COLORADO SPRINGS — Amazon is one of the biggest brands in the world and during the pandemic even more people signed up for Amazon accounts as they did their shopping online. News 5 takes a look at how fraudsters are trying to cash in on Amazon's name and success.
During the pandemic consumer protection experts say there was a huge uptick in scams and fraud. The most reported schemes we're being attacked with are impostor scams and lately no business name is being used more than Amazon.
Ironically, the scheme that's being reported most often using the Amazon name is through a phone call alerting you to fraud on your account. These calls sound something like this.
"This is Amazon... this call is to authorize the payment of 799 dollars for the recent order of an iPhone 11 on your account... press one to speak with an Amazon fraud department executive," the caller says over the phone.
If you press one a live agent who is really a fraudster will ask for a credit card number or banking information to prevent a fraudulent order from hitting your account. Once they get that information they will steal and start to spend.
"There's a good chance you're going to have an account with Amazon for example. If you do, and someone calls you and says there's been a large charge, did you make this purchase? And you did not. You're probably going to want to call right away. That's one way they can get you," said Paul Myers-Bennett of the BBB of Southern Colorado.
On April 6th Amazon customer Linda Shepard received a similar call. She logged into a site that gave the caller control over her computer and then her bank account. By the time she realized she was actually dealing with an Amazon impostor, the thief stole more than $2000 out of her checking account.
"I was nauseous I thought I was going to throw up when it happened," said Shepard. "The girl said she was with Amazon security systems that someone was trying to hack into my amazon account and charge an iPhone 12 for $999."
If you get one of these calls, hang up and use your actual Amazon account to reach customer service, or call the Better Business Bureau experts who can help you identify a scam before you lose money.
The scams using the Amazon name to try to gain credibility with victims can come in many forms. The Federal Trade Commission has some great examples of what to look for. You can find that information here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/12/fake-calls-apple-and-amazon-support-what-you-need-know