'Amazon' name being used in growing number of imposter scams

Con artists pretending to be Amazon employees scammed Americans out of $27 million from July 2020 through June 2021
"Amazon" name being used in growing number of imposter scams
Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 11:04:44-04

Some estimates show every month more than 197 million people around the world visit Knowing so many consumers are visiting and utilizing this platform the scammers are casting a wide net. Consumer protection experts say the “Amazon” name is likely the top name being used by fraudsters and scammers launching imposter scams.

Vicki Tripp said her life changed because of an email she thought came from Amazon.

“There was a charge on amazon for an iPhone and i knew it wasn't my charge. there was a phone number to call for Amazon,” said Tripp.

In reality, there was no real amazon email and no iPhone purchase. 

What Tripp didn’t realize is during her phone conversation with the imposter she also gave scammers access to her computer through remote control software called “AnyDesk.”

Cybersecurity experts say scammers often follow the same script.

“I’m going to need some kind of remote access to your computer to see what you’re doing and help you. once you click and you download the tool on your computer, the computer is now owned by the cybercriminals,” said CEO of cybersecurity company Blackcloak Chris Pierson. 

Then the person on the phone convinced Tripp there was a mistake with money in her bank account and wire transfers were needed to make it right.

“After a few days, he said that it hadn’t been received so we have to do another wire transfer,” said Tripp. 

Three wire transfers later, Tripp said she lost more than $84,000.

Tripp is devastated and disappointed that her bank didn’t mention any red flags with a senior citizen wiring money to an international account. 

Here are ways consumers can avoid business impersonation scams, according to the FTC.

  • Don’t click links or use phone numbers from unexpected calls or messages

  • Go directly to a company’s bill, or website to contact them

  • Think twice before granting remote access to your device.

  • Be skeptical of wire transfer and gift card payments. never send pictures of gift cards.

If you get a call, text, or email from someone claiming to be with a company you would typically trust, but you just aren’t sure about it, you can always reach out to us at News5 for help and we’ll take a look. You can contact us 24/7 here.

Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.