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Amazon impersonators: what you need to know

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Has Amazon contacted you to confirm a recent purchase you didn’t make or to tell you that your account has been hacked? According to the FTC’s new Data Spotlight, since July 2020, about one in three people who have reported a business impersonator scam say the scammer pretended to be Amazon.

These scams can look a few different ways. In one version, scammers offer to “refund” you for an unauthorized purchase but “accidentally transfer” more than promised. They then ask you to send back the difference. What really happens? The scammer moves your own money from one of your bank accounts to the other (like your Savings to Checkings, or vice versa) to make it look like you were refunded. Any money you send back to “Amazon” is your money (not an overpayment) — and as soon as you send it out of your account, it becomes theirs. In another version of the scam, you’re told that hackers have gotten access to your account — and the only way to supposedly protect it is to buy gift cards and share the gift card number and PIN on the back. Once that information is theirs, the money is, too.

Here are some ways to avoid an Amazon impersonator scam:

  • Never call back an unknown number. Use the information on Amazon’s website and not a number listed in an unexpected email or text.
  • Don’t pay for anything with a gift card. Gift cards are for gifts. If anyone asks you to pay with a gift card – or buy gift cards for anything other than a gift, it’s a scam.
  • Don’t give remote access to someone who contacts you unexpectedly. This gives scammers easy access to your personal and financial information—like access to your bank accounts.

Have you spotted this scam? Report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

If you think someone has gotten access to your accounts or personal information, visit IdentityTheft.gov. There, you’ll find steps to take to see if your identity has been misused, and how to report and recover from identity theft.

Comments

Thanks!

CALLED FOR DAYS ON AND OFF FOR 6 DAYS SAME EXACT MESSAGE AS INB THE HEADER OF THIE THREAD.

I did report it still waiting made 100.00, charge at game stop

My daughter and I have been getting phone calls telling us that my Amazon account has been hacked. They call at least once a month. Next time I hope to remember to report. Thanks for all the info you give out.

I have one question, how can these scammers move my money around from one account to another in my bank account?

Some people said a scammer moved money around in their accounts after they gave the scammer remote access to their computer, laptop, or phone. If you give a scammer access to your device, they may be able to get into your bank account.

I feel like "don't let people have remote access to your computer unless you know exactly who they are" should be advice somewhere in this article. It is good advice nonetheless.

That was advised earlier in the article. I can see it above from the TC poster. But also, its not always that blatant. Lately I have been getting emails/calls stating someone is trying to authorize "x-y-z" and please log in to confirm this is a valid purchase- I never follow the link but that is also something new I started seeing about a month ago.

I had been scammed had received a call from one lady who said she was from Amazon I have already placed a complaint with American Express and the Monroe Township Police and at FTC.Gov.

We lost $500.00 twice. Before we finally got wise to it. If you get a confirmation from Amazon it totally different from the message you get from scammers. If you look at the email address that comes after the Amazon.com. You will see that it is a scam. Because Amazon's confirmation take you to what you actually ordered. But there is no email address after said confirmation. So do yourself a favor. IGNOR. Any Amazon that has an email after Amazon.com. Maybe you won't lose $1000.00 like we did.

I have had a call last night (10/19) from a purported phone # beginning with a country code of #39 (Italy), and another today (10/20) from a purported phone # in Boise, ID. In both calls the person claims to be from Amazon customer service and that they have noticed some suspicious activity in my account, to wit, that a purchase of an iphone has been made with $1,100 being charged to the credit card linked to that Amazon account. Then, to get details or for further discussion, they ask me to dial "1".

Same phone call I JUST had...except when I researched the number, it came up to Wilkes-Barre, PA...

The way I see it, when I've received these, if they don't address you by name, it's a scam.
I then forward the email to Amazon's fraud department for their investigation.
And finally, I mark it as spam.
As a result, lately, I've seen fewer Amazon fraud messages.

Whether the caller addresses you by name or not is no guarantee that it is or isn't a scam. I've had scammers call and address me by my first name, more than once. I've also had them ask for me by "Ms. (my last name)."

How did I know they were scammers? In at least one case, they claimed to be from Microsoft, calling to inform me that they had detected a virus in my computer, and asking for my login info so they could fix it. Yeah, right. How did they get my first name? They had probably gotten my number off of a purchased advertising list -- not that it really matters.

Recently I received a text from an Amazon Driver about a delivery I was expecting and he wanted me to fill in information on what looked like my Amazon sign in I did not do this because my password was included and my account information I think it was a scam Was it?

OF COURSE it is a SCAM! No legitimate company will EVER .. let me repeat EVER contact you asking for your user name/password! If you didn't initiate the contact over a KNOWN site/phone number, it is a SCAM.

I have received several emails using this scam. I always check my account to make sure nothing has been bought that i didn't buy. They also use a scam of saying you have been locked out your account until you call them and verify.

I must receive three of these calls daily and consistently hang up on them once the robo voice begins telling me about "my order" for Apple products. I do answer unknown ID calls simply because several of our medical contacts purposely use their cell phones that use only the number as their ID. And when I can, I do block these nuisance callers on both my land phone and cell phone. I really wish these marketing pests could become eliminated, but another scammer will develop a new idea to badger people.

This information right here is so true! Really ridiculous to treat victims to accused Victims for calling them expecting them to not be upset

Only I call the Amazon Customer Service via V.P. line as I avoid scam and other hacking activities. Then I don’t give my personal information to anyone by protecting my documents in privacy in strictly confidential case.

I have Call Protect and if you are not on my address/phone list, the calls are automatically blocked. It is free ! I get emails but ignore them from Amazon, WALMART, Walgreens and a few others. I do not have any of these nor do I shop there. All scams and never, never open the link

I received a telephone recording that said they were from Amazon.
They wanted my approval to accept a charge for an iPhone 11.
Then the message said Press 1 for No and Press 2 for Yes. Please hold for an Operator. I waited but was disconnected.
Curiously we just purchased an iPhone 11 at the Apple Store. I sent a message to the Fraud Dept. at Apple.

okay, thats kind of funny that they didnt check what places sold iphone 11's. not even sure amazon has the athority to.

A while back there was a charge on my account for $500 with reference Amazon Called the bank and after 3months they fixed it. I'm always checking my account to make sure it's correct.

I haven't gotten the 'your account has been hacked' call, but I've received several stating that I've ordered something and the card on my Amazon account rejected it. Anything from software subscription for $799, to $1200 for a TV being delivered to an Ohio address, or $900 due on some iPhones.

I have had multiple phone calls pretending to be amazon, how do they know I'm a customer? It's coming from the inside

They don't know. I do not have an Amazon account and I receive the calls.

Just now I got a call saying that an iPhone had been charged to me in error. I didn’t follow instructions becuase I was afraid it was a scam. I was getting ready to call Amazon when I saw your article. Thank you once again for keeping us safe.

Very simple everyone- Never, Ever, give ANY information, AT ALL, to ANYONE, who contacts you through email, text, OR phone call, with any stories that even REMOTELY concern financial matters.
YOU do your own research first, through one of the legitimate search engines like Bing, Duck Duck Go, Google, etc., and YOU obtain the correct phone number to call.
Then, YOU use the phone ONLY, and call the "purported" party claiming to want to help you.
Legitimate organizations phone numbers can be Spoofed, so it appears on your caller ID that you are receiving a call from the organization in question, when in FACT it is the Fraudster. This is why it is Critical that YOU get the correct phone number, and YOU initiate the phone call.
When you are certain you have a legitimate representative of the "purported" organization on the phone, then YOU start asking the questions. Judge by the tone of voice, if there is any hesitation when you ask pertinent questions, etc. Always be suspicious, and forget about being polite, until you feel comfortable you have a legitimate representative from the correct organization on the phone.
The world is saturated with scamsters and fraudsters nowadays with technology making it so much easier for them.
Hope that helps.

Go directly to a company’s website to find out how to reach them. Don’t trust results in Google or other online searches.

At least weekly, I receive such email letters representing PayPal and Apple, in addition to Amazon, informing me that my account has been limited and/or suspended and directing me to click the link to fix the issue. I always report them to Microsoft or PayPal directly as phishing or spam, but no action has ever been taken, except to tell me to ignore them, and I continue to receive them regularly. The messages are always from a different address, so untraceable, I suppose. Protect yourself because no one else can or will do anything to stop it.

And another one! I was contacted today 10/20/21 about an $1100.00 purchase on my Amazon account. As soon as I heard that I hung up because I know its not true. Maybe, I should have stayed on, I don't know what they wanted me to do.

What they WANT you to do is stay on the line and either verbally or thru a button press "authorize" a purchase OR, give them your Amazon account information and/or credit card information to "verify" the information in their system. Afterwards, they own you. Do NOT answer unknown calls! If it's important AND legitimate, they'll leave a vm and you call THEM back!

I receive that AMAZON call at least 2-3 times a month. Along with folks claiming to be Microsoft, car warranty people (THAT one has continues for 4 years...and used to include mailings regarding my
"EXPIRED WARRANTY".) They call at least 3 times a month.Of course, there are the SOCIAL SECURITY calls ! So many scam calls I can't even remember them all. I just let the answering pick them up..then go delete them.

I have had a few of these type of calls but always know it's a scam because of one detail on my account. I do not have a credit card on file with Amazon. They offer a service where you can keep money on account with them so I purchase Amazon Gift Cards at my local grocery store where I get multiple different credits (for gas and airline travel) and then apply the gift card to my Amazon balance. When the scammers call and say my credit card has been used I can laugh in their ear.

I really fear for gullible folks. Scams have appeared very convincing to me before. I’ve started collecting scammers communications in my contact list and also block their method of communication but I wish there were someway to catch them.

There ARE ways to catch them if the FTC, FCC, and the major carriers (VZW, ATT, etc..) would work together! But for the carriers, it's money in their pocket to let them scams continue and for the FTC/FCC it's like playing whack a mole to shut them down. So, they just print articles to tell us not to answer scam calls instead of using modern technology to stop it and arrest the thieves. Granted, many of them are in foreign countries outside of our jurisdiction or ability to arrest, but there are plenty within our borders, as well!

It's not just Amazon that the scammers are impersonating. I had gotten at least two calls from Apple telling me that suspicious activities were detected on my Apple account and I needed to contact Apple at the phone number provided. That message itself sounded suspicious itself. So, I contacted the real Apple customer service and told them what happened. They told me that it was probably a scam.

I also got threatening calls that a complaint was filed under my SSN and I needed to press "1" to talk to a "concerned" officer to avoid being held in contempt of court in front of a magistrate judge. I contacted the Social Security after the first such call. But unfortunately, I never got a reply from the Social Security Administration.

Just want to make it known that the scammers are not just impersonating Amazon. They are impersonating Apple and even Social Security Administration as well. The holiday season is approaching and the scammers are acting out again.

I get text messages saying my large $$ item purchase is in progress, it lists some crazy amount and says if I didn’t make the purchase click the link to cancel. I never click the link. Amazon doesn’t send random texts about purchases.

I just got that one too. I just block and delete them. It helps to have a legit spam killer/bot blocker app on my phone that blocks 99% of them before they can get thru.

I was called from someone pretending to be from" Amazon" as well. I have also been called or sent an email stating I should call Amazon at the number listed. I knew I hadn't ordered anything. I asked well what did I order but they wouldn't or couldn't tell me. I would call Amazon and ask had anyone from there called and they'd check it out and say no. And I'd never give out any information about myself.

How come you can't take action on individual complaints?

I ordered/purchased an Item thru email Amazon, 2 wks ago. On the same day in the pm, I received a phone call from an unknown #. Unknown #'s I have let my personal msg answer. This allows the caller to leave a msg, me to keep security/privacy, return the call if the odds are it's valid. Regardless of the caller's response to my msg, I add the # into my Address Book after listening to it. I enter it as a valid caller and #, or if no msg is left if the caller hung up, as an "UNK", or 3rd as a "MRKTER" if it is a robot, or an individual with on the commission intent. This lowers telemarketing ,and tracks my callers' calling and who I should answer much easier. Regarding AMAZON .......... I received an unrecognized, 1st time # in the pm after I had just ordered an item from them in the am. So I answered the msg left. It was from a female recording, stating 'if I had NOT ordered from Amazon, this is Code 12, press number 1 and speak with an "Executive,".' BUT, pressing #1 on my flip flop phone, does one thing, repeats the msg. SO, what should I do? I called Amazon and after many transfers thru and thru, the head cheese informed me it wasn't Amazon, GREAT, I said, BUT I don't wanna get nailed on anymore than what was agreed on to pay.! Her reply was nebulous, so I then called my cc Company, informed them of the one transaction to honor, but definitely no other. Since this transaction occurred far less than 1 and 2 mos ago, it is far from thru.

I get Amazon scam email at least twice a week, confirming a purchase and encouraging me to call or click on a link if I didn't make the purchase. Of course I didn't make the purchase! Since FTC knows about this particular scam and that it occurs to many citizens, what is FTC doing about it, to prevent such, and prosecute the perpetrators. If there is no law giving them such authority to act, then the FTC should propose laws to enable them to act swiftly and decisively against perpetrators of these known email scams.

I don't buy into the "...FTC can't enforce laws against scams that originate outside the USA..." . There are lots of things USA can do to nations that don't help prosecute and prevent such email scams. The technology exists where the originators of such scams can be identified.

I filed a complaint with the FTC regarding an Amazon transaction and never heard back from them.

When you answer calls from unknown numbers you invite more of those kinds of calls. Therefore, stop answering them. If it is legit, they will leave a message and you can go from there. Just make sure that your voicemail box is not full.

I have been get calls for about the last 3 or 4 years, I donot reply to these calls . I just got one to day , saying that a charge was add to my card to day of 1300.00 . I get these calls a few time a mouth .I do not call the number that they give me. If i think that there is something that is not right , I will call Amazon # that is on my card

I have been getting them sometimes 3 times a day. Is very disruptive to me. My husband is sick and lots of time I am waiting for the dr. to call me back. Isn't there any thing we can do.
As soon as I heard this is them, I hang up,

Yes, there is something you can do. Set your ring tone to silent for anyone not in your contacts list and they won't ring through and disrupt you. Add all your Doctor's known numbers into your contacts, and check your phone frequently for voicemails from your Dr. in case you think you might miss a call or a new number and call him back promptly. Legit callers leave msgs. You do NOT have to answer unknown calls and you shouldn't!

Not a phone call but an e-mail directly from Amazon and it was before Covid. I have no reason to believe that it was a scam since they thanked me for giving them my new address [in Russia] - which I had not done. Amazon had shut down my previous Amazon account based on my allegedly telling them that I had moved to Russia and had a new 'russian' e-mail addres. Now, thanks to Amazon, I had a new Russian e-mail address and could contact them only through my new information - my password of course had been changed by Mr or Ms. Ruskie in Russia. I now no longer have an Amazon account. But I had to change many of my financial accounts, get new credit cards, lost social media [NO BIG DEAL since never ever would I do social media again] and spent several weeks of lost sleep.
The End.

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