If you get an email from Amazon about how they’re shipping you a replacement something or other that you didn’t ask for, that’s because somebody is using you to rip Amazon off. The good news, though, is that it’s not your fault. Amazon’s customer service reps are just apparently very eager to make customers happy.
The scam is simplicity itself: The fraudster uses your name and address (i.e. publicly available information) to get Amazon’s customer service department to fork over order numbers. Then they claim to be unhappy with their order, and could you please send the replacement to this address that has nothing whatsoever to do with the person I’m pretending to be?
Gizmodo has a full breakdown of what’s been happening. The good news is that nothing is compromised, at the moment. Your account is secure. It’s just that Amazon is basically giving away piles of free stuff to whoever can look up some publicly available information. Still, you want to squash these if you see them because if you have a legitimate problem, it can raise some serious issues down the line.
If you’re wondering how this is even possible, Amazon had $13 billion in revenue last quarter. It’s easy to forget just what an enormous company it is, and one thing Amazon holds as religion is “Keep the customer as happy as possible.”
Either way, expect it to get more difficult to get refunds for stuff you don’t want. You know, right around the holidays, when people return a massive tidal wave of crap. Thanks, scammers.