Amazon may have started as a humble online marketplace for books, but the company has since grown into an unrivaled economic and retail juggernaut. Amazon today is more popular than ever and recently reported that its revenue during the recent March quarter jumped to $108.52 billion, a 44% increase compared to the same quarter a year ago.
With more people relying on Amazon than ever before, in part due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, scammers have increasingly started to impersonate Amazon security personnel amid efforts to swindle unsuspecting users out of their hard-earned money. In fact, a Florida woman named Linda Shepard was recently bilked out of $2,000 after scammers called her up and said that someone was attempting to gain access to her Amazon account.
According to ABC Action News, a scammer told Shepard that hackers were trying to charge a $1,000 iPhone to her Amazon account and that they would help show her how to delete her credit cards.
Before Shepard realized she’d been dealing with an Amazon imposter, the thief stole more than $2,000 from her checking account.
“I was nauseous,” she said. “I thought I was going to throw up when it happened.”
The type of scam Shepard fell for is called an imposter scam and it’s sadly becoming all the more common.
Other permutations of this type of scam involve scammers asking victims to supply credit card information and even username and passwords associated with sensitive accounts.
In recent years, scammers have made a point to target elderly individuals who tend to lack the technical sophistication to realize that they’re being conned.
To this end, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) went so far as to publish a few tips for people to keep in mind when an unsolicited phone call comes in:
- Beware of unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from Amazon alerting you of a “problem” with your account. Never provide these callers with account information or access to your computer, phone or tablet.
- Don’t click on links in text messages that claim to be from Amazon.
- Understand what emails and other contact from Amazon look like and when you might receive them. If an email looks suspicious don’t take the chance of clicking on a link or following its instructions.
- Protect your Amazon username and password. Do not provide this information to anyone who you do (not) know or trust. Change your password regularly.
- If you are ever in doubt about correspondence you receive from Amazon, login to your account at http://www.amazon.com to verify the legitimacy of the message.
- If you are attempting to contact customer support do not trust a simple internet search. Only use contact information found on the Amazon website.
- Be prepared to spot scammers using similar tactics posing as other common or essential businesses and delivery services like grocery stores, Wal-Mart, FedEx and UPS.
Other Amazon scams we’ve seen in recent months involve fraudulent messages which claim that an item purchased online was unable to be delivered. From there, victims are instructed to click on a link and to re-enter their delivery information. However, upon doing so, a user’s machine may be infected with malware or ransomware.
With more people than ever relying upon Amazon and other online retailers for their day-to-day shopping needs, it’s important to remain vigilant and suspicious of calls from people who claim to work for Amazon.