Some clues can help consumers easily identify scammers using Amazon trying to rip you off

Consumer Watch

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With the online holiday shopping season ramping up, police and others are warning about the prevalence of a couple of customer service scams involving Amazon.

The first scam is in the form of an email supposedly from Amazon claiming it couldn’t process a recent payment and needs you to verify your personal and payment information.

This is a phishing scam, pure and simple, and it’s one of several scams which have exploded across cyberspace in recent weeks.

There are two clues that are tip-offs to this fake email scam.

First, look at the corporate name in the email. In this case, Amazon is spelled wrong. It’s spelled “Amazon” missing the second “A.”

Here’s the second tip. Hover your mouse over the mail address of the sender. You will see the real sender is not, but rather a hijacked email address the scammer is using to spoof the real thing.

The other Amazon scam is more active, involving a fake Amazon Customer service representative.

That person calls people out of the blue, saying he needs to remove some fraudulent items they’ve discovered on your Amazon account.

That’s what happened to Johnnie Breen.

“He needed to get into my phone to fix things,” she said. “He acted like a hero.”

Here’s how he did it. He asked for Breen’s pin number, then she said he changed the pin on her phone.

The criminal also got her to reveal her banking information during the call.

“I told him B of A,” said Breen. “The next thing I know I see a B of A app on my phone, and I don’t bank on my phone.”

Four hours later, thousands were stolen from Breen’s Back of America account and thousands more charged to her Amazon account.

“I feel so stupid because I saw this happening,'” she said.

Here are the clues that could tip off you to the Amazon cold-call scam.

Amazon says It will never call and ask a customer to disclose or verify sensitive personal information. It also says it will never call to offer a refund you do not expect.

If you get a call like that, hang up immediately.

You should follow it up with a call to Amazon directly to verify your account is OK and not compromised.

All told, Breen lost $5,300 to the scammer, but she was lucky because her bank and credit card company were able to make good the losses. That’s not always the case in these kinds of scams, so beware of those fake customer service calls.

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