Amazon went to bat for its customers on Friday by lowering the boom on several affiliate marketing fraud schemes that targeted consumers by sending fake phone calls and emails.
In lawsuits filed in Georgia, Michigan, and Texas, Amazon said the two-step con worked like this:
The emails appeared to be Amazon-branded emails that sought to entice recipients into clicking on links.
When clicked, users were directed to other online marketers operating phony Amazon-branded surveys.
As an intermediate stop-gap, Amazon shut down the schemes detailed in the lawsuits in Georgia and Texas. In Michigan, the defendants have agreed to a court order prohibiting them from using Amazon’s brand.
Stopping schemes across the U.S.
In an entirely different scenario -- one where Amazon’s branding was used to add some muscle to the message -- Amazon stopped companies and individuals in California and Colorado dead in their tracks.
After being caught red-handed, the bad actors responsible for the emails “acknowledge Amazon’s strong interest in protecting consumers from deceptive advertising and agree(d) to refrain from using Amazon’s trademarks or brand in any internet marketing,” the company said in a statement.
Amazon isn’t immune to scams. Just last year, an Illinois-based affiliate marketer, First Impression Interactive, Inc. -- which, surprisingly, gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau -- was advertising fake work-from-home jobs with Amazon.
Beware of calls or emails from “Amazon”
Amazon reminds consumers that it does not send unsolicited emails or texts. But, it’s also aware that there’s always someone, somewhere trying to bank off its good name. If you ever receive an email or a call from someone saying they’re from Amazon, the company asks customers to report it here.
“Amazon has no tolerance for schemes fraudulently using our brand, and we are appalled at these bad actors’ attempts to deceive our customers,” said an Amazon spokesperson. “We are advocating for customers by holding these bad actors accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”