Ronell Smith nearly became a victim of a growing trend involving impersonators, phone calls, and the world’s largest retailer, Amazon.

“I will say my initial reaction to that phone call was…panicking,” said Smith of Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

Smith recently received a voicemail letting her know of a suspicious charge on her 73-year-old father’s Amazon account. She called the number back and spoke with someone who told her a $300 charge was made using the account.

“At that point, (they) verified the name of the person who lives here, who indeed has this Amazon account,” said Smith. “To make it worse, they were saying it was not only his credit card but his Amazon account. The whole thing had been hacked into. I was very worried. I was thinking, this is not a phone call that we commonly get here.”

Smith says she was told the charge was made with a Visa card in Ohio and to fix this problem she needed to act fast.

But something about the phone call didn’t feel right. Smith said she stopped and checked her dad’s account, found no recent purchases, then remembered her dad didn’t even have a Visa card. That was when Smith knew it was a scam.

“The more hesitancy that I showed with this person on the phone, the more arrogant they got,” Smith said.

The Federal Trade Commission says impersonation scams involving Amazon are the most common and successful. Between July 2020 and June 2021, the FTC said 96,000 people filed complaints involving Amazon impersonators,…

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