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Cyber criminals are targeting online shoppers during the festive period with a nasty new Amazon gift card scam which can infect devices and leave customers vulnerable to being hacked. With millions of us stuck at home due to the current lockdowns, gift cards are clearly the perfect way to send presents to friends and family online and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by cyber thieves.
A new campaign, which has been discovered by the team at Cybereason, is targeting users across Europe and the US. The security firm says it has spotted a spoof email which has been dropping into hundreds of thousands of inboxes.
The officially looking email suggests that consumers have been given a free $100 gift card from Amazon. The note, which even includes Amazon branding and an order number, reads, “We are delighted to enclose a $100 Amazon gift card as our way of saying Thank You.”
Once the message has been opened and clicked, it automatically downloads malicious documents including a Microsoft Word document and screensaver files which then set about infecting the unsuspecting user’s device.
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To put consumers off the scent that anything is wrong, after the user downloads the prompted file, they are even redirected to Amazon’s legitimate webpage, thus gaining more credibility and making it appear that the email is real.
Speaking about the attack the team at Cybereason said: “Both cybercriminals and nation-state threat actors alike find and exploit trending circumstances in order to leverage a given situation to infect unsuspecting victims, such as the holiday season, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or both of them combined.
“Similar themes leveraging gift card giveaways and other offerings are not new in the cybercrime landscape, and will most likely to continue to be applied in the future. It is up to the user to be aware of such campaigns and to apply the relevant counter measures.”
This latest attack isn’t anything new with gift cards already a well-known form of targeting consumers.
In a post on its website, Amazon confirms that it is aware of these types of attacks.
“There are a variety of scams that ask people to make payments via email, phone or text for items or services such as vehicles, taxes, debt collection and utility bills, the online retailer states.
“Fraudsters use many methods to conduct scams, including requesting gift cards from well-known brands for payment. We want to make sure our customers are aware of scams that may request payment using Amazon Gift Cards.”
If you get a gift card and are concerned that it’s real, check with the friend or family member who sent it to verify that it’s not a scam.
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