RESIDENTS are being warned over scam messages claiming to be from Amazon as they buy Christmas presents.

Cheshire West and Chester Council says customers may have received a genuine email from the e-commerce giant announcing that Visa credit cards will no longer be accepted as payment from January 2022.

However, the council warns that scammers could exploit this situation.

The council’s Trading Standards team says a common scam technique uses emails, pretending to be from a well know online retailer, to ask victims to change or update their payment details.

Council deputy leader Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, highways and strategy transport, said: “Residents should be wary of any emails they receive asking them to update or change their payment details by following a link.

“Our team advises that rather than sending the updated details through the email as might be suggested, or by clicking on a link, or opening an attachment, people should make the changes directly on their Amazon account.

"These scam emails can look very similar to those used by the genuine companies, that many people could easily be fooled into responding to them.”

If anyone receives phone calls supposedly from Amazon asking for personal details, financial information or to update payment details, they should be hung up on immediately.

This method of scamming victims is becoming increasingly popular by fraudsters, who impersonate brands like Amazon and other well-known online retailers.

The council has issued this checklist of warning signs residents should watch out for:

• Websites with no address or phone number may be an indication of sites to be wary of.

• Securely connected websites are indicated with the ‘s’ in ‘https://’ - though secure pages still do not mean the retailer is entirely reputable.

• Spelling errors or strange characters in a store's web address could signal a potential scam.

• Paying with a debit or credit card is one of the safest ways to pay online.

Visa debit cards will be accepted by Amazon until January 19, 2022.