address these is directly inside your Amazon account, and not through any email link. Close the email, open a new tab on your browser, and go direct to your Amazon account by typing Amazon.co.uk.
It's the only way to be certain you are dealing with the people you are expecting.