Back in early June of this year there was a surge in “suspicious activity” scams. “Suspicious activity” scams are those that originate with a bogus phone call, email, or text from a retail outlet, in this case Amazon, alerting potential victims that “suspicious activity” has been detected on their account.

With consumers receiving up to 150 million robocalls per month from fraudsters claiming to be with Amazon, it is widely believed the scam’s surge was associated with Amazon’s wildly popular Prime Days, giving scammers cover to impersonate the company. From July 2020 through June 2021, 96,000 people reported being targeted by scammers, with losses topping $1,000 per customer.

With the upcoming holiday season and the specter of serious supply chain delivery problems, we again have seen a large uptick in such calls.

The Amazon scam is a new twist to the common gift card scam, in which fraudsters added the “suspicious activity on your account” claim made famous in the IRS scam that has been around for years. The con artists have also fine-tuned their bogus messages to respond to wary consumers.

In one example of the Amazon scam, a Norfolk, Virginia resident received a call from a number he did not recognize, so he wisely did not answer it. However, scammers know consumers often don’t pick up, so they left an alarming message about an “unusual charge” on his Amazon account for $499.99.

Hearing that, the man made the call back, explaining to the…

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