Amazon is a household name in America and has accumulated over 150 million subscribers. Scammers have been using its popularity to defraud shoppers through phone calls, text messages, and emails for several years now. With the pandemic seeing increased levels of home deliveries, it is important to recap the leading Amazon scams currently in play.
Scammers use a warning of suspicious activity to gain access to users’ personal information. This is a real example of a call many users have reported:
“Hello this is Molly with Amazon. We have detected suspicious activity on your Amazon account. Someone is trying to buy a $799 iPhone on your account.”
Molly will ask the user to press one and will transfer them to a call center where a live representative will begin their phishing attempt. Claiming your Amazon Prime membership has been renewed and can be refunded if this was not intended is another popular ploy.
Do not press 1 to speak with customer support, do not call a phone number they gave you, and do not give out your personal information.
Fraudsters may claim your Amazon account is suspended due to fraudulent activity which can be fixed by clicking a link or downloading an app. These are fake. Never click on a suspicious link, even if it appears to come from a reputable company like Amazon. These scammers may also try to scare the user into sharing their bank or Amazon account information by threatening that suspended accounts incur fees of around $800.
Many users have reported receiving a call or text claiming they have won various items from Amazon. These often include Apple Air pods, laptops, and raffle tickets. They will ask for your Amazon or bank account information to confirm your win. If it sounds too good to be true, then unfortunately it is typically a scam.
On March 17, 2021, the FCC announced a cease-and-desist notice for six voice providers who facilitate illegal robocalls. Fictional Amazon refund scams were listed among the many robocall scams that were being transmitted.
Amazon is frustrated by these scams and has advised that if there is an update or problem with your Amazon order, it will notify you through the app, not a phone call. If you are contacted by a scammer claiming to be Amazon, do not engage and instead report it.
To help, Amazon has created an account for customers to use to report these scam attempts. You can email email@example.com if you are contacted by a scammer posing as Amazon. It is also important to report these to the FCC who are combating robocall scams.
In addition, consumers can protect themselves by leveraging robocall detection solutions powered by TNS Call Guardian. In these trying times, vigilance is even more important than before; be smart and stay safe.
Jim Tyrrell is Senior Director of Product Marketing at TNS with specific responsibility for TNS’ Communications Market solutions.