BALTIMORE — Amazon impersonators are targeting shoppers this holiday season.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in three business impersonators pretend to be with Amazon. And about 96,000 people reported losing more than $27 million to scammers from July 2020 through June 2021.
“It was $18,000 with gift cards,” said Angie Barnett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving greater Maryland.
The Maryland consumer reported losing that sum to an Amazon impostor in November.
“They give many different responses as to why your Amazon account has been compromised and why you need to pay them money,” Barnett said.
In one variation of the scam, consumer receive a notification that their account’s been hacked and the only way to protect it is to buy gift cards and share the number and pin on the back.
Or customers may get an email or text about an unauthorized purchase on their account. The phone number connects them to a phony Amazon customer service representative who claims to have issued a refund but sent more than promised.
“So what they want you to do is send them money to cover the expenses they allege you owe,” said Barnett.
They trick consumers into giving them remote access to their phone or computer, have the victim log into their banking app then initiate transfers without the account holder’s permission.
“The median loss is about $1,000 and it most often occurs with seniors,” Barnett added.
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