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Several days ago I applied for an Amazon store card and was turned down without any explanation. I was told a letter would follow within 30 days (I'm assuming it would be an explanation as to why).

A few minutes ago, at 4 a.m., I got an email from Synchrony Bank stating that it was a follow up to my request with a link to click on. This link is requesting personal information such as Social Security number (SSN) and date of birth. Does this sound normal or is this a scam?

I'm sure I gave this information when I applied.

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    Did the email come to the same address you used for the application, and did it address you by name or include other information which would help imply it was genuine? Is the link a genuine Synchrony Bank link? Do the headers of the email check out? The Amazon Store Card is managed by Synchrony Bank so it is plausible that this is real. If you want to edit your post to include the URL of the link and the full headers of the email (redacting your own email address) then we can have a look and see if it appears genuine.
    – Vicky
    Nov 14, 2020 at 11:44
  • Never respond to any unexpected communication - TXT or e-Mail, phone or even post - that requests any personal details. Never. Having any number of accounts with BigBucks Bank doesn't mean any communication is legitimate and if that communication asks you for ID, you should always treat is as bogus. Don't take my word… ring your bank's security department! If someone claims to be from BigBucks, refer to a trusted previous communication such as your last paper statement, and use the contact details given there. Nov 15, 2020 at 20:28
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    Your title is vague. I suggest you rewrite to summarize the specific kind of phishing attempt. Nov 16, 2020 at 1:23
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    @user253751 Why would it be their personal bank? Did you know you can sign up for CCs at any bank? Synchrony Bank is a very widely used bank through which stores give people credit cards. See upgradedpoints.com/synchrony-bank-store-credit-cards and amazon.syf.com/login. Certainly one should proceed with caution but if the stars are lining up properly then this is probably a legitimate email.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Nov 16, 2020 at 16:35
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    Unsolicited requests for personal information are phishing attempts until proven otherwise. The delete key is 100% protection. Nov 16, 2020 at 18:48

3 Answers 3

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Just to be safe, never enter your sensitive information like SSN on a web page linked from an email, even if it looks totally legit. It might not be a scam, but it certainly smells like one.

I'd contact Synchrony bank directly using a phone number you find from a source other than the email and ask them about it.

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    "... contact X directly using a phone number you find from [another trustworthy] source" – this! This is a basic but very important security measure everyone should apply by default. I've complained very pointedly to organizations that even offer to bypass this. You should never divulge secrets to any party that contacts you – they should always insist that you contact them before any secrets or sensitive info are shared. And you should always use another trustworthy source, e.g. the organization's website, to find contact info if you don't already know it. Nov 15, 2020 at 3:04
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It is possibly a legitimate email. As the other answers state, it's best to not click on links in emails, as even when you do have legitimate business with a bank you may get phishing emails that appear to come from them.

However, this at least passes the smell test as an email you expect to receive from a source you expect to receive (e)mail from. Synchrony Bank is the bank that handles Amazon store cards. They are required to send you a letter informing you of the reason of the denial, and while nearly all of these letters come in physical mail to ensure delivery (as they are required by law), it is permissible to send the notice via email, and if they did likely they would put the information behind a basic identity check such as DOB and SSN (the key identifiers in the banking world).

It is also possible that the card was denied due to a failure in the credit check; that's fairly common, and can be for a lot of reasons (you have no credit history, you have a freeze on your credit report, etc.). Banks want to offer you credit, so if the reason was something that you could fix, they might send you an email that offers the possibility to rectify the issues, beyond the full refusal letter. I've received this kind of email before, not from Synchrony but from similar organizations, and again they would gate the application site behind at least basic identity verification like DOB and SSN.

As such, it seems like you should not dismiss this email as clearly phishing, but instead take basic measures to ensure you go to a legitimate site. Call their support line, at 877-295-2080, or, perhaps quicker, visit the Amazon card site and click to Chat with an agent on that page.

And just to double-underline this: you shouldn't trust the number in this post either. Visit the sites directly to verify their authenticity, and even better, search them out yourself. For reference, to find these two pages, I searched "Amazon Synchrony" and "Synchrony Contact Us".

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    the key identifiers in the banking world => I suppose this question and answer are implicitly assuming US? Because in Europe we only use our Social Security Number for, well, Social Security... Nov 15, 2020 at 12:56
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    Yes, the question is clearly US.
    – Joe
    Nov 15, 2020 at 15:19
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I want to emphasize the point made by John FX in his answer:

Just to be safe, never enter your sensitive information like SSN on a web page linked from an email, even if it looks totally legit.

If you have an online account with Synchrony Bank, log in. If this request is legitimate, it will be in your list of Notifications from Synchrony.

If you don't have an online account, call Synchrony's customer service.

If I was in this situation, I'd ignore this Email request because in order to open an account with a bank, you have to provide all pertinent personal info (name, address, phone number, SSN, DOB, etc.). They already have the info and if there was a real problem, they'd call you.

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    And get the phone number from their actual website, not the number listed in the email. Treat everything in that email as "tainted".
    – zero298
    Nov 15, 2020 at 1:22
  • Synchrony Bank is the 'real bank' behind many different companies store cards (Amazon, Lowes, etc). In my experience, these accounts are completely separate, so having an existing account with Synchrony and logging in there won't help you as the new notification would be for an entirely different account, unconnected to any existing account.
    – brhans
    Nov 16, 2020 at 19:56
  • @brhans - The OP indicated that he received an Email from Synchrony Bank. Since it came from there, that would be the place to look rather than at Amazon or Lowes, etc. Nov 16, 2020 at 20:08
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    @BobBaerker The issue here would be though that OP does not have an account with Synchrony for an Amazon card - and thus it's sort of irrelevant that you mention that particular line (and perhaps confusing, since they may have a Synchrony account for, say, Lowes). But mostly irrelevant, as your answer otherwise is good (and it's not wrong how you say it, just ... irrelevant).
    – Joe
    Nov 16, 2020 at 21:48
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    @Brhans Really? I have a Synchrony Auto card through my local mechanic, a Synchrony Home card for my bedroom set through Sam Levits, and a Care Credit by Synchrony card for medical expenses, and I can log into my single Synchrony account and arrow through the cards, review all their balances (Now all in $0, but last year two of them had a balance), make payments, receive alerts, and so forth. There definitely can be a single Synchrony account if you sign up for one and add your card(s) to it, unless Amazon/Lowes are a special case.
    – Davy M
    Nov 20, 2020 at 18:38

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