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Common Gift Card Scams

There are a variety of scams that ask people to make payments by email, phone, or text for items or services. Fraudsters use many methods to conduct scams, including requesting gift cards from well-known brands. We want to ensure that our customers are aware of scams that may request payment using Amazon.co.uk Gift Cards.

It's important for you to know that Amazon Gift Cards can ONLY be used for purchases online at Amazon.co.uk. You should only purchase Amazon Gift Cards on our website (https://www.amazon.co.uk), and from authorised retailers.

Do NOT provide the details on the back of the gift card (claim code) or codes received via e-mail for electronic certificates to someone you do not know or trust. Once a claim code is provided to a fraudster, the funds on the card will likely be spent before you are able to contact law enforcement or Amazon.

If you believe you are the victim of fraud or a scam:

Tips to avoid being the victim of a scam

  • DO NOT respond to an Internet listing or unsolicited e-mail or phone offer that you feel is too good to be true. It most likely is to good to be true.
  • DO NOT share Amazon Gift Card claim codes or send money - in the form of physical cash, cashiers cheque, wire transfer, Western Union, PayPal, MoneyGram, or any other means - to any person claiming to be an authorised agent of Amazon or Amazon Pay seeking payment.
  • DO NOT make a payment to a seller who claims that Amazon or Amazon Pay will guarantee a transaction made outside of Amazon.co.uk, will hold your funds in escrow during an inspection period, or refund your money if you are not satisfied with a purchase that you made offline.
  • DO NOT use an Amazon Gift Card to pay for anything over the phone or e-mail, including bills or services (e.g., TV, utilities, legal services, taxes).
  • DO NOT use an Amazon Gift Card in connection with claiming lottery or prize winnings, on the promise of receiving a large amount of money, or in exchange for a "guaranteed" a credit card or loan. If someone requires payment in the form of Amazon Gift Cards in exchange for a large sum of money or a guaranteed payment method, you can be confident it's a scam.

COMMON SCAMS THAT MAY INVOLVE GIFT CARDS

COVID-19 Scams

You receive an unexpected/unsolicited email or text message from your boss, religious leader, teacher or a leader in an organisation 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.

Always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and demands money quickly. We suggest you immediately try to contact the person requesting the Gift Cards directly using a phone number/email that you know is theirs.

Vehicle purchase scams

You find a cheap vehicle (e.g., car, camper, or other high-value item) online, and the seller claims that for your protection the purchase will be completed via Amazon Pay or another “safe” way to pay. The price of the item is "too good to be true" and the seller claims a need to sell the car quickly because they are moving out of the area / county, being called for military service, getting a divorce, etc. Emails and invoices often include unauthorised use of the Amazon logo and trademarks, and may contain other typos or grammatical errors. You are instructed to make a payment using Amazon Gift Cards, or another form of payment (e.g., Western Union, MoneyGram, or bank transfer).

This is a scam. Amazon does not sell vehicles, and Amazon Gift Cards should not be used to make payments to other business or individuals.

Making payments to strangers scams

You receive an unsolicited e-mail or phone call from an individual claiming to be a solicitor, from the police, or other representative for a grandson, niece or other family member in distress who needs your help right away. Some callers attempt to impersonate the family member directly. Often the victim is told their family member has been imprisoned or detained, and a payment must be made for their release, fines, etc. Victims are instructed to purchase Amazon Gift Cards and provide the codes by phone or email. In other cases, victims are told their computer files or internet viewing activity has been captured, and to recover the files, a payment must be made using Amazon Gift Cards.

These are scams. Amazon Gift Cards can only be used on Amazon.co.uk, and should not be used to make payments to other businesses or individuals. If you get a call from a relative in trouble, we suggest to hang up and try to contact that person on a number that you know is really theirs. You should always be suspicious of anyone that contacts you and demands money quickly.

Utility billing scams

You receive an unsolicited email or phone call from an individual claiming to be a representative from a utility company (for example gas, telephone or electricity), who advertises a promotional savings opportunity for a reduced monthly payment, as long as you pay upfront with an Amazon Gift Card. Often these callers appear to have information about your services and use spoofing technology to make the contact phone number appear legitimate.

This is a scam. Amazon Gift Cards can only be used on Amazon.co.uk, and should not be used to make payments to other businesses or individuals. Valid promotional offers will not require you to send an Amazon Gift Card to an unknown individual.

Bill payment scams

You receive an unsolicited email or phone call from an individual claiming be a representative from a utility company or other company, who claims you owe a past due amount but can make a payment with an Amazon Gift Card.

This is a scam. Amazon Gift Cards can only be used on Amazon.co.uk, and should not be used to make payments to other businesses or individuals.

Tax refunds / Tax penalty scams

You receive an unsolicited email or phone call from an individual claiming be a representative from a government tax agency, who claims you owe a past due amount but can make a payment with an Amazon Gift Card; or that you are owed a refund, but must first make a payment with an Amazon Gift Card.

This is a scam. Amazon Gift Cards can only be used on Amazon.co.uk, and should not be used to make payments to other businesses or individuals.

Free Amazon.co.uk Voucher / Coupon' Scam

You see links shared on social media offering free Amazon.co.uk vouchers / coupons. Users are invited to click on certain links to allegedly unlock significant discounts or receive free shopping on Amazon.co.uk. Users are then asked for their personal or financial details.

This is a scam and these vouchers are not related to Amazon.co.uk Gift Cards and cannot be used for purchases on Amazon.co.uk. Customers are advised not to click on any suspicious links or promotions advertised on social media unless they can verify their source. If in doubt, please get in touch with the Amazon.co.uk Customer Service.

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.

Other Resources

If you need advice or wish to report problems with goods or services, bought from a trader based in the UK, the appropriate advice agency is the Citizens Advice Consumer Service which can be contacted on 03454 04 05 06. Most local authority trading standards services do not have consumer help lines and can only be contacted by telephone through the consumer helpline above.

Please note that if you need advice on a problem with goods or services bought outside the UK, you need to contact the UK European Consumer Centre. The centre can be contacted by phone on 01268 886690, or by email at ecc@tsi.org.uk. Telephone lines are open from Monday to Friday 09:00am to 5:00pm (closed bank and public holidays). More information is available on its website www.ukecc.net.

Alternatively, you can report a fraud to Action Fraud by using their online fraud reporting tool (http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-a-fraud-including-online-crime-questions), or by speaking to their specialist fraud advisers on 0300 123 2040.

For more information on other payment scams, click on the link below:

AVOID PAYMENT SCAMS

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