BBB warning: Amazon scam calls are back

BETTER Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a warning to “watch out for calls from Amazon imposters” last October after consumers reported to BBB Scam Tracker about receiving calls from someone claiming to be an Amazon employee, who was asking for their personal and Amazon account information.

There has been a resurgence of these reports over the last few weeks, where the fraudsters are also spoofing the phone numbers of other organizations during these scam calls. BBB is urging the public to be on the lookout for unsolicited calls and to avoid sharing personal information with people you do not know.

How the scam works:  
The phone rings and when answered, it is either a recorded message or an individual claiming to be from Amazon, stating there is a problem with your Amazon account. The messages range from a fraudulent charge on your prime card to a lost or damaged package to an unfulfilled order for an iPhone. 

Regardless of the message, the scammers have the same goal: getting your personal information. Consumers reported that the con artists will either directly ask for credit card and account login details, or they will request remote access to your computer under the guise of “helping” to solve the issue. 
“There has been a concerning increase in the reports about these scams,” said Karla Laird, Manager for Community and Public Relations at BBB. “In December we tracked 28 calls, in January 93 calls, and this week alone 41 calls. The con artists are also spoofing other organizations’ phone numbers to help disguise their calls and lend them credibility. Some of these numbers have been connected back to Canadian small businesses and even BBB offices in the United States”.

How to Spot 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 their website and will never ask you for remote access to your device.
  • Ignore unsolicited messages that ask for personal information. Amazon will never send you an unsolicited message that asks you to provide sensitive personal information, such as your Social Insurance Number, bank account number or credit card information.
  • Ignore calls for immediate action. Scammers try to get you to act before thinking by creating a sense of urgency. Don’t fall for it.
  • Beware of unusual payment methods. Wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, iTunes gift cards or similar cards are almost always a sign of fraud.
  • Remember to report it. Any customer that receives a questionable email or call from a person impersonating an Amazon employee should report it to BBB Scam Tracker and to Amazon’s customer service. Amazon will also investigate these complaints and take action where necessary.