WEST MICHIGAN — The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan is warning consumers to be on the lookout for scams impersonating Amazon as Amazon Prime Day sales get underway.
Amazon is the second most impersonated entity by scammers in the U.S., according to the 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report.
Scammers are targeting customers through fake customer service phone calls, phishing emails, and fake notifications about tracking and delivery.
In addition, the BBB says it has noticed an increase in reports involving robocalls in which scammers pose as Amazon representatives.
Some of the reports say the caller is notifying them of a large purchase made on their Amazon Prime account that is being shipped to another state.
The caller wants to verify the purchase, along with personal information like credit card numbers.
A similar scam is reaching consumers by email.
A man in the Traverse City area reports receiving and email confirming an order he did not place and called the number listed on the email.
The caller identified themselves as an Amazon representative and told the man to buy gift cards at Meijer to allow Amazon to block access to scammers. An employee at Meijer told the man it was a scam before he spent $3,600.
“Because of its popularity, scammers often use the Amazon brand as a way to get at unsuspecting customers,” said Phil Catlett, president of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “Often the call or email will sound like it is trying to help you avoid getting conned, when in reality you are putting yourself at risk. That is why it is so important to make sure you are communicating with Amazon directly when you receive these messages.”
BBB offers the following advice for people contacted by someone claiming to be from Amazon or other large online retailers:
- Be skeptical of email and unsolicited calls. Amazon will never ask you to disclose or verify sensitive personal information or offer you a refund you do not expect.
- Never give someone access or control of your computer or device. Scammers often offer to help resolve the issue by accessing your account or computer. But this access can result in them making purchases you did authorize.
- Ignore unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal information. Amazon will never send you an unsolicited message that asks you to provide sensitive personal information, such as you tax ID, bank account number or credit card information.
- Ignore calls for immediate action. Scammers try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don’t fall for it.
- Beware of odd payment requests, such as requests to pay by gift card, wire transfer, prepaid debit card or cash apps. These are almost always a sign of fraud.