Knoxville man recalls scam call for ‘suspicious activity’ on his Amazon account

Investigations

(WATE) — The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert to be aware of suspicious activity on your Amazon account.

Among the millions of people who use Amazon, from time to time scammers have exploited the marketplace’s popularity. What the con artists are trying to do is defraud users of their money and personal information.

The phishing scam calls are occurring not only here in East Tennessee, but all across the country.

A viewer called WATE 6 On Your Side to share about fake alerts he received regarding so-called “suspicious” activity on his Amazon account. In the calls, the scammers try to “frighten” him by making him think someone had hacked his account.

At his home in Knoxville, Joe Campbell has been getting a lot of phishing calls on his phone recently. He says the computer-generated voice claims that they’re either from Amazon or Apple.

“That there was a problem with the payment and they needed payment before they could deliver. And, they said to get an Amazon gift card, call them back and give them the number on the card,” Joe Campbell said.

Here is what one of the calls sounds like:

“An unauthorized purchase for an iPhone XR, 64 GB for 789 dollars is being ordered from your Amazon account. To cancel your order, or to connect with one of our customer support representatives, please press One or simply stay on the line.”

At the Better Business Bureau of Greater East Tennessee, president and CEO Tony Binkley says the message left in the phishing scam Joe Campbell received is typical.

“Well they usually tell you there is some kind of problem with your order or someone is trying to fraudulently order something on your account,” Tony Binkley said.

The computerized voice may also invite you to give them a call on the phone: “If you wish  to contact us later, please call our toll free number — 2 – 0 – 8…”

“What a lot of them will do is say: Press a button to talk to somebody, to be connected, or call our toll free number back,” Tony Binkley said. “A lot of times the toll-free number is anything but a toll-free number.”

Apple’s name is also being fraudulently used to lure in potential scam victims:

“Your iCloud account has been breached. Before using any Apple device, Please contact Apple Support Advisor, Press One.”

“… And there were two calls within an hour or two,” Joe Campbell said.

Joe Campbell says some scammer calling his home have asked him to send pre-paid credit cards before they could make the delivery.

“The way I see, they’re asking for gift cards, you can’t get refunds on those,” he said. “If you paid by your credit cards then most credit card companies will refund you money if it is a scam.”

“We’re seeing it all the way from the West Coast to the East Coast.  It’s all over the country,” Tony Binkley said. “You know one thing you should never do when you are getting a phone call you are not expecting is — never push a button to connect to anybody. Never call a number back that they give you — look it up on your own. And, never give any personal information out. If you do that, you’ll be in good shape.”

Amazon and Apple have issued warnings about these scams that are heard all across the country. There are also false emails from “spoofed” sites that look similar to legitimate emails from Amazon. In their real email messages to customers, neither Amazon nor Apple will ever ask for bank account information, credit card number, or any personal information.

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