One of the joys of online shopping is instant gratification – your purchases arrive on your doorstep in just a few days! Unfortunately, consumers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this convenience – hackers are also using it to trick users into handing over money or data. Recently, AARP recounted several scams where cybercriminals posed as Amazon’s customer service or security team as a ploy to steal your personal information.
How These Scams Work
These scams all begin with an unsuspecting user seeking help from Amazon’s customer support or their security team, only to find the contact information of a fraudster posing as the company. For example, in one of these scams, a user called a fraudulent customer support number to help his wife get back into her account. However, the scammer behind the phone number tried to sell the victim a fake $999 computer program to prevent hacking on his own device. Thankfully, according to AARP, the man refused to send the money.
Another victim reported receiving an email from the “Amazon Security Team,” stating that a fraudulent charge was made on her account and that it was locked as a result. The email asked for her address and credit or debit card information to unlock her account and get a refund on the fake charge. But upon closer review, the woman noticed that the email address ended in .ng, indicating that it was coming from Nigeria. Luckily, the woman refused to send her information and reported the incident instead.
Not all victims are as lucky. One woman received an email that looked like it was from Amazon and gave the scammers her social security number, credit card number, and access to her devices. Another victim lost $13,300 to scammers who contacted her through a messaging platform stating that someone hacked her Amazon account and that she needed to buy gift cards to restore it.
Steer Clear of These Tricks
Many of these fraudsters are taking advantage of Amazon’s credibility to trick unsuspecting out of money and personal data. However, there are ways that users can prevent falling prey to these scams – and that all starts with staying educated on the latest schemes so consumers know what to look out for. By staying knowledgeable on the latest threats, consumers can feel more confident browsing the internet and making online purchases. Protect your digital life by following these security tips:
Go directly to the source
Be skeptical of emails or text messages claiming to be from organizations with peculiar asks or information that seems too good to be true. Instead of clicking on a link within the email or text, it’s best to go straight to the organization’s website or contact customer service.
Be wary of emails asking you to act
If you receive an email or text asking you to take a specific action or provide personal details, don’t click on anything within the message. Instead, go straight to the organization’s website. This will prevent you from accidentally downloading malicious content. Additionally, note that Amazon does not ask for personal information like bank account numbers or Social Security numbers in unsolicited emails.
Only use one credit card for online purchases
By only using one payment method for online purchases, you can keep a better eye out for fraud instead of monitoring multiple accounts for suspicious activity.
Look out for common signs of scams
Be on the lookout for fake websites and phone numbers with Amazon’s logo. Look for misspelled words and grammatical errors in emails or other correspondence. If someone sends you a message with a link, hover over the link without actually clicking on it. This will allow you to see a link preview. If the URL looks suspicious, don’t click on it, as it’s probably a phishing link that could download malicious content onto your device. It’s best to avoid interacting with the link and delete the message altogether.