October 21, 2020
A Note from Pastor Anne About a Recent Amazon Scam
Internet and phone scams are really picking up during these times of COVID-19 quarantine with more people ordering things online. Please be extra cautious. One congregation member shared their experience to warn others, and another person had something similar happen to them last week as well. Please read their experiences then read the word of warning below. We are all in this together and want to support each other as much as possible during these times.
Here is the congregant’s account of what happened:
I got an email from Amazon that my order for a Nikon camera was being processed and there was a phone number listed if I wanted to cancel or change the order. Since I have already been getting weird purchases on my MasterCard for the last few months, I didn’t want this to be another one. So I called the number. In the process of deleting the purchase, it was “ discovered” by the person to whom I was speaking that my account had been hacked in 3 states and 3 countries. She even told me which ones they were. Special cards (gift cards) had to be purchased so that these hackers could be stopped for good. Because I was nervous about being hacked and because I got “assurance” - a text on my phone - that I was being reimbursed from Amazon, I went along with it - only for awhile, but long enough to lose several thousand dollars.
Another person got a phone call “from Amazon” this week about a $700+ item that she supposedly ordered. This person ignored the call, but the scam was similar in tactic.
Word of warning: These scams are really popular right now. Please note that Amazon (the real company) does not call people about purchases like this. While Amazon does send automated emails about your purchases to the email address listed on your Amazon account, if you ever get an email for an item you know you did not order, always go to the “My Orders” tab on your Amazon account to check to see if the item shows up there. If the item is not under your “My Orders” tab on Amazon’s website, then the email is most likely a scam. If you ever do find an incorrect charge on your Amazon account or if you suspect that your Amazon account itself was hacked, make sure you call the number you see on Amazon’s website about how to file such complaints about faulty charges – or call your own credit card company directly – but never call a number on any email you receive from a company; because scammers are very good at impersonating companies and know how to make their emails look professional/real. Always go to the company website if you need to contact a company. To be cautious, do not call numbers that are sent to you via email, text message, or left on your Voicemail; always double check them with a second or third source. Or ask a friend or family member if what was sent to you seems like it might be a scam. Sometimes just getting a second pair of eyes to look at something helps!
If you do get scammed, contact your bank, credit card company, and/or financial advisor immediately. Remember that in these situations, you are a victim. It’s human nature to feel bad about getting scammed, but it is not your fault. These companies know what they are doing and that’s why it works. Just be extra cautious. And share the scams you receive with others…it helps to warn people about what is going around and it might prevent someone else from losing money or being a victim of identity theft.