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Security & privacy

Amazon warning: If you get this call, hang up

Scammers will try almost anything to get your personal information. Having no shame, they will use fear, heartache and even federal agents to con you. And it just seems to be getting worse as consumers are made aware of their tricks and tactics.

We recently covered how criminals are impersonating FBI agents and threatening victims with jail time if they didn’t cooperate. Tap or click here to see how scammers impersonating FBI agents. There have also been several scams related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, promising a vaccine for sale.

However, the latest scheme will have you believe that a representative of Amazon is trying to reach you. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos might be stepping down from his role as CEO, but he definitely doesn’t have the time to call you personally.

How the Amazon scam works

To sound convincing, the scammers employ the help of an automated message. Most people will simply ignore a pre-recorded call but might give it a second or two if they think it’s from Amazon.

Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Answering the call, a recorded message will inform you that there has been a problem with your Amazon account.
  • The “problem” could be anything from fraudulent purchases, lost packages or unfulfilled orders.
  • After going through the details, the message will instruct you to either input your credit card details or account login details.
  • In some extreme cases, the scammers will insist on “helping” you with your problem, but they need remote access to your computer.

All the reasons are naturally bogus, and you should never entertain scammers with an answer. You should immediately put down the call and block the number in your contacts.

But as the Better Business Bureau pointed out, the scammers are potentially spoofing real numbers. That means the caller ID might say that it’s Amazon, but the scammers are spoofing the number.

How to stay safe

There are several ways in which you can protect yourself. The most important step is to immediately hang up the phone when you suspect anything suspicious is going on.

Here are suggestions from the BBB on how to handle this scam:

  • Be skeptical of email and unsolicited calls. Some departments at Amazon will call customers, but Amazon will never ask you to disclose or verify sensitive personal information or offer you a refund you do not expect. Amazon will never ask you to make a payment outside of its website and will never ask you for remote access to your device.
  • Ignore unsolicited messages that ask for personal information. Amazon will also never send you an unsolicited message that asks you to provide sensitive personal information, such as your tax ID, bank account number or credit card information.
  • Ignore calls for immediate action. Scammers try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don’t fall for it.
  • Beware of requests to pay via wire transfer, prepaid debit card or CashApp (such as MoneyPak, iTunes or similar cards). These are almost always a sign of fraud.
  • Report it to Amazon. Any customer that receives a questionable email or call from a person impersonating an Amazon employee should report them to Amazon customer service. Amazon investigates these complaints and will take action if warranted.

If you think that there could be a real problem with your account, contact Amazon through official ways. Tap or click here for official ways to contact Amazon customer support safely.

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