It’s no secret that scams and fraudulent activity are at an all-time high. Fraudsters will stop at nothing to gain access to valuable personal information, access account numbers, and/or find ways to illegally receive payment from you in any manner.
Although any brand can be vulnerable to malicious attempts, the most recent scam involves a major online retailer, Amazon. In fact, the robocall blocking app, YouMail, estimated that consumers are now receiving 150 million robocalls per month claiming to be from Amazonˡ.
The scam comes in various forms, however, the most recent involves cybercriminals contacting the victim by phone, text, or email with a warning of a large fraudulent charge on their account. Often, they’ll use the purchase of a high-value item, like an iPhone or Laptop, to increase urgency. It’s important to note, they may even spoof caller ID to look more authentic or even provide what appears to be a valid contact number for their targeted victim to call back. This allows the criminals to increase the deception. The call or message will tell the person that their account or credit/debit card has been charged a sum of money for a large purchase. Of course, knowing their victim didn’t make the purchase, they’ll provide a phone number for them to call back and state that it is Amazon customer support. Once the person calls this fraudulent number, they’ll ask for sensitive account numbers, credit card numbers, or passwords and will try to trick the caller into providing this information.
Most recently, the criminal will ask the person to visit a website in order to fill out a complaint form. Once the person clicks on the website provided, it gives the criminal remote access to the computer or mobile device. He or she may act extremely helpful and state they’ll help refund the purchase in question and “accidentally” refund too much money, where they’ll then tell the person to purchase gift cards with the amount of the overage to pay the caller back. The fraudster may also say to purchase gift cards to pay him or her in order to allegedly keep the Amazon account active while working through the fraudulent charge in question.
What can consumers do to help protect themselves?
- Don’t speak to them. If you’re concerned about your order or account, hang up and call the number that you verify and know is valid. Do not call the number, email, or text that they provide to you.
- Contact your bank. Use a valid phone number from a bank statement or the back of your card to contact your bank to verify that your accounts have not been compromised. You may also want to check your accounts through a secure connection online or through your mobile app.
- Avoid gift card payment requests. If a vendor or caller asks for payment in the form of gift cards, it is most certainly a scam. Gift card payments are requested in order to help avoid being traced.
- Always be cautious. First Bank will never call clients and ask for personal account information, such as account numbers, PIN numbers, eBanking IDs, passwords, debit card numbers or social security numbers.
“If you did not contact a valid phone number for technical or customer support, then simply hang up as it’s likely a scam,” said Marc Ashworth, Chief Information Security Officer. “Unsolicited calls asking or pressuring you to visit a website, pay with gift cards, or provide any personal information are all red flags and should be avoided. These are highly-trained, organized criminal organizations that have put an enormous economic burden on consumers and businesses.”
If you think you’ve been a victim and provided information to an unsolicited caller or via email/text, contact the First Bank Service Center by calling (800) 760-2265 or by clicking here.
ˡ Americans Bombarded with Robocalls From Amazon Imposters, May 14, 2021, AARP