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Amazon account verification ?

The following e-mail arrived. Appears to be a message from Amazon, but on closer examination it's not what it seems. It had us fooled for at least 20 seconds. This is rare, as usually these things are uncovered much quicker than that!

----- Original Message -----
From: Amazon.com, Inc
To: [address harvested from
Circular Newsletter Sign-Up Page]
Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 11:04 PM
Subject: Maintaining the trust of our customers !!!

Dear Customer,

- Due to recent account takeovers and unauthorized listings, Amazon is requesting a new account verification procedure. From time to time, randomly selected accounts (seller and/or buyer)are placed under an advanced updating process based on merchant accounts/bank relationsand on-file credit cards. Amazon may also request in an email message scanned/faxed copies of one or more photo ID's. Your account confirmation may go wrong if your credit card/bank account has expired, or if you have changed/replaced your credit card without letting us know about the change.

  • Your account is not suspended, but if in 36 hours after you receive this message your account is not confirmed we reserve the right to terminate your Amazon subscription.
  • If you received this notice and you are not an authorized Amazon account holder, please be aware that it is in violation of Amazon policy to represent oneself as an Amazon user. Such action may also be in violation of local, national, and/or international law.

To confirm your identity with us click HERE

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you and we would like to thank you for your cooperation as we review this matter.

Amazon.com, Inc.

Copyright 2007 Amazon.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

Amazon sent this e-mail to you because your Notification Preferences indicate that you want to receive information about Special Events & Promotions.Amazon will request personal data (password, credit card/bank numbers) only on our home site, wich is securely incrypted with SLL.

It is of course a hoax! Amazon did not send the message. The truth is it's a phishing attack, and if you get fooled by these things you can end up being victim to identity theft. Usually this happens with bank hoax messages, where the senders pretend to be your bank, and then they try to get you to "verify" your identity, thus disclosing it.

Incidentally, you can see the senders' first language is not English. There are some interesting mistakes in the language used in the message, mistakes which the Amazon book company would not make. Nevertheless it is quite convincing, with the stolen logo at the top, and various scary nonsense about security and copyright. I think the hoaxers let themselves down towards the end of the message with "...wich is securely incrypted in SLL"!

The actual Amazon company wouldn't ask you for photo IDs, and they'd also not say "Dear Customer" as they would know your name! If you've been fooled into sending the spoof site any photos of yourself and other security information, you may have to do some chasing about to warn people that your security has been compromised. If people try to pass themselves off as you, they could then get caught!

In the original hoax message on the bit that said "To confirm your identity with us click HERE", the link went to a .nl (Dutch) site. In the carefully stuffed and mounted version on this page I have replaced it with a link to one of my other pages, obviously!

If you'd like to visit the real Amazon company, you are welcome to go via my Amazon page. I'm not the real Amazon company either, but I am on their affiliate program. So at least you can get to the official site from there. Visit Amazon here. Or, if you'd like to see some more hoaxes you can have a look at the Yahoo Screensaver or the Microsoft critical patch update or any number of messages pretending to be from your bank

This type of thing, hoax messages, can be a problem, but not so much if you have some good sense about it.