If you receive what appears to be an Amazon gift card in the mail (in your actual mailbox), exhorting you to “scratch and match” and call a number like 855-544-9400 or 855-270-6163 or another 855 number, DON’T DO IT! This scam from “PTL” is a ploy to get your personal details and then get you into a local business where you can be pressured to part with your money.
Scratch & Match Amazon Scam Gift Card in Your Mailbox
As you can see by this image of an actual ‘scratch and match’ Amazon gift card scam mailed out and received during the first week of October, 2019, it looks like a real Amazon gift card, and it looks as if it might be legitimate. And, in fact, that’s what they are banking on. That you will think “well, it could be legitimate, after all, they wouldn’t go through the trouble of mailing it if it weren’t legitimate, they would just spam my email, right?”
The psychology of this is interesting: we are so used to spam email scams that we don’t really think about postal mail scams any more, even though of course mail fraud has been around for centuries. In fact, in the late 1600s the UK appointed the first Assistant Solicitor to the General Post Office to deal with mail fraud and related crimes.
So here’s how this Amazon “scratch & match” scam works: Your numbers will match, because the entire point of this scam is to get you to call the number, which goes to a call center, and which will be answered by a telemarketer whose sole job is to get you to visit a local business who has hired this scam outfit to get people to their business.
The way they will get you to go there is to tell you that you need to go down to the local business who is “sponsoring the promotion” (often a place like a car dealership or timeshare “event” or some other high ticket, high pressure sales product), so that you can compare your number to the number on the prize board at the local location, to see what (ahem..if) you have won.
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But first they will get your name, address, email address, telephone number, and whatever other information they can out of you.
Of course, that is as valuable to the telemarketer as your walking in the door is to the local business – maybe even more so because now they have your private information to sell on a list of “guaranteed to respond to promotions like this” individuals.
So who is the scummy outfit behind this scammy promotion? Well, the back of the card says that “This promotion is sponsored solely by PTL”, and that is the only indication of who may be behind it.
Back of Amazon Gift Card Scam Mail
In fact, the fine print says to “See full Official Rules for additional eligibility restrictions, prize descriptions/restrictions/ARVs” but nowhere does it tell you where to find them. (By the way, ARV usually stands for either antiretroviral, or after repair value, neither of which we think belongs in contest rules.)
Did you receive one of these? If so, let us know, and let us know if you called, and what happened.
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