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Security & privacy

Amazon scams are running rampant – Red flags to spot the biggest one

No business is perfect, and there might be times where they need to contact you regarding a problem with your account. This is especially true for package delivery and courier companies. Often, when a package can’t be dropped off or require additional details, they will attempt to make contact.

But that comes with risk. Business impersonation scams are some of the most common tricks used today. The setup is rather simple, and it is designed to get as much information from you as possible. Tap or click here to see how Apple made it easy to report App Store scams.

If you fall for the ruse, scammers can steal account details, banking information or money. Now, some clever thieves are impersonating Amazon in hopes of ripping you off. The scheme is very convincing, too. So most anyone could fall for it. Keep reading to find out what to watch for to stay protected.

Here’s the backstory

The FTC warned that business impersonation scams are pulled off in different ways. In one such case, scammers pretended to be from Amazon and told the victim their account had been compromised.

Naturally, the only way to get it back is to purchase a gift card and supply them with the PIN. The criminals claim that it is the only way to verify that you are the actual account holder.

Once the PIN to the gift card is sent, the scammer will hang up and use the card for their purchases. As the account holder, you just gave away money, and there was nothing wrong with your Amazon account at all.

In another version, a scammer claims that you are eligible for an Amazon refund. Once they have your bank information, they move money from your savings account to your checking account to make it look like you’ve received the refund.

But they then claim to have made a mistake. They say they’ve inadvertently deposited too much into your account and ask you to send the excess amount back to them. In reality, you’d be sending your own money. If you do, that money is gone and the thieves make off with a nice score.

How to handle Amazon imersonation scams

Your first line of defense is knowing what to watch for before running into one of these scams. If you know the signs of the scam, you have a better chance of avoiding falling victim.

Here are some more tips from the FTC to avoid Amazon impersonation scams:

  • Never call back unknown phone numbers. Instead, use information on Amazon’s website and not a number listed in an unexpected email or text.
  • Don’t pay for things with a gift card. Gift cards should only be used for gifts. If someone asks you to pay with a gift card or buy them for anything other than a gift, it’s a scam.
  • Don’t give remote access to someone who contacts you unexpectedly. This lets scammers see your personal and financial information, including giving them access to your bank accounts.

Keep reading

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