Amazon’s spat with Visa

By | November 22, 2021

Today I want to talk about an email that you might have received last week from Amazon, and let you know how you can protect yourself when you get any suspicious-looking emails.

You might have read in the news that the online shopping giant Amazon has said it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards for payments from the 19th January 2022. This has all come about because Amazon isn’t happy with Visa and the high card processing fees it’s being charged. (The BBC have covered the story in this article if you haven’t seen it: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59306200)

Visa is working on getting Amazon to change its mind, but meanwhile Amazon has been sending emails to all its customers (whether they have an Amazon Prime subscription, or just a basic account for the occasional purchase) informing them of the change and asking them to update their payment method if necessary. For anyone who usually pays with a Visa credit card, there’s also a financial incentive – £20 for Prime customers and £10 for everyone else.

My concern isn’t really anything to do with this showdown (although you will need to act if you usually pay by Visa credit card).
I’m writing today as I expect most people who received Amazon’s email may have dismissed it as a scam, as Claire who works here almost did!

Although you can expect a genuine email from Amazon about this, it wouldn’t surprise me if criminals take advantage soon and send similar-looking emails urging you to click on a link to update your card details, or to access financial incentives. Scammers are very good at copying the logos and format of genuine emails, and by acting as Amazon, they could easily convince lots of unsuspecting people to hand over their card details.

So here’s a few tips to avoid being caught out, either by this or any other dodgy-looking emails:

  • If in any doubt at all, don’t click on any links in the email, especially if they ask you to enter your card details.
  • Instead, open up a new web browser window (such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome) and go to the website of the company that the email is supposed to be from by typing the address into the address bar (e.g. www.amazon.co.uk). Then log in to your account.
  • In this case, if you log into your Amazon account, the message about Visa credit cards will be in your Amazon account Message Centre, so you know it really is genuine, and you can act on it from within the secure website rather than through a link sent in an email.
  • If there’s no message waiting for you, but you’re still worried about whether you need to take any action, you can try getting in touch with the customer services department for that company to ask them. 

In this case the only action you would need to take is to change your payment method if you pay by Visa credit card. If that doesn’t apply to you, you can safely ignore and delete the emails from Amazon, whether they’re genuine or fake!

If you’re pretty sure that an email you receive IS a scam, then before you delete it, you can report it to help crack down on scammers. In the UK, you can report a suspected scam email to Action Fraud by forwarding the email to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at this email address: [email protected] Then delete it from your inbox.

That’s it from me for this week.

Yours
Julie Wakeling

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