GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WLNS)– The COVID-19 pandemic has more people than ever ordering from Amazon. Scammers are finding ways to cash in on the trend.
According to the Michigan Better Business Bureau, con artists are posing as Amazon employees, calling people, and claiming to need information about their account. And if that wasn’t tricky enough, scammers are spoofing BBB’s phone number to do it.
The Better Business Bureau has seen more than 100 complaints in other parts of the country. While this specific scam has not been reported in Michigan yet, with Amazon Prime Day set to begin next week Michigan shoppers should be aware.
This is how it works:
You answer the phone, and it is a recorded message claiming to be from Amazon stating there is a problem with your Amazon account. The message ranges from a fraudulent charge on your Prime card to a lost or damaged package to an unfulfilled order for an iPhone. But no matter what the recording is, these scammers have the same goal: getting your personal information. The con artists sometimes outright ask for credit card and account login details. Other times they will request remote access to your computer under the guise of “helping” to solve the issue.
Also look out for a confusing twist on this scam. The con artists are spoofing other organizations’ phone numbers to help disguise their calls and lend them credibility – including BBB’s.
“Consumers need to use caution when they receive phone calls asking for personal or account information,” says Phil Catlett, President of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “The Better Business Bureau, and most other companies, won’t take offense if you want to take the time to verify you are talking to the real organization.”
Customers should gather information about who is calling and why, and then find the organization’s contact on their own. Usually, you can find an email or phone number on an organization’s website or a past bill.
How to protect yourself:
- 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 their 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.