Literate scam artist

Pretty much everyone on the planet that is both literate and has an Internet connection has purchased something from Amazon. And if you purchase something from Amazon, there is an excellent chance you have a valid, active credit card.

Having a credit card, in turn, makes you a valuable target of Internet scam artists. Internet scams now rake in more money than bank robberies, and they do so without the risk of being shot and killed committing the crime. The conviction rate for Internet scams is also lower. And if you are going to commit an Internet crime, you might as well pick a big, juicy target.

Like Amazon. But not Amazon the company, since Amazon itself plays no role in the scam. Instead, the scam victim receives a message that appears to be from Amazon, and in fact several of the links in the message point back to Amazon:

Your Amazon order that you never ordered comes to $82.99, and includes an $80 Kindle book.

Your Amazon order that you never ordered comes to $82.99, and includes an $80 Kindle book that normally sells for $12.99 and a $2.99 gift certificate, clearly for someone you don't care about.

The links that point to Amazon: at the top, in the Order Information section plus the Learn More link on the same line, in the Oder summary section, the book title, the advertisements across the bottom, and the bolded at the bottom.

The links that work and point to scum bag scammers: Your Account at the top, and Your Account at the bottom. Click on these, and you’ll be prompted with an Amazon-appearing page that requests your name and password.

And that’s it: you’ve now provided the scammers with a name and password tied to an active credit card. Using this information — and nothing more — the scammers can log into Amazon and spend your money buying gift certificates for themselves and others, or pots and pans, or almost anything else Amazon sells.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

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