Everyone admires Amazon’s scope and efficiency. Scammers are no exception. Recently, they’ve been piggybacking on Amazon’s reach and excellent name to pull off a scam that’s already taken in thousands of innocent victims. The scam – also known as the “fitness watch text” or the “Apple Watch raffle scam” – involves a congratulatory text message pop-up on consumers’ phones and the fraudulent promise of a big win.
Here’s all you need to know about the Amazon watch raffle scam:
How the scam plays out
In the Amazon watch raffle scam, the target receives a text message that appears to be from Amazon and tells them they’ve won an Apple Watch, or a similar prize, such as Airpods or a Garmin Fitness watch.
The text may look like this: “Amazon: Congratulations [your name], you came in 2nd in this week’s Amazon Apple Watch raffle! Click this link to arrange delivery: t3fzv.info/7047VldUlg.”
The text appears to be sent by Amazon, and the victim, thinking they’ve just landed a big one, will happily click on the embedded link. Unfortunately, this move will lead the victim to another page where they will be asked to provide their personal information to claim the prize. Alternatively, clicking on the link may download malware onto the victim’s device. In either scenario, there is no prize waiting at the end of the rainbow.
For the informed consumer, it isn’t difficult to identify the signs of a scam.
First, it’s important to note that Amazon will never ask a consumer for their personal information, such as their Social Security number or account information, or for remote access to the consumer’s device.
Second, familiarize yourself with the red flags that can help you know when you’ve been targeted by an Amazon watch raffle scam or a similar ruse:
- The text message includes an unusual link.
- The text message promises an instant and/or large reward.
- The text message urges you to act now. If the prize is authentic, there’d be no rush.
- The text appears to be sent from Amazon, but you know you have never signed up to receive text messages from this company. In general, companies cannot send you unsolicited text messages.
- The text appears to be sent from a suspicious-looking number, such as a number that ends in “5555.”
Avoid the scam
Follow these precautions to protect yourself from becoming the next victim of the Amazon watch raffle scam.
- Never click on a link sent in a message from an unverified number. This is likely an attempt to access your personal information, or to install malware on your device.
- If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re still not sure, you can try calling the number to verify if it is legitimate.
- Never respond to suspicious-looking text messages. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it’s best not to even reply “STOP” or “NO” to messages that are likely fraudulent, as every interaction can encourage the scammer to target you further. Instead, block the number.
- If you receive a text message that appears to be sent from Amazon, update the login credentials on your Amazon account. If you’ve already clicked on the link, you may want to do a security sweep on your device for viruses and malware.
If you’re still unsure whether a text message has actually been sent by Amazon, you can check out Amazon’s scam information page here to help you verify the authenticity of the message.
Stop the scam
Do your part to stop those scammers by reporting all scam attempts to the FTC and the BBB. You can also warn your friends and family about the circulating scam.