I have warned you for years about impersonation scams in which scammers call you on the phone posing, for example,  as the IRS, the Social Security Administration or companies with which you do business and try to lure you into either making an immediate payment to them under some pretense or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Recently the FTC issued a new report in which they indicated that between July 2020 and June 2021 one-third of all of the business impersonator complaints involved scammers posing as employees of Amazon. This represented a five hundred percent increase of Amazon impersonation scams from the previous pre-pandemic year. This should come as no surprise to anyone, particularly during the pandemic when so many of us did much more of our shopping on line and much of that on Amazon.

While these Amazon impersonation scams vary, common versions include calls warning you that there has been suspicious or unauthorized purchases made on your account.  You are then told that to facilitate a refund, you need to give the “Amazon” employee remote access to your computer.  People falling for this scam end up giving access to the personal and financial information on their computer and leads to tremendous losses and identity theft.  In another Amazon impersonation scam, you are told that they are sending you a refund for unauthorized use of your account.  When you receive the check, you are told that mistakenly you were sent too much money and that after you deposit the check you should wire the amount of the overpayment back to them.   This is just another variation of the scam where for some reason you are given a check for more than what is owed you and you are convinced to send back the difference.  The problem is that the check is counterfeit, but the money you wire to the scammers from your account is real and is lost forever.

TIPS

Whenever you get a phone call, you can never be sure who is actually calling you.  Through a technique called “spoofing” your Caller ID can be manipulated to show the call is coming from whomever the scammer wishes to appear as.  Never give personal information over the phone to someone you have not called unless you have absolutely confirmed that the call is legitimate.  In the case of Amazon scam calls, if you think the call might be legitimate, hang up and call the Amazon customer service number 888-280-4331 for information you can trust.

Never deposit or accept a check for more than you are owed.  This is always a scam and while when you deposit the check it may appear as if the bank has cleared the check, you only get temporary credit until the check has bounced at which time the money is withdrawn from your account.

Finally, never give anyone remote access to your computer unless you have absolutely confirmed that it is necessary. Facilitating the return of funds to you is not something that requires remote access.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type your email address on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”