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?