Why the “Amazon Token” advertised on Facebook sure looks like a scam

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This ad for “Amazon Token” on Facebook intrigued me. Is that Jeff Bezos pitching me a cryptocurrency? So I clicked through.

What I found is a slick, well produced, seductive website . . . that I’m pretty sure has nothing to do with Amazon. They’ll be happy to take your crypto money — in the form of Bitcoin or Ethereum — but what you’ll get sure seems like nothing but vapor.

Perfect timing for an Amazon Crypto scam

In July, reports surfaced that Amazon was planning to announce a digital currency. So crypto watchers were poised for an announcement like this.

And if you click through on the ad, here’s what you see:

If you are ready to plunge forward with anything cryptocurrency, this looks inviting. After all, it clearly has the backing of Jeff Bezos, with the Amazon logo and his picture right there.

But if you are at all suspicious, there are clues that this might not be legit.

Why is the URL a subdomain of “orders-presale.finance,” rather than an Amazon domain?

Why was there no official press release or news coverage from Amazon? Would they really be advertising a product on Facebook that they hadn’t yet announced?

More clues that should make you nervous

This scam, if that’s what it is, has an excellent website. It really looks legit. Here are a few samples of what you’d see by scrolling down. Notice the subtle clues that the opportunity is limited so you’d better act now.

The last picture includes a clue that there’s a problem here: the language. I can’t imagine a legitimate Amazon site saying something quite as meaningless as “everything is secure and robust.” This isn’t the usual marketing bullshit, it’s just garden-variety super-vague writing.

And here the suspicious reader finds other clues. There’s this misspelling of token and more breathless language:

There’s this page which promises serious documents, but they’re actually just graphics that don’t lead to anything.

And at the bottom, there’s this seemingly normal boilerplate — except that the social media icons don’t actually link to any social media accounts.

I checked a few URLs and domains. Amazontoken.com redirects to Amazon.com, but it’s the home page, rather than a page about tokens. And Amazontoken.app goes nowhere. A Whois search reveals that both of those domains are registered with privacy on, so you can get no information about who actually owns them.

Crypto is a scammy place. Beware, or you’ll lose your money.

You shouldn’t invest anything in crypto that you can’t afford to lose. It has no real-world support, and any cryptocurrency could drop to zero for any reason at any time.

In this case, though, who knows what you’re buying? If you invest in this site, you’ll pay real money for Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency and trade it for an “Amazon Token” where the only connection with Amazon is photos of Jeff Bezos pasted into the site.

Facebook should have caught this, since the ad was clearly placed by somebody pretending to have an Amazon connection.

If you are tempted by offers like this, do your own investigation. Look for typos and grammatical errors. Search to see if there’s been an announcement. Try to find links from the referenced company (in this case, Amazon) out to the purported site. (Anyone can link into a site like Amazon, but only Amazon can link out from it.)

If it’s not legit, you’ll find clues like these. And if you ignore them and get scammed, you’ll be angry at yourself — and you ought to be.

I won’t be posting a link to the site. And shockingly, in the time it took me write this blog post, the advertiser’s Facebook account has been suspended. I wonder why?

7 responses to “Why the “Amazon Token” advertised on Facebook sure looks like a scam

  1. I love how you dissect the scam, pointing out the clues that indicate it is in fact a scam. I often receive scam emails and am tipped off by two things: the lack of a real logo, and misspelled words. I will be sharing your post on my social media channels and hope that others will be warned off of this scam.

    1. Yep A friend of mine came to me with this and I fell for it. Didn’t lose a ton but enough for a few days work. The link to this site has vanished. It seemed so legit with the way it was set up and mimicked the popular sights for buying crypto. Overall, I learned my lesson and now know what to look for in the future.

      1. I can’t believe I fell for it as well. Donated 1500 to these scums. They called me with whatsapp asking me if I wanted to buy more for 30% off and immediately I knew it was all fraud. FML. I’m guessing there’s nothing that can be done to get my money back? Why would facebook allow this advertisement. Facebook should be held liable.

  2. Note also that the domain orders-presale.finance was set up via NameCheap. A company the size of Amazon doesn’t use a spam friendly cheap domain system and nameserver. They in fact use the Dyn toolset, which they acquired a few years ago, as one of the few that can support their scale. A lookup on amazon.com reveals that their legit sites are completely above-board with fully public contact info and Dyn as their nameserver, with a fallback to UltraDNS. Scams rarely spend real money for top grade hosting.

    Few companies selling anything of value are at NameCheap, which is notorious for their unwillingness to clamp down on crooked schemes using their tools and network. See https://circleid.com/posts/20200312-namecheap-eff-and-the-dangerous-internet-wild-west for an example

  3. If one didn’t look closely, they might miss how the Amazon smile logo (top left in the blue footer) was extended to include the word “token”, but the font is rather different than the original logo.

    These guys couldn’t even be bothered to find the Amazon branding brief. (Could it be Frutiger 47 Condensed?).

  4. Also if you read some of their body text, they refer to Amazon as a social media company. Not quite. But it does make me suspect that this is boilerplate from when Facebook announced Libra and to jump on any other social companies that try to jump into the crypto game

  5. Yup, we fell for it too. Not a ton invested – only about $1500 worth but still money I wished we hadn’t lost. Was clued in that something wasn’t right when I emailed their ‘contact’ link and email said it could not be delivered.

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